There are a few things Chicagoans take very seriously — the Cubs or White Sox, the proper toppings of a hot dog, the controversial name change of the Sears Tower, and, of course, brunch. A staple for any local on Saturday and Sunday, the brunch crowd in the Windy City wants more than just bottomless cocktails and Eggs Benedict. Thanks to a food scene that’s home to “Top Chef” winners, Michelin-starred restaurants, and James Beard rising stars, the brunch scene here is seriously elevated, with options like stout-covered donuts, eggplant breakfast enchiladas, and more. With the holiday season in full swing and plenty of get-togethers and social events demanding attention, there’s no better time to brunch at one of these top-rated restaurants. Just think ahead — reservations are a must.
Developed by famed New York City-based design firm Meyer Davis, Proxi brings mid-century modern décor to life with a gorgeous interior that boasts even more beautiful food. Helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Andrew Zimmerman and lauded restaurateur Emmanuel Nony, the food is inspired by their trips abroad. Touting street food favorites like kimchi fried rice and braised chickpea curry and exotic takes on brunch like coconut and padam leaf French toast and uttapan, Proxi’s brunch menu is far from ordinary. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Band of Bohemia
A local favorite for years, the Michelin-starred Band of Bohemia has long been a go-to for holiday brunches. The innovative cuisine continues with a new menu featuring over-the-top caviar crepe cake made with smoked sturgeon and Ossetra Reserve Caviar. The restaurant still boasts neighborhood favorites, like the Donut of the Year made with toasted marshmallow and chocolate ganache and hearty biscuit and cheese. For beer lovers, they’ve got a rotating tap of housemade brews, including the holiday themed RootsBeer Stout. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
With locations all throughout the city and suburbs, Beatrix is a one-stop-shop for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Beatrix’s brunch menu is a great respite from all of the holiday indulgences with a focus on healthier dishes like the ten-grain oatmeal with dark cherries, the poke bowl with bulgur wheat, and light and fluffy ricotta pancakes. Whatever you do, save room for their pastry case, which is stocked with festive favorites like giant cinnamon rolls, Oh My! Caramel Pie, and Sadie’s Crunch Cake. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
JoJo’s Milk Bar
Channel your inner kid on Christmas morning with a decadent milkshake from JoJo’s Milk Bar. Paying homage to the treats millennials loved as kids, their shakes are loaded with everything from gummy worms to Girl Scout cookies to Lucky Charms. Beyond the shakes, their brunch menu is chock-full of Midwest favorites, like a thick pancake stack with maple syrup and chicken and waffle fries. If a mimosa isn’t enough to keep you sane this season, opt for one of their breakfast shots instead. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Celebrating their first holiday in Chicago, this New York favorite has quickly become a River North must-visit. The industrial décor celebrates diners of the past, with black marble flooring, patina mirrors, large pendant lights, and a zinc bar. The menu is classic American, and the brunch will please a crowd. From a breakfast pot pie made with sweet sausage and a flaky pie top to melt-in-your-mouth baked mac n’ cheese to toasted pecan and ricotta whipped cheese, there’s no way you’ll leave feeling hungry. The best part? All of their brunch entrees come with your choice of breakfast cocktail starting at $14. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Located right across the street from the famous Christkindlmarket, The Dearborn is the perfect brunch spot to hit before strolling through the 24rd annual holiday fair. To keep your spirits festive, order one of their holiday-themed libations, including a variety of spiked hot chocolates and their take on traditional Glühwein. Pair your drinks with an order of their fresh oysters or the more elevated bone marrow and soft scrambled eggs or chorizo and goat cheese strata. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows, Etta is a Wicker Park staple for brunch during the holiday season. Best known for their wood-fired pizzas, favorites include the elysian tarte flambé and wild mushroom. Their massive hearth is used for more than just pizza, too, with the hearth-smoked salmon cooked in the mighty oven. Their avocado toast is a lighter bite, and another crowd favorite is the buttermilk biscuits and gravy. Pair your meal with a gingerbread spiced Cuffing Season cocktail made with vodka, ginger, bubbles, and lemon. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Walton Street Kitchen and Bar
It doesn’t get much cozier than the Gold Coast’s Walton Street Lounge, outfitted with a fireplace and velvet chairs flanked by shelves of books. Known for their cocktails, the libation of the season is aptly titled That Thyme of Year, made with apple brandy, chai, nutmeg, and thyme, which pairs perfectly with the apple pie bar. A few other can’t-miss items are the double-stacked blueberry pancakes with oatmeal crumble and piled-high breakfast sandwich. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Located on the site of the gabled 1920s Cedar Hotel, Somerset’s décor features Art Deco elements throughout, with a glimmering rose gold chandelier, bold lines, and plenty of gilded accents. The kitchen, led by Lee Wolen of Boka fame, offers a mix of everything — from old-fashioned egg dishes to fried chicken and French toast to gooey butter layer cake. You’d be remiss not to order one of the giant cinnamon rolls with Tonka bean frosting, a favorite during the holidays. Warm your bodies with a shared Competitors or Champion’s punch, made with entire bottles of cava, vodka, fruits, and more. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
If you can’t get away somewhere tropical for the holidays but want to feel the warm vibes regardless, head to Utopian Tailgate, Chicago’s newest rooftop restaurant and bar. Touting over 10,000 square feet of fun, the rooftop — which transforms for the winter with heat lamps and ample globe lights — offers games for everyone. To fuel you for beer pong, spike ball, and mini bag toss, nosh on traveling tacos, avocado toasties, meatball grinders, and cheese curds. They also offer boozy hot chocolate and unlimited mimosas for their holiday brunch! Until 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.