There are so many places that I have driven by, passed walking, or heard about over and over again since my big move to Chicago. Elly’s on North Avenue is a restaurant I have passed about two dozen times since moving here, and walked by even more. Located on the corner of North and Clark, it has window on both sides that allow you to peek in. What you will find pretty much at any hour of the day, are numerous diners eating away under the twinkling lights that hang from the ceiling.
My sister Ashley also lives in Chicago, and though we talk daily, there are often weeks that go by without us seeing each other. Ashley travels a lot for work, and we both juggle multiple jobs with our social lives, all while being completely devoted dog moms—life can get busy! Google calendar is our friend, and we had decided on a girl day-date one weekend. Since I have a car, I always will travel to my little sis. So, for brunch we decided on Elly’s, which is super close to her apartment and a spot we had never tried before.
Elly’s is seemingly always busy, but when we arrived for a late brunc, it wasn’t too crowded. We were seated by the window immediately—perfect timing on our part! Elly’s is a diner that is open 24/7, but at first glance you wouldn’t know. This is a far distant cousin of IHOP and Denny’s. At a typical diner, I expect a fast paced atmosphere and cheesy decor. Elly’s is cute, with twinkling lights hanging from the ceiling, blue painted walls, and a sea of adorable decorative plates hanging on the far wall. It is definitely cute and comfortable. With the amount of natural light the restaurant gets, it is comparable to Summer House Santa Monica at first glance!
We were promptly greeted by our super friendly server. I feel like this is a common theme among all of my brunch reviews, but we were starving! We quickly ordered coffees; a classic hot cup for me and an iced for Ashley.
I began glancing at the regular menu and decided right away that I wanted us to start off with something sweet for us to share. Though the oven-baked pancakes sounded delicious, my eyes were drawn to the crepes and the blintzes. That was until Ashley handed me the specials menu, and told me they had Nutella and banana pancakes—SOLD! After our server brought our drinks we quickly put in an order of pancakes.
Everything on the menu sounded delicious, so it took some time to decide but we were settled by the time our pancakes were out to the table. The pancakes looked scrumptious, stacked high and fluffy, and drizzled with chocolate all over. Quickly, though, we noticed they were covered with strawberries, not bananas, and they were…pink! Our server noticed as well and realized she had put in the wrong order and given us the February special, “Love” pancakes. She apologized and offered to bring us the correct order, but we weren’t going to allow that. We were starving, but it would have been a sin to turn away something that looked this delicious.
After one bite we were so happy we stuck with this order, and had forgotten all about the Nutella and banana pancakes. These were delicious, like having dessert before dinner. The two older ladies at the table next to them were amused at the “oohs” and “ahhs” coming from our table and admired our order, we had enough to share so we gave them a small plate. They were just so good! I seriously don’t know what they do to the batter, but they taste like light, fluffy cake pancakes.
For entrees, Ashley and I both went the simpler, more savory route. We had both been debating a few different items; Ashley especially had her eye on the breakfast burrito. After ordering the pancakes and then discussing options with our server though, we were intimidated by how large she described the items we were inquiring about. Ultimately, we went with our instincts and decided on more simple entree options.
For my entree, I opted for the Denver omelet that came with a side of hash browns.The omelet was good—light and perfectly structured, but nothing to write home about. The hash browns were underwhelming; they were a little too undercooked and under seasoned for my liking. This is the only time I was disappointed in my diner expectations; hash browns should really be the shining star!
Ashley decided to go with the two egg specialty, with a side of bacon and toast. Her bacon was done, to say the least. She loves her bacon crispy, but it was overkill. Speaking of toast, a weird thing happened. Both of our entrees were supposed to come with toast, but neither of us received it until our meal was finished because of a power shortage resulting in the toaster not working. Another side effect of the power problem? It suddenly became cash only.
Overall, brunch was more than halfway decent, and though the service and restaurant had some slip ups, it was a good meal. The pancakes were by far the shining star, and ultimately are what made this brunch earn a B.
The Bitches say: B. A solid breakfast spot, with a variety of choices. This is a great brunch spot, but keep in mind though that it is a diner, and be prepared for some diner-like slip ups. The pancakes are delicious and make up for almost everything, though.
Elly’s Pancake House
101 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60610
Elly’s serves breakfast everyday, all day.