Top 12 Brunch Restaurants in Chicago

When you want to head out to one of Chicago’s world-class eateries for a brunch feast, it can be hard to choose. Whether you live in the Windy City or are just visiting, you’re going to love these twelve picks. We’ve selected options that are favorites all around town, and all with no reservations required. So without further ado, below are our picks for the top brunch restaurants in Chicago. 

Top Brunch Restaurants in Chicago

Fresh Seasonal Brunch at Bongo Room

Bongo Room - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Zagat

When you want brunch done right, why not go to a spot that only does breakfast and lunch? The Bongo Room has locations in Wicker Park, South Loop, and Andersonville. They serve up a menu full of brunchy faves all week long. But things really get special on the weekend when they break out their “Sinful” brunch menu featuring faves like a chocolate tower french toast or deconstructed lobster roll benedict. Want something a little more classic? No worries. You can choose from breakfast options like their croissant sandwich, also available in a vegetarian version, or a crowd-pleasing breakfast burrito. If you’re more in the mood for lunch staples, they have all sorts of sandwiches and salads with enough variety to please any palette.

Bakery Brunch at Cafe Selmarie

Cafe Selmarie Bakery - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Winnie

Cafe Selmarie features a contemporary American menu, but on the brunch menu, it’s really the pastries that shine. Their Sunday Brunch offerings change each week, but expect the usual options like benedicts and scrambles, each with a unique twist. Normal pancakes are punched up with walnuts and cherries. Enjoy a roasted mushroom benedict featuring feta and caramelized onion hollandaise. Or top off your eggs with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, and housemade basil pesto. But the real star of the show is the pastry case at the front, which you can browse while you wait. From sour cream coffee cake to housemade granola, it’s got options to suit any taste.

Gastropub Brunch at Farm Bar

Farm Bar - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Eater Chicago

Head to Lakeview this weekend and stop in at Farm Bar for an authentic gastropub experience. On the brunch menu you’ll find down-home breakfast goodies like their pasture-raised steak and eggs or strawberries and cream ricotta pancakes. There are snack options like wisconsin cheese curds or Bavarian style pretzels. And if you’re in a lunch mood, their burgers and fried chicken sandwiches are amazing. Wash it down with their crowd pleasing cold-brew coffee or one of their delightful cocktails. They have four versions of the mimosa to choose from plus sangria, bloody marys, and a featured drink they call the alco-chino.

Pizza Brunch at Frasca

Frasca Pizza - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Eggs, bacon, and toast are great, but sometimes you want your brunch with a bit of a twist. If this sounds like you, you’ve got to try Frasca pizzeria + wine bar. Here you can still get all of those brunch staples like eggs benedict, omelets, and pancakes. But they’ll also be happy to make you a delicious wood-fired pizza for your brunch delight. Can’t choose between the two? You’re going to love the breakfast pizza featuring 3 over easy eggs, sausage, bacon, and cheese. For an extra special treat, add some prosciutto and hollandaise. And don’t forget their mimosa bottle service, peach bellinis, and award-winning bloody marys.

Vegan Brunch at Majani

Majani Vegan - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Majani

Looking for soul food minus the meat and dairy? Majani serves up a soulful vegan brunch that won’t disappoint. Scrambled tofu, lentil sausage with tomato gravy, cheese grits, collard greens, and delicious pancakes are on offer. And it’s all made from the freshest ingredients sourced from local gardens, so you can feel good about eating this decadent and delicious fare.

Organic Brunch at Nana

Nana - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Nana

For another healthy twist on delicious brunch staples, head over to Nana for local, sustainable, organic food that’s totally crave-worthy. The selections are seasonal, but look for delicious staples like chilaquiles and breakfast sandwiches mixed in with options like avocado fries, dulce de leche pancakes, and cauliflower salad. And be sure to grab a side of one of their house-made sausage patties or hose smoked bacon. Everything that comes out of their scratch kitchen is free from additives hormones, and other undesirables. It’s clean eating that tastes sinfully good.

