The 20 Essential Breakfast Spots in Chicago

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“The 20 Essential Breakfast Spots in Chicago”
A variety of breakfast plates spread out on a table.
Stax Cafe offers a host of delicious breakfast plates.
Neil John Burger

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Stax Cafe offers a host of delicious breakfast plates.
| Neil John Burger

Breakfast’s status as the most important meal is debatable, but too often it’s the day’s most overlooked dining opportunity. Though some people skip right to lunch, a plethora of Chicago restaurants provide a quality start to every morning. From longtime neighborhood favorites to newcomers dishing out sweet and savory creations, here are 20 of the city’s most outstanding breakfast spots.

Egg sandwiches are a sufficiently robust category to merit its own map, available here.

For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may still pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

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North Shore residents have been going to this breakfast institution since 1965 and for good reason. The cooks at this tiny, no-frills diner whip up impeccable omelets, hash browns, and specialty sandwiches. The Loretta sandwich is a fan favorite that features a choice of meat or veggies, melted cheese, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mayo on French bread. The famous “Disaster” sausage — house-made Armenian-style ground beef sausage — also deserves an honorable mention and can be added to a sandwich or omelet. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
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A bacon Loretta breakfast sandwich.
The bacon Loretta is a best seller at Sarkis Cafe.
Sarkis Cafe [Official Photo]

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Although this cozy cafe opened just before the pandemic hit, it has thrived despite the challenges and become one of the best breakfast destinations in Rogers Park. Guests can build their own omelets, skillets, scramblers, benedicts and more. Other house specialties include breakfast quesadillas, biscuits stuffed with Cajun-style steak or andouille sausage, and truly decadent seasonal waffle and pancake platters. Order online here.

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Hailed as one of Chicago’s top breakfast and brunch spots, M. Henry puts the focus on quality ingredients. The creative menu offers Jorge’s black bean cakes and huevos borrachos (“drunken eggs”), lemon-raspberry brioche French toast, and Fannie’s killer fried egg sandwich. There are also lots of vegan and vegetarian options. Order online here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of lemon raspberry brioche French toast.
M. Henry is an Andersonville hotspot in the mornings.
M. Henry [Official Photo]
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Chef and owner Manny Mejia, who previously worked at M. Henry and Marmalade, turns out dishes with global influences at this North Park gem. The eclectic selection includes a Caprese omelet, blackberry and kiwi French toast, scallion pancakes with eggs and pork belly, and French toast stuffed with Canadian bacon. Expect crowds and a wait on weekends. A second outpost is located in Hermosa.

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Over on the Northwest Side, Chicagoans pack this charming two-story building every day for Scandinavian comfort fare. Satiate the sweet tooth with maple pecan Danishes or cinnamon rolls before digging into cheesy omelets, Swedish pancakes with lingonberry preserves, and a plethora of sausages.

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A post shared by Tre Kronor Restaurant (@trekronorresto)

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Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast dish and one of Chicago’s best versions is found at this small Uptown cafe. The recipe features fresh tortilla chips topped with green salsa, eggs, Chihuahua cheese, onions, cilantro, and choice of chorizo, steak, or chicken. Omelets and creamy oatmeal milkshakes are also standouts. And there’s a lovely back patio for outdoor dining. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of steak chilaquiles.
The chilaquiles are a must-try at Tiztal Cafe.
Tiztal Cafe [Official Photo]

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An adorable Lincoln Park BYOB cafe with a soul food twist, Batter & Berries is most notable for its French toast flights (the restaurant has served more than 100 varieties), deconstructed omelets, and sweet potato waffles topped with fried chicken and nutneg hot sauce. Skip the mob-inducing brunch hours by heading over for weekday breakfast. Order online here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of French toast with a variety of toppings.
French toasts are the specialty of Batter & Berries.
Batter & Berries [Official Photo]
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Michelin-starred mega hit Kasama features both daytime and dinner options from chefs and spouses Genie Kwon and Tim Flores. Their breakfast sandwich (stuffed with egg, cheese, longanisa, and hash browns) is a banger that’s developed its own following, but there’s also a popular Filipino breakfast (fried egg, garlic fried rice, and longanisa or tocino) and Kwon’s stunning laminated pastries. Skip the long lines by ordering ahead.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by kasama (@kasamachicago)

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Tired of the same old bacon and eggs? Visit this Ukrainian Village diner for homey Southeast Asian specialties. The fluffy omelets and pancakes won’t disappoint, but the most popular choices are the marinated skirt steak and the hearty Filipino breakfasts. They can be ordered with longanisa (sweet sausage), bangus (marinated milkfish), tocino (cured pork shoulder), and more. The staff also serve complimentary bowls of lugaw (rice porridge) to every patron. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare

