Clearly I am a brunch-loving Bitch, but admittedly, sometimes my brunch plans are overly ambitious. And occasionally, my plans go awry when the new brunch I had been planning to go to for two weeks suddenly falls on the back burner, because I decided to sleep in late—whoops!
This past Sunday is an example of this. My best friend Kelly and her husband Jimmy were visiting us for the weekend on their cross country trip to move to Vail, CO. Kelly and Jimmy were to arrive late Friday evening and we were going to do a bunch of stuff on Saturday before they headed out Sunday morning. Among the things on our to-do list was to brunch somewhere with our husbands. Kelly was excited to brunch with me, and was looking forward to me using my expert brunch knowledge to find us a good spot.
I had compiled a list of a few on-my-radar places to go and made a few reservations, but come Saturday morning, it was almost impossible to get out of bed. Thankfully, Kelly and Jimmy struggled to get out of bed too, and I definitely didn’t want to wake them because cross-country moves can be exhausting. As a traveling physical therapist, Kelly and Jimmy move as many as three times a year (talk about exhausting!). Needless to say, brunch could wait!
Once everyone was awake and our original brunch plans had been aborted, I decided to simplify things and settle on a spot near us, that would be comfortable and casual. Janik’s Cafe was a spot that immediately came to mind— a cute spot on Division, I have always passed by but have never really known what it was. To my surprise, Janik’s is actually an incredibly popular and highly regarded cafe and diner in my neighborhood.
We arrived on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon to find the place packed. It was just after 12 p.m. and there was still a line. Thankfully, just because there was a line, it didn’t necessarily mean a long wait time; Janik’s is small so ten people in line may seem like a lot, but it was really only two parties and the second two tables cleared up, those parties were seated and our group was up next.
We were seated after about ten minutes of waiting, and were anxious to order; we were all starving. Instantly Jimmy and I were both excited about the “South of the Border” portion of the menu. That was, until Chris became excited about the Belgian waffle, and Jimmy moved his attention to that.
I ordered a regular mimosa to start, while Kelly opted for a grapefruit mimosa and an iced latte. Our gentlemen both ordered coffees. All of the drinks were really good; the coffee was a great blend, and the mimosas used fresh squeezed juice, which is always amazing.
Both Jimmy and Chris decided to go with the Belgian waffle combo that came with eggs and a choice of sausage or bacon. Kelly chose the French toast combo. Meanwhile, I was in a savory mood, and was disappointed that I was the only one ordering as such, so we all decided to start with a breakfast quesadilla for the table. For my entree, I went with the breakfast bowl.
The quesadilla came out, and it looked delicious. Served with a scoops of rice and refried beans and dollops of both pico de gallo and sour cream, we were all excited to grab a piece. It was super yummy. We were craving guac though so we asked our server to bring us a little side, but it was delicious nonetheless.
Shortly after, our entrees arrived, and we were all anxious to dig in. I should note, that I have a little personal rule about brunching; if grits are on the menu, I always order them. Truth be told, I have even left establishments before for the mere fact that they didn’t have grits. What kind of breakfast establishment that has the words “Country Cooking” in its name and is located below the Mason Dixon line doesn’t have grits? I mean, come on!
My breakfast bowl looked perfect, and I was equally as excited about the side of grits; my husband laughed as I did a little “grits dance.” What can I say? I love them! My bowl came with two scrambled eggs over potatoes sauteed with onions, green peppers, tomatoes, jack and cheddar cheeses, pico de gallo, black beans, and a choice of toast