Patio Brunch at Paradise Park

Paradise Park Patio - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Paradise Park

Outdoor dining is a big deal in warm, sunny locations like Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. But Paradise Park manages to bring a bright spot of sunshine to the windy city with their take on the pizza brunch. You’re sure to love standards like avocado toast and chicken & waffles. But for the more adventurous diner they’re also serving up dutch baby tacos, pulled pork hash, and all sorts of pizza options. Wash it all down with their delicious bottomless mimosas or bloodys, or try out a hangover coffee topped with a Do-Rite Donut!

Fried Chicken Brunch at Parson’s Chicken and Fish

Parson's Chicken & Fish - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App
Clayton Hauck for Parson's

If fried chicken is your favorite brunch food, you’ve got to head to Parson’s in Logan Square or Lincoln Park. For those not in a fried chicken sort of mood, they also offer delightful dishes like their pimento cheese scramble or a smoked salmon veggie club. Want something sweet? Their seasonal cobbler is made with fresh local fruit and topped with fluffy whipped cream. While you’re there, be sure to grab some of their signature beer, brewed in partnership with Revolution Brewing.

Brazilian Brunch at Sinhá

Sinha - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Eating the World

Head for the tastes of South America with Sinhá, a Chicago eatery serving up elegant Brazilian cuisine. The Sunday brunch buffet features farofa, a cassava meal dish, and delicious fried plantains, plus whatever delicious Brazilian delights the chef has chosen to make this weekend. You can expect a variety of dishes made from chicken, beef, seafood, and veggies, paired with mouthwatering hot sauces and chutneys. You’ll also get complimentary desserts, juice, and Brazilian coffee and tea. But if you’re looking for a boozy brunch experience, you’ll need to BYOB.

Foodie Brunch at Southport Grocery and Cafe

Southport Grocery & Cafe - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Southport Grocery & Cafe

At the Southport Grocery and Cafe you can enjoy an amazing scratch made brunch and then bring home delicious and fresh award-winning groceries to create your own foodie feast. This European style cafe offers amazing pastries like scones, cupcakes, cruffins, and savory hand pies. Their all-day breakfast favorites include a veggie quiche or their very own “grown-up pop tart”. Lunch options include the Southport Cuban, chop salad, or a grilled cheese featuring pickled green tomatoes and local apples. Wash it down with kombucha, housemade soda on tap, canned wine, or a beermosa. Southport Grocery and Cafe also happens to be a NextME partner, so even if there is a waitlist when you arrive, you can feel comfortable that it will be managed with ease. 

Filipino Brunch at Uncle Mike’s Place

Uncle Mike's Place - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Fab Food Chicago

Looking for something with an island flair? Uncle Mike's Place serves up their famous Filipino breakfast all day every day. Try the Longaniza, a sweet anise-wine chorizo sausage. Or devour their Tocino, an annato and anise cured pork shoulder. They’ve also got a variety of egg dishes and omelettes to chose from, plus pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and authentic Filipino breakfast combos. For lunch dishes, there are all the usual sandwiches, soups, salads, and fruit plates. Plus sample the free homemade Lugaw rice soup that’s so good it’s also available to go. This place is a little slice of Pinoy heaven, on Grand Ave in West Town.

Louisiana Style Brunch at Wishbone

Wishbone - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Bitches Who Brunch

You may not think of finding a farm-fresh Cajun brunch menu in Chitown, but at Wishbone West Loop, you’ll get just that. Enjoy a jambalaya omelette or crawfish cake benedict. The cajun shrimp and grits and chicken andouille hash will remind you of a lazy Sunday morning in the French Quarter. And of course they’re serving up southern favorites like chicken and waffles, corn cakes, and buscuits and gravy. Brunch cocktails on offer include the bloody mary or an irish coffee, as well as unique concoctions like the corpse reviver #312 and the mud bone.


Restaurants Save Time and Money with a Waitlist App

Technology is everywhere, from the smartphones we carry with us to the advanced systems in our cars, to the tech in use at places of business large and small. And the restaurant industry is no exception.