View this post on Instagram

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The longtime West Loop restaurant moved from its original location in 2018 but the food hasn’t skipped a beat. The menu still leans heavily on Southern comforts, such as salmon cakes, shrimp and grits, fried catfish, and chicken andouille hash. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Wishbone (@wishbonechicago)

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A Chicago icon approaching a century in business, Lou Mitchell’s dishes out a dose of greasy spoon Americana rarely seen in the 21st century. Omelets, skillets, pancakes, waffles, and complimentary Milk Duds (yes, Milk Duds) are go-tos for regulars who stop in for a dose of old-school charm and entertaining people-watching. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of chicken and waffles.
Lou Mitchell’s is an old-school diner experience.
Lou Mitchell’s [Official Photo]
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The University Village community hub warrants a visit for many exceptional dishes, including breakfast tacos, country scrambles, holiday French toast, home fries, and Southern-style fried catfish nuggets that are only available on Fridays.

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A post shared by Sweet Maple Cafe (@sweetmaplecafe.chicago)

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Popular with UIC students and workers in the Illinois Medical District, Stax Cafe is known for its creative spins on breakfast staples. The menu boasts exciting dishes like a Monte Cristo waffle sandwich, cinnamon roll waffles, “Healthy Start” oatmeal pancakes mixed with blueberries, and prosciutto avocado benedict. There’s also a selection of cocktails so guests can pair their bites with a Bloody Mary or an old fashioned. A second Stax Cafe outpost is located in River West. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare
A plate of French toasts.
Stax Cafe offers exciting breakfast creations.
Neil John Burger/Stax Cafe

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For an endless supply of Southern-style soul food, Chicagoans should make their way to Pearl’s. In addition to the a la carte menu, there’s also a buffet of breakfast comfort food, such as made-to-order omelets, waffles, grits, biscuits, mac and cheese, collard greens, fried chicken wings, and much more. It’s a bountiful spread that will keep even the biggest appetites full until dinner. Order online here.

  • Open in Google Maps
Mini-waffles and chicken wings
Pearl’s Place is an institution in Bronzeville.
Pearl’s Place [Official Photo]
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Bright and airy, Peach’s Restaurant stirs the soul with Southern delights. Salmon croquettes and flaky biscuits are hits, as is the juicy and peppery fried chicken served with cinnamon French toast and honey butter. Place online orders here.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Peach’s Restaurant (@peachson47th)

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Located near the University of Chicago, this modern counter-service diner serves a New-Orleans-inspired breakfast all day long. Lillie’s Q chef Charlie McKenna is the visionary behind the menu, which explores the world of Southern cooking. Guests can start with beignets and pimento cheese, followed by staples like shrimp and grits, fried catfish, and chicken fried steak. There’s a small, curated selection of alcoholic beverages as well. Online ordering is available here.

  • Book with OpenTable
  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare
A person preparing to cut into fried green tomato tartine.
Southern cuisine shines bright at Roux.
Neil John Burger/Roux

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Situated next to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House on the University of Chicago’s campus, Plein Air is a French-inspired café that provides both students and locals alike a warm and cozy environment to refuel. Head to the bright, minimalist space in the morning for pastries, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, quiches, and savory pies. Don’t forget the most important item: a hot (or cold) cup of java showcasing beans from artisan roasters. Online ordering is available here.

Read More :   The Best Day Trips To Take From Austin
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A variety of pastries and baked goods on a counter.
Plein Air Cafe brings a touch of Europe to Hyde Park.
Plein Air Cafe [Official Photo]

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Chicago’s oldest restaurant — which moved across the street in 2019 — has been part delicious soul food, part time capsule, and part gathering place for nearly half the city since 1892. At breakfast, there aren’t many places in town where one can get pork chops, catfish, chicken wings, salmon patties, grilled salt pork, and other Southern comforts alongside eggs and pancakes. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare
A breakfast skillet.
Daley’s is a timeless treasure for daytime dining.
Daley’s Restaurant [Official Photo]

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Josephine Wade is a mythical figure in Chicago. The namesake owner, also known as “Mother,” has run this soul food diner in Chatham for decades. She received national attention in 2019 when her South Side institution was renovated on an episode of Restaurant: Impossible. Customers can expect to find catfish, pork chops, chicken and waffles, and salmon croquettes.

