Good eggs: The menu leans heavily toward the savory category—the only sweet dish is a trio of light, just-off-the-griddle French toast sticks ($5)—and that means cage-free eggs top nearly every breakfast offering. The Works ($11) nestles two perfectly runny poached eggs atop mounds of healthy spinach, kale, mushrooms, potatoes and grilled tomatoes, and includes a base of prosciutto and super thick toast (baked just around the corner at Roeser’s) to soak up all the creamy yolk and hollandaise. On the simpler side, Egg in the Hole ($8) delivers two slices of bread—go with the Hawaiian bread option if you want a bit of sweetness—with a silver dollar-sized hole cut out of each center to make room for a fried egg.
Day drinking: Your granny might not approve of imbibing before noon, but Grandma J’s surely doesn’t mind. Bring your own champagne to mix with the three juices on the mimosa platter ($6), which are served with chilled flutes and sliced berries. The pineapple and cranberry juices are a nice change of pace if you feel stuck in an OJ mimosa rut, or opt for the virgin bloody mary fixings ($4) if you’ve brought vodka.
Is it lunchtime yet? From an individual bacon-wrapped meatloaf to a substantial organic beef burger, there are just as many lunch dishes as breakfast offerings. Chicken is free-range and the bacon’s nitrate-free, making the cobb sandwich ($9) an especially wholesome and hearty choice.
Bottom line: The menu at Grandma J’s is as straight-forward and American as apple pie: no fuss, no frills, just classics made with fresh, local ingredients. Like a brunch with Bubbe, though, you probably won’t get up from the table in less than an hour, leaving lots of time for reminiscing while you wait for your food.
>>Grandma J’s is open 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and is cash only.
6 MORE NEW BRUNCHES TO TRY
Nellcote (833 W. Randolph St. 312-432-0500) in the West Loop serves an $18 prix fixe brunch that includes one entree (choices range from lobster hash to a sunnyside-up egg pizza) and a plate of pastries, cheese and charcuterie to share with tablemates. Experiment with fun brunch drinks such as a green bloody mary with apple, jalapeno and tomatillo ($10). 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. *Outdoor seating available
Bar Toma (110 E. Pearson St. 312-266-3110 in the Gold Coast takes favorites from chef Tony Mantuano’s Italian dinner menu and brunches them up, including the much-loved bomba (a puffy balloon of pizza dough) served with eggs and bacon ($9) and a caprese salad-inspired bloody mary with roma tomatoes and basil ($5). 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. *Outdoor seating available
G.E.B. (841 W. Randolph St. 312-888-2258), Graham Elliot’s new eatery in the West Loop, serves variations on classic morning dishes including fried chicken with a corn waffle and stewed collard greens ($14) and oatmeal with medjool dates and a shot of whiskey ($7). 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. *Outdoor seating available
Yusho (2853 N. Kedzie Ave. 773-904-8558) in Avondale recently started a $20 Sunday noodle brunch that includes a bowl of ramen or soba plus a drink and soft-serve ice cream for dessert. Noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
The Peasantry (2723 N. Clark St. 773-868-4888) in Lincoln Park doles out brunch dishes both sweet (walnut cream-stuffed French toast with cherry bourbon syrup, $6), salty (short rib pastrami hash, $13) and a little bit of both (pancetta-chocolate waffle, $9). 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Tavernita (151 W. Erie St. 312-274-1111) in River North offers a brunch deal designed for sharing: For $12.50 per person, order four dishes to split with pals. Choices include fried chicken and churros, a fun spin on the down-home combo of chicken and waffles. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. *Outdoor seating available
Reviewers visit restaurants unannounced and meals are paid for by RedEye. firstname.lastname@example.org | @redeyeeats; email@example.com | @kbernot