From touchscreen food and beverage dispensers that offer diners more options and a serve yourself experience, to biodiesel converters that will convert your used fryer oil to fuel delivery trucks and catering vehicles, technology is improving the way we do business. And better yet, it’s improving the bottom line of an industry with infamously tight margins.

But how, exactly, is all of this progress helping restaurateurs to save? We’ll examine how just one inexpensive bit of technology can increase profits, decrease costs, and help your restaurant run more smoothly even at the busiest of times.

Stop Seating Parties Like It’s 1999

Many eateries who don’t accept reservations are still relying on those costly, germ-ridden pager systems they’ve been using for 20 years or more. Yet these systems are pretty much the opposite of technological progress.

In addition to the sizeable cost of outfitting a restaurant with these bits of last century tech, you’re also on the hook for the expense of maintaining them, and replacement costs that can reach up to $100 per unit. Then there are the man hours spent on upkeep, searching for wayward pagers when guests get tired of waiting and just ditch them in the waiting area, and the eyesore of a blinking tower of plastic that greets your guests when they approach the host’s table.

Ditch the pagers, and instead tap into the technology that most of your diners are already carrying with them anyway. With a waitlist app like NextME, you can replace all of that outdated equipment with a single sleek and sophisticated iPad or iPhone. Plus, the app is a simple solution to implement, and new host staff can be trained and up to speed quickly for a minimum of downtime. As an added bonus, guests don’t even have to download the app to take advantage of the NextME system! They simply give the host their phone numbers, then receive SMS texts notifying them of their wait times and positions in line.

Keep Guests Engaged to Prevent Walkouts

Hosts see it daily. A party comes in, puts their name on the list, and sits down to wait. But when their turn comes and their name is called, the party is nowhere to be found. The host then has to spend valuable time trying to locate them before moving on to the next party in line. It’s a frustrating experience for all involved.

With the NextME waitlist, customers can see exactly where they are in line, along with their estimated wait times - all via SMS texts without needing to download a separate app. Additionally, they can browse the menu, check out your current specials, read reviews on your social media pages, and otherwise engage with your brand while they wait. All of this leads to 25% fewer walkouts over all. But what about those who still leave? Since guests can confirm or cancel their table when they’re told it’s ready, your host won’t have to waste time tracking down wayward parties.

Double Your Table Turns

If you could double the number of tables you could serve per hour at peak times, what would that do for your bottom line? You may be wondering how such a thing is possible, and what it has to do with waitlist apps.

Displaying digital menus to patrons while they wait can significantly cut down on the time spent at the table trying to decide what to order. And since NextME’s customer facing mobile marketing page allows you to display your menu, specials, social media, and other promotional messages to each guest on the waitlist, you can expect tables to turn much faster – up to twice as fast! For those who are counting, that means double the revenue during peak dining hours.

Keep Your Front of the House Running Smoothly

Have you even calculated how much time your hosts spend answering questions about how much longer the wait will be? Or tracking down parties who have wandered off or pagers that have been ditched in the bushes outside? As you’ve already seen, waitlist apps can help eliminate each of these time sinks to allow your hosts to focus on what really matters: hospitality. And that increased staff efficiency means more productivity with fewer FTEs, and a less stressful shift for those working peak hours.

But Does It Really Save Money?

NextME’s track record has been proven, and restaurants can attest to the effect it’s had on their customer satisfaction as well as their bottom lines. Of course, your results will vary depending on the size of your restaurant and the volume of guests you seat on a given day, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest you’ll likely save thousands. In fact, Southport Grocery & Cafe, a tiny brunch destination, saved over $2,000 by switching to NextME. And a larger chain, Lou Malnati's, saved upwards of $10,000 across their 13 locations. So the real question is, can you afford not to update your waitlist?


Get A Taste of Chicago This Weekend

Taste of Chicago, the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community is currently taking over Grant Park (July 5–9). General admission is FREE, which means you will have access to Chicago’s best food, music, arts, and exciting events throughout the day. Whether this is your first time visiting the Taste of Chicago or not, you should at least know a few restaurants, food trucks, and artists that are performing this year.