  • Open in Google Maps

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2632 Gross Point Rd, Evanston, IL 60201

A bacon Loretta breakfast sandwich.
The bacon Loretta is a best seller at Sarkis Cafe.
Sarkis Cafe [Official Photo]

North Shore residents have been going to this breakfast institution since 1965 and for good reason. The cooks at this tiny, no-frills diner whip up impeccable omelets, hash browns, and specialty sandwiches. The Loretta sandwich is a fan favorite that features a choice of meat or veggies, melted cheese, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mayo on French bread. The famous “Disaster” sausage — house-made Armenian-style ground beef sausage — also deserves an honorable mention and can be added to a sandwich or omelet. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare
A bacon Loretta breakfast sandwich.
The bacon Loretta is a best seller at Sarkis Cafe.
Sarkis Cafe [Official Photo]

7036 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626

Although this cozy cafe opened just before the pandemic hit, it has thrived despite the challenges and become one of the best breakfast destinations in Rogers Park. Guests can build their own omelets, skillets, scramblers, benedicts and more. Other house specialties include breakfast quesadillas, biscuits stuffed with Cajun-style steak or andouille sausage, and truly decadent seasonal waffle and pancake platters. Order online here.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Honeybear Cafe (@thehoneybearcafe)

5707 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660

A plate of lemon raspberry brioche French toast.
M. Henry is an Andersonville hotspot in the mornings.
M. Henry [Official Photo]

Hailed as one of Chicago’s top breakfast and brunch spots, M. Henry puts the focus on quality ingredients. The creative menu offers Jorge’s black bean cakes and huevos borrachos (“drunken eggs”), lemon-raspberry brioche French toast, and Fannie’s killer fried egg sandwich. There are also lots of vegan and vegetarian options. Order online here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of lemon raspberry brioche French toast.
M. Henry is an Andersonville hotspot in the mornings.
M. Henry [Official Photo]

3348 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

Chef and owner Manny Mejia, who previously worked at M. Henry and Marmalade, turns out dishes with global influences at this North Park gem. The eclectic selection includes a Caprese omelet, blackberry and kiwi French toast, scallion pancakes with eggs and pork belly, and French toast stuffed with Canadian bacon. Expect crowds and a wait on weekends. A second outpost is located in Hermosa.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club (@brynmawrbreakfastclub)

3258 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Over on the Northwest Side, Chicagoans pack this charming two-story building every day for Scandinavian comfort fare. Satiate the sweet tooth with maple pecan Danishes or cinnamon rolls before digging into cheesy omelets, Swedish pancakes with lingonberry preserves, and a plethora of sausages.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Tre Kronor Restaurant (@trekronorresto)

4631 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

A plate of steak chilaquiles.
The chilaquiles are a must-try at Tiztal Cafe.
Tiztal Cafe [Official Photo]

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast dish and one of Chicago’s best versions is found at this small Uptown cafe. The recipe features fresh tortilla chips topped with green salsa, eggs, Chihuahua cheese, onions, cilantro, and choice of chorizo, steak, or chicken. Omelets and creamy oatmeal milkshakes are also standouts. And there’s a lovely back patio for outdoor dining. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of steak chilaquiles.
The chilaquiles are a must-try at Tiztal Cafe.
Tiztal Cafe [Official Photo]

2748 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

A plate of French toast with a variety of toppings.
French toasts are the specialty of Batter & Berries.
Batter & Berries [Official Photo]

An adorable Lincoln Park BYOB cafe with a soul food twist, Batter & Berries is most notable for its French toast flights (the restaurant has served more than 100 varieties), deconstructed omelets, and sweet potato waffles topped with fried chicken and nutneg hot sauce. Skip the mob-inducing brunch hours by heading over for weekday breakfast. Order online here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of French toast with a variety of toppings.
French toasts are the specialty of Batter & Berries.
Batter & Berries [Official Photo]

1470 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rhett Salerno (@littleman_bigstomach)

1001 N Winchester Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Michelin-starred mega hit Kasama features both daytime and dinner options from chefs and spouses Genie Kwon and Tim Flores. Their breakfast sandwich (stuffed with egg, cheese, longanisa, and hash browns) is a banger that’s developed its own following, but there’s also a popular Filipino breakfast (fried egg, garlic fried rice, and longanisa or tocino) and Kwon’s stunning laminated pastries. Skip the long lines by ordering ahead.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by kasama (@kasamachicago)

1700 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Tired of the same old bacon and eggs? Visit this Ukrainian Village diner for homey Southeast Asian specialties. The fluffy omelets and pancakes won’t disappoint, but the most popular choices are the marinated skirt steak and the hearty Filipino breakfasts. They can be ordered with longanisa (sweet sausage), bangus (marinated milkfish), tocino (cured pork shoulder), and more. The staff also serve complimentary bowls of lugaw (rice porridge) to every patron. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Uncle Mike’s Place (@titomikesplace)

161 N Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60661

The longtime West Loop restaurant moved from its original location in 2018 but the food hasn’t skipped a beat. The menu still leans heavily on Southern comforts, such as salmon cakes, shrimp and grits, fried catfish, and chicken andouille hash. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Wishbone (@wishbonechicago)

565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60661

A plate of chicken and waffles.
Lou Mitchell’s is an old-school diner experience.
Lou Mitchell’s [Official Photo]

