Pepper your exploration of Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood with a liberal sprinkling of brunch pitstops, as curated just for you in Culture Trip’s handy guide.
The Allis, Chicago
Bar, Cafe, American, Pub Grub, $$$
This is the mother of all West Loop brunch spots. You’ve seen it, whether you know it or not – the long wooden tables and rococo chandeliers have almost certainly graced your Instagram’s explore page at one point or another. As the Chicago branch of the international creative club, Soho House Chicago has a whole bevy of food and drink spots housed within, but the Allis, located in the hotel’s lobby, is surely the most popular, with its marble countertops, plush couches, and, of course, well-curated brunch choices and great drink menu. Make a stop here. You owe it to yourself, and to your Instagram.
This old-school deli on Randolph Street has been in operation for four generations, and that tradition shows in the food that J.P. Graziano’s offers. The sandwiches are deli classics executed with the sort of expertise that can only come from family knowledge, from staples like the Italian or the turkey to more unique creations like the Mr. G Special or the Tufano Antipasto. Finish up with their array of Italian classics like the biscotti or cannoli, and you’ll be set for whatever the rest of the day has in store.
Breakfast is served all day, every day at this West Loop favorite. Snag a seat at one of the linoleum stools or padded booths, and let your over-the-top diner dreams come true. Slice into fat Elvis waffles, jammed with bananas and peanut butter-infused butter or the best-selling gooey cinnamon buns, which often run out by afternoon. The rest of the large menu features a host of sandwiches, salads, burgers, shareable snacks, milkshakes and sundaes.
There’s room for everyone at The Publican, a cavernous space reminiscent of 16th-century European banquet halls (the whole place is outfitted with walnut communal tables). Here, you’ll sit with friends and strangers, tossing back mimosas swirled with Belgian witbier instead of the usual sparkling wine, and slicing into crispy pork schnitzel crowned with a fistful of shaved celery and parsley. You’ll want to spend some time eyeing the pastry section, rife with cream cheese cinnamon buns, rhubarb-almond hand pies, and lemon poppy-seed doughnuts.
As a sister restaurant to the wildly popular Ramen Wasabi, this West Loop eatery serves up similar dishes with its own individual take. The signature dish at Ramen Takeya is chicken paitan ramen—this means the cage-free chicken-based broth is lighter and clearer than traditional broth. It’s also made with a specific spice blend unique to the restaurant. Diners can sit at a bar with a view of the kitchen to get a glimpse of the magic behind the scenes. While chicken is the star ingredient even in the appetizers (Japanese chicken nuggets, anyone?), vegan ramen, made with mushroom and seaweed broth, is available as well, as is shoyu, shio, and miso broth dishes. The atmosphere is designed to emulate the vibes of Japanese cities: intimate, yet vast, concrete jungles. So, get ready for an extraordinarily authentic ramen experience here. And don’t forget to finish your meal off with some Mochi ice cream.
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.
The Sweet Maple Café is a family owned restaurant that is the perfect atmosphere for business owners, police officers, students, and tourists alike because they celebrate food ‘The Old Fashioned Way’ by making every delectable treat with the simple ingredients that the Hynson family grew up cooking with. Their sweet homemade biscuits are best when paired with farm fresh eggs, a fried bone-in ham, Wisconsin cheddar, and sautéed vegetables. You also can’t leave without bringing a short stack of buttermilk pancakes home.