The bloody mary, breakfast skillet and Strawberry Fields cocktail are… (Jim Haschmann/For RedEye )
As if summer in full swing—with its street fests, parades and beach bumming—isn't keeping your weekends jam-packed enough, a handful of restaurants have debuted brunch service over the past few months. These eight options will give you just the excuse you need to linger lazily on a patio with a bloody mary in hand—or, in the case of one restaurant serving brunch during the week—play hooky from work.
15 W. Illinois St. 312-239-0995
Launched: Early June
Dishes: This clubby River North hangout offers decadent treats such as chocolate French toast with cherries and espresso cream ($9) and crab cake benedict with arugula, bell pepper and caper hollandaise ($14).
Drinks: Bar manager Tony Potempa said his Morning Stinger cocktail ($9), a mix of Rumchata, honey whiskey and bitters, tastes just like the milk left over in a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.
Brunch times: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Reservations recommended.
Outdoor seating: A retractable roof turns the second floor into a sundeck with a DJ spinning pop tunes and 30-plus TVs for sports-watching.
400 N. State St. 312-265-1240
Dishes: This River North pub's brunch menu will offer sweet treats such as doughnut-fried French toast served with strawberry-banana jam and Michigan maple syrup ($14) alongside buttermilk-battered fried chicken and waffles with hot sauce-spiked maple syrup ($12).
Drinks: Beer pairings are the focus with brunch-friendly coffee-flavored brews such as the Left Hand milk stout ($6), but you can also try the bloody mary made garnished with local cheese, pickled vegetables and cured meat.
Brunch times: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.
Outdoor seating: First-come, first-served sidewalk seating along Kinzie Street opened last month, providing a sweet view of the Chicago Theatre sign looking northward down State Street.
La Sirena Clandestina
954 W. Fulton Market 312-226-5300
Launched: June 16
Dishes: Though chef John Manion echoes the South American flair of his dinner menu in brunch fare such as bacon, sage and cheddar breakfast empanadas ($4), Kim Dalton is also in the kitchen preparing favorites from Dodo, the popular breakfast spot that used to reside in this address, such as a Japanese pancake with asparagus, bean sprouts and green onions ($12).
Drinks: La Sirena's bloody mary ($9) is made with Brazilian hot peppers, Peruvian pisco and Fernet Branca, an Italian spirit popular in Argentina, while micheladas feature 5 Rabbit Cerveceria's 5 Rabbit golden ale.
Brunch times: 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Sunday. Reservations accepted.
Outdoor seating: A tiny sidewalk patio seats 12, but you'll have to get lucky to get a seat, since reservations aren't accepted specifically for the outdoor tables.
4539 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-506-9300
Launched: Late April
Dishes: The most popular options on this locally-focused Lincoln Square restaurant's menu are the brioche bread bowl ($11), filled with pork sausage, asparagus, mushrooms, cheesy mornay sauce and fried egg with home fries on the side and the Chef's Market Breakfast ($10) a dish whipped up based on what's at the farmer's market, such as asparagus and ramp quiche, that sells out every week.
Drinks: Get some light refreshment from the Strawberry Fields, local strawberries blended with basil, sugar and rum ($9) or stick to a bloody mary ($8) made with fresh tomato juice and served with pepperoncini, celery and olives stuffed with house-made chorizo.
Brunch times: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays. Reservations accepted.
Outdoor seating: A covered terrace with leather-cushioned benches and ceiling fans to provide a breeze has has 40 seats and is first come, first served.
Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed
3411 N. Broadway 773-661-6384
Dishes: This Kosher barbecue restaurant in Lakeview has been introducing non-Jews to the joys of a salami and egg sandwich, made with sliced grilled salami and fried egg served on a bagel or roll with hash browns ($12). You can also design your own omelet stuffed with veggies, beef bacon and brisket chili. ($9, plus $1 to $3 per ingredient).
Drinks: Milt's sticks to the classics, pouring bloody marys ($7) and oversized mimosas ($5) served in a wine glass instead of the usual champagne flute.
Brunch times: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Reservations accepted.
Outdoor seating: The sidewalk, which opened June 17, offers seating for 16 at two- or four-person umbrella-topped tables.