A Chicago icon approaching a century in business, Lou Mitchell’s dishes out a dose of greasy spoon Americana rarely seen in the 21st century. Omelets, skillets, pancakes, waffles, and complimentary Milk Duds (yes, Milk Duds) are go-tos for regulars who stop in for a dose of old-school charm and entertaining people-watching. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A plate of chicken and waffles.
Lou Mitchell’s is an old-school diner experience.
Lou Mitchell’s [Official Photo]

1339 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607

The University Village community hub warrants a visit for many exceptional dishes, including breakfast tacos, country scrambles, holiday French toast, home fries, and Southern-style fried catfish nuggets that are only available on Fridays.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sweet Maple Cafe (@sweetmaplecafe.chicago)

1401 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607

A plate of French toasts.
Stax Cafe offers exciting breakfast creations.
Neil John Burger/Stax Cafe

Popular with UIC students and workers in the Illinois Medical District, Stax Cafe is known for its creative spins on breakfast staples. The menu boasts exciting dishes like a Monte Cristo waffle sandwich, cinnamon roll waffles, “Healthy Start” oatmeal pancakes mixed with blueberries, and prosciutto avocado benedict. There’s also a selection of cocktails so guests can pair their bites with a Bloody Mary or an old fashioned. A second Stax Cafe outpost is located in River West. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare
A plate of French toasts.
Stax Cafe offers exciting breakfast creations.
Neil John Burger/Stax Cafe

3901 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60653

Mini-waffles and chicken wings
Pearl’s Place is an institution in Bronzeville.
Pearl’s Place [Official Photo]

For an endless supply of Southern-style soul food, Chicagoans should make their way to Pearl’s. In addition to the a la carte menu, there’s also a buffet of breakfast comfort food, such as made-to-order omelets, waffles, grits, biscuits, mac and cheese, collard greens, fried chicken wings, and much more. It’s a bountiful spread that will keep even the biggest appetites full until dinner. Order online here.

  • Open in Google Maps
Mini-waffles and chicken wings
Pearl’s Place is an institution in Bronzeville.
Pearl’s Place [Official Photo]

4652 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60653

Bright and airy, Peach’s Restaurant stirs the soul with Southern delights. Salmon croquettes and flaky biscuits are hits, as is the juicy and peppery fried chicken served with cinnamon French toast and honey butter. Place online orders here.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Peach’s Restaurant (@peachson47th)

1055 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615

A person preparing to cut into fried green tomato tartine.
Southern cuisine shines bright at Roux.
Neil John Burger/Roux

Located near the University of Chicago, this modern counter-service diner serves a New-Orleans-inspired breakfast all day long. Lillie’s Q chef Charlie McKenna is the visionary behind the menu, which explores the world of Southern cooking. Guests can start with beignets and pimento cheese, followed by staples like shrimp and grits, fried catfish, and chicken fried steak. There’s a small, curated selection of alcoholic beverages as well. Online ordering is available here.

  • Book with OpenTable
  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare
A person preparing to cut into fried green tomato tartine.
Southern cuisine shines bright at Roux.
Neil John Burger/Roux

5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

A variety of pastries and baked goods on a counter.
Plein Air Cafe brings a touch of Europe to Hyde Park.
Plein Air Cafe [Official Photo]

Situated next to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House on the University of Chicago’s campus, Plein Air is a French-inspired café that provides both students and locals alike a warm and cozy environment to refuel. Head to the bright, minimalist space in the morning for pastries, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, quiches, and savory pies. Don’t forget the most important item: a hot (or cold) cup of java showcasing beans from artisan roasters. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
A variety of pastries and baked goods on a counter.
Plein Air Cafe brings a touch of Europe to Hyde Park.
Plein Air Cafe [Official Photo]

6257 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

A breakfast skillet.
Daley’s is a timeless treasure for daytime dining.
Daley’s Restaurant [Official Photo]

Chicago’s oldest restaurant — which moved across the street in 2019 — has been part delicious soul food, part time capsule, and part gathering place for nearly half the city since 1892. At breakfast, there aren’t many places in town where one can get pork chops, catfish, chicken wings, salmon patties, grilled salt pork, and other Southern comforts alongside eggs and pancakes. Online ordering is available here.

  • Open in Google Maps
  • Foursquare
A breakfast skillet.
Daley’s is a timeless treasure for daytime dining.
Daley’s Restaurant [Official Photo]

436 E 79th St, Chicago, IL 60619

Josephine Wade is a mythical figure in Chicago. The namesake owner, also known as “Mother,” has run this soul food diner in Chatham for decades. She received national attention in 2019 when her South Side institution was renovated on an episode of Restaurant: Impossible. Customers can expect to find catfish, pork chops, chicken and waffles, and salmon croquettes.

  • Open in Google Maps

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ‘ ™ (@josephinessoutherncooking)



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