Since my brunch at The Whale, I have regretted my decision to skip on the chicken and waffles and have been in search of an opportunity to cure my cravings. I got my chance when Grand & Ogden (also known as G&O) invited my friend Andrew and me to try their revamped brunch menu. We’ve reviewed this West Loop staple before, so we wanted to see if the new menu would uphold our five Champagne flute rating! We went on one of the hottest days in Chicago so far this summer, so G&O had their two garage doors closed to keep it cool for us inside. The patio looks cute, surrounded by flowers with strings of lights overhead – definitely a great place to sit when it isn’t 100 degrees!
We were greeted with the sounds of ’60s rock and roll music. The space has a rustic, industrial feel with deep red walls, recycled barn wood, and open ceilings with exposed duct work. The small, friendly space has bar seating along one side of the restaurant, which continues in front of one of the garage doors. The other side of the restaurant sports several table tops, some with booth seating and all with bright natural light from the second garage door. Andrew and I took a seat at a hightop and got down to business.
It needs to be shared that G&O offers $5 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays (not just during brunch time), and these mimosas are on point. They have a great ratio of Champagne to orange juice – more champagne than juice – and were the perfect cure for the super hot day we were having. Andrew went with a new drink on the menu, the frozen Irish coffee. The owners of G&O visit New Orleans often, and loved the frozen Irish coffees so much that they bought a machine to make their own in Chicago. Our frozen Irish coffee tasted like a Starbucks Frappuccino crossed with a white Russian, with a little ground coffee sprinkled on top. It’s a refreshingly cold beverage with both caffeine and alcohol, so what more could you need? Andrew loved it so much that he convinced the table next to us to order them (they also loved them)!
Once we got over the hype from our drinks, it was onto the food. Andrew and I started with a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting, which was gooey and moist in the center. Sometimes, once you get past the frosting-soaked part of the roll, it gets really dry at the center – not this one! The frosting was sweet but well-balanced with the cream cheese; it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet.
From there we moved onto the avocado toast. We really liked this one! While it’s a classic brunch item at this point, many places go crazy with unique toppings to make it stand out. G&O doesn’t try to over-complicate their avocado toast, sticking with the basics and delivering in spectacular fashion. The sunny side up egg was cooked to perfection and the bread wasn’t soggy. The avocado was incredibly creamy and we could enjoy it for what it was: delicious avocado on toast.
We continued our healthy streak with the heirloom tomato salad. These tomatoes were “fresh from the garden” mouthwatering. Creamy goat cheese and crunchy spiced pecans added different textures to the dish, and the watermelon vinaigrette added a touch of extra flavor to the mix. I personally love the taste of fresh tomatoes and didn’t really need the added vinaigrette, but it wasn’t unwelcome.
Finally, the main event, chicken and waffles! Most restaurants provide some sort of maple syrup with this dish (sriracha or bourbon-flavored), but G&O mixed it up and paired it with andouille sausage gravy. I will say, this dish doesn’t look particularly appetizing when it comes out, but I was impressed by this dish. The Belgian waffles were sweet, which balanced well with the savory gravy, and the homemade fried chicken was incredibly juicy. It reminded me of my mom’s homemade fried chicken.
The Bitches say: five champagne flutes!
Grand & Ogden is an ideal brunch location and we highly recommend heading to the West Town area to check it out!
Grand & Ogden serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.