A new year calls for new vendors. Here are a list of new restaurants and food trucks that are participating in this year’s Taste of Chicago 2017:

5-Day Restaurants:

Ben’s Bar Be Cue, Cheesie’s Pub and Grub, Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp, Ukai Japanese Restaurant.

Pop-Up Restaurants:

Brightwork Kitchen, Burger Bar Chicago, Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls, Just Salad, Little Beet Table, Seoul Taco, Warm Belly Bakery.

Food Trucks:

American Glory, Aztec Dave’s Food Truck, Bop Bar Truck, El Patron, Mike’s Revenge, The Cajun Connoisseur.

One of the most memorable experiences at the Taste of Chicago is to enjoy a signature dining experience by some of Chicago’s finest chefs and restaurateurs. Here is the lineup:

Thursday, July 6 (6:30pm): Chef Chico Vilchez + music by DJ-X ($45)

Friday, July 7 (6:30pm): Chef Oliver Poilevey tribute to Jean-Claude Poilevey ($45)

Saturday, July 8 (11:30am): American Girl Cafe Brunch ($30)

Sunday, July 9 (5:00pm): Chefs Beverly Kim & Johnny Clark ($45)

Don’t miss this incredible 5-day event filled with delicious array of food, good music, arts and fun activities. Grab your friends and family with you and don’t forget to come with a hungry stomach because you won’t want to miss all of the incredible food Chicago has to offer. See you all there!

Happy waiting,

NextME Team

Ps: NextME’s digital waitlist helps restaurants manage their line of customers using SMS Text, replacing the germ infested pagers.

Are you h-angry that your favorite restaurants aren’t using NextME? We’ve put together a nice referral program so make sure to request NextME at your favorite restaurants and we’ll compensate you $50 once they sign up!

Want to learn more about NextME? Visit our page here.


Top Chicago Brunch Spots for Memorial Day

This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 29th, and it is a great day to spend in Chicago. The city is brimming with summer kick-off parties, events, rooftop/ outdoor patio bars, and new restaurants. Nothing beats a good Monday off filled with good food and drinks with family and friends.

Planning reservations for brunch on Memorial Day can often be a hassle, especially in a city like Chicago where wait times for a table can be very long at the most popular restaurants. I’ve noticed that many of the brunch spots on Yelp that are tagged as “takes reservations”, DO NOT actually take advance reservations, which can be pretty frustrating. People get irritated by waiting up to an hour for the next table to open up, and we all know how that feels when we’re hangry.

To avoid waiting in line on Memorial Day, we’ve compiled a list of top brunch spots in Chicago below that DO NOT take reservations but are using NextME, the simplest digital waitlist app for restaurant hosts that allows diners to hold their place in line with just their mobile number and SMS text.

Top Memorial Day Brunch Spots in Chicago:

Corridor Brewery & Provisions,

Dryhop Brewers

Kanela Breakfast Club

Le Pain Quotidien,

The Bongo Room

Son of a Butcher

Southport Grocery & Cafe

Whisk Chicago

Here’s how it works: NextME sends you a text message confirming your placement on the list and provides a weblink to a countdown for you and your squad to check your position in line. The best part is, you don’t have to download the app! Just visit a participating NextME restaurant below, and provide your host your mobile number to connect. As you can imagine, having a countdown means that instead of standing on your feet in line for 45 minutes or so, you’ll be making the most of that extra time. When the queue gets low and approaches your position, NextME will send out another text notification to let you know when your table’s ready, which you will reply “1” to keep or “2” to cancel your reservation.

If your favorite brunch spot is NOT already using NextME, we’ve put together a nice referral program to help you battle our fight against hangry dining. Make sure to request NextME to the restaurant and we will compensate you once they sign up!

To learn more about how NextME app can help your restaurant serve smiles while you wait, visit our website.

All the best to you and your squad this Memorial Day weekend!

Happy Waiting,

The NextME Team