The Best Brunch & Breakfast Spots Near Chicago's Ukrainian Village
WHISK, Chicago | Courtesy of WHISK
A few blocks southwest of Chicago’s bustling Wicker Park lies the up-and-coming Ukrainian Village neighborhood. The vibe here is relaxed and artsy, and dive bars, historic houses, hipster boutiques, and spots for traditional Ukrainian food line the streets. The area is also home to the Empty Bottle, one of the premier places for alternative music in the city. After a long night of listening to live acts, or hitting the dive bars, head to one of the neighborhood’s brunch spots to refuel.
Cafe, Restaurant, American, Coffee, $$$
Breakfast poutine | Courtesy of Bite Cafe
Two words: breakfast poutine. The Canadian comfort food of French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds has been popping up on lunch and dinner menus across the city, but at Bite Cafe, you can get them topped with poached eggs for breakfast. Other offerings at this bright and cheery brunch spot include challah French toast served with a cinnamon crème anglaise, red wine-poached pears and pecan streusel, and breakfast tacos stuffed with scrambled eggs, black beans, pico, and guacamole.
The homey, family-owned Breakfast House is a go-to spot for house specialties like fried chicken and waffles, a perfectly crispy combination of breast, leg, and wing served with a Belgium waffle. Another crowd-pleaser is the chilaquiles – crispy tortilla chips, scrambled eggs, red sauce and black beans, topped with chorizo, cheddar cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.
Brunch by day, burgers by night – WHISK is two restaurants rolled into one. Head here before 5 p.m. to order off the brunch menu (although you can always order any burger off the dinner menu “breakfast style” if your craving for brunch fare lingers into the night). Standouts include Snickers®-stuffed French toast (two slices of Texas toast filled with Snickers® chocolate and topped with white chocolate sauce) and the pulled pork hash (house-braised pulled pork served with sweet potatoes, two eggs, and topped with chipotle hollandaise). If you’re visiting during the weekend, opt for Chef Rick’s Benedict (a split biscuit topped with fried chicken, gravy, and sunny-side up eggs).
With a fireplace inside and a quiet patio outside, Milk & Honey Cafe is a year-round breakfast destination. Head to this welcoming, counter-service spot for huevos rancheros (served “casserole style” with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa, and a blend of cheeses) and orange brioche French toast (topped with toasted almonds and maple syrup).
Alliance Bakery specialises in French pastries | Courtesy of Alliance Bakery
Don’t be fooled by the picture-perfect cakes decorating the front window – there’s more to Alliance than special occasion cakes. Head here for breakfast pastries, including perfectly flaky almond croissants and the deliciously buttery French pastry kouign-amann. And while you’re here, you might as well pick up some macarons “for later.”
Plan to either arrive early or visit on a weekday to avoid the lines at Hash, a pocket-sized brunch spot. Even if you wind up having to wait a bit, knowing that you’ll be rewarded with a plate of pork bubble and squeak hash (pork shoulder served with sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts, and topped with a mustard cream sauce) or an order of Texas tacos (corn tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, potatoes, Chihuahua cheese, and pico de gallo) makes it all worth it.