Since becoming Co-Editor-in-Chief of Bitches Who Brunch Chicago, often people give me advice on where I should brunch. Some of them are obvious ones: popular brunch spots like Kanela Breakfast Club or The Bongo Room. One place, though, is the most common recommendation I get: a cute restaurant in the heart of River North, appropriately called Brunch.
In my three years living in Chicago, I have driven past this spot many times, but had never gone in. Brunch was on my list, but I had not gotten around to it. One weekend not too long ago, I was set to grab brunch with my co-Editor, Allison, and we decided that we would finally cross this one off the list.
The restaurant is situated on a corner of N. Orlean St. and W. Erie, and it doesn’t look like a restaurant from the outside. It’s an easy to miss spot, well, except for the guy dressed as a bacon strip twirling a sign saying “Brunch here!” that rather is hard to miss.
Allison and I arrived right around noon and were seated at a lovely corner table with tons of natural light from the floor to ceiling windows. We were greeted by our nice server, and we promptly ordered coffees. Our coffees came out immediately—hot and delicious. We then decided to start with some small bites.
We chose the chicken and waffle bites and the seared blueberry muffin tops as our starters—I mean, we were really hungry, and it’s difficult to have a work meeting on an empty stomach. Thankfully, our “work meeting” was to brunch, so ordering loads of food was the key to success.
The bites came out pretty fast, which we appreciated since our stomachs were beginning to rumble at this point. The seared blueberry muffin tops came out and they looked really delicious, though not as I had imagined. I had imagined they would be more rounded, like a muffin, and maybe topped with a crumble, but they looked more like baked mini loaves of blueberry bread.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of them because they weren’t blueberry muffins—false advertising! Allison enjoyed them for what they were. This Bitch doesn’t want to order something that tastes a little bit like they came out of a box. I wanted a fresh out-of-the-oven blueberry muffin from a bakery—is that too much to ask?
Now, the chicken and waffle bites were a different story. Presentation-wise, the blueberry muffins were the winner—right in color and perfectly plated. They out shined the chicken and waffle bits, which looked more like doughnut holes.
But none of that mattered when it came to taste—the chicken and waffle bites were the true winners. Allison and I loved them. To this day, we still talk about the chicken and waffle bites from brunch at Brunch. They were really delicious.
For entrees, Allison chose the smoked salmon Benedict. The dish came with a side of breakfast potatoes, and looked really pretty as it arrived to our table. As Allison dove into her meal though, she was slightly underwhelmed. The eggs were mushy and the sauce wasn’t great either, she noted.
I didn’t have a bite because I am not a lover of smoked salmon, but I took her word for it. She said it wasn’t terrible but that she probably wouldn’t recommend it to someone.
I opted for something light and more on the healthy side; the Power Parfait. It was described as having seasonal fruit, and came out with my favorites: strawberries and blueberries. The parfait looked picture perfect and I was excited to dig in.
Layered by alternating fruit and homemade granola between low fat Greek yogurt, it was delicious. The homemade granola was especially crunchy, which I loved; I assumed it had been prepared fresh-to-order as opposed to being pre-made ahead of time.
Overall brunch at Brunch was pleasant. The staff was overly friendly in a good way, always coming around to check on our table and refill our cups of Joe. The spot itself is casual, almost diner like in my opinion.
I would come back if family was in town visiting, but I don’t think the restaurant is my ideal spot for a brunch date with a girlfriend or the hubby. The casual vibe and variety in menu options make it great for a group date but not special enough for a fun brunch outing, unfortunately.
The Bitches Say: C+. Brunch is a cute spot, but unfortunately the low-key menu, and even more low-key vibe, turned us off. Bring family and friends here for a casual, convenient brunch outing but opt for somewhere else for a brunch date with the girls.
644 N. Orleans
Brunch serves breakfast daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and weekend Brunch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.