Carriage House Brunch in Chicago

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. Each time I return home for the holidays, I realize how much the neighborhood scenes have changed—and how much I’ve grown up. On breaks during college, it was Lincoln Park After Dark on the weekends and on our manicures. Visiting home following graduation, we gallivanted to the dives on Division, which stayed open until dawn. Now at the ripe age of 25, apparently Wicker Park is the place to be.

Carriage House Brunch

According to my Windy City Bitches, Wicker Park is too far removed and virtually inaccessible by public transportation to reside, and I mentally compared it to an H Street N.E. in Washington, D.C. or areas in Brooklyn in New York for perspective. However, it’s a hot spot for trendy restaurants and nightlife, and we frequented the area during my last visit home. Innjoy, you may still have my debit card. And my dignity.

My only request for my weekend in the city was a solid brunch, which brought us girls to Carriage House in Wicker Park. I met five of my college sorority sisters at the restaurant, and I was immediately blown away by the adorable ambiance.

Carriage House Brunch

With tartan throw blankets on the chairs and rustic teal touches, it felt as if we were dining in an Anthropologie, which is basically a dream come true for me. We were lucky enough to be seated in an “open air” portion of the dining room, surrounded completely by windows, allowing us to enjoy the Chicago sunshine on this blistery winter afternoon.

Carriage House Brunch

Coffee is the ultimate Bitch fuel, and we squealed with delight when it was presented in a French press with vintage teacups. The coffee was piping hot and served with a smile.

Carriage House touts a menu of “Modern Low Country Fare,” representative of how the historical carriage houses of the past evolved from tack rooms to hospitable retreats. We followed our server’s advice and started with a few orders of the skillet cornbread for the table, which was quickly devoured. The warm, fluffy cornbread was topped with apple preserves, and we were caught off-guard by the distinct taste of the whipped foie gras butter.

Carriage House Brunch

I’m a mushroom fiend so immediately gravitated towards the mushroom entrée, which included creamy grits, truffle vinaigrette, a soft egg, and grilled chicory. It was extremely rich, and I couldn’t finish my plate—a rare feat indeed. I’m no grits expert, but the Southerners at the table noted that these had an especially thick consistency. The soft egg in the middle of the dish came as a surprise and offset the saltiness of the overall plate.

Carriage House Brunch

Brittany was totally on the fence between salty and sweet, and finally selected the chicken and biscuits. This dish was a monster and received mixed reviews at our table. The pimento lovers appreciated the thick coating of cheese, but Brittany was turned off by the smoky aftertaste, overpowering pool of gravy, and overload of carbs. This entrée was extremely hearty and overwhelming.

Carriage House Brunch

Jaki was a good sport and chose another classic Southern pick from the menu. Her fried green tomatoes were stacked high with pimento cheese, spicy hominy, creamed ham, and buttermilk vinaigrette, and topped with a fried egg. Like the chicken and waffles, she was left with a rich, smoky aftertaste and some slight food fatigue. This is no dish for the weary!

Carriage House Brunch

Alex selected the seasonal fruit, which was a refreshing departure from the heavily battered, buttered, and fried dishes across our table. We Bitches can be picky about our fruit plates and this platter did not disappoint. The robust spread featured fresh pears, pineapples, strawberries, and apples.

Carriage House Brunch

Carriage House definitely delivered on its claim as “a taste of down South, Up North.” However, coming from an Equinox Lincoln Park double, the last thing I felt like doing was eradicating the major burn from Impact and Definitions with hearty soul food, and my girlfriends agreed.

The Bitches say B. A gorgeous ambiance and interesting menu choices, but in the end many of the dishes were too smoky and overwhelming for our brunch palate.

Carriage House
1700 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 384-9700

Carriage House serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Carriage House on Urbanspoon

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Comments

  • Jess says:

    How have I never discovered this site until now? I haven’t ventured over to Wicker to try Carraige House yet but now it is definitely the next on my list! That has got to be the most beautiful brunch I’ve ever seen! Bravo Al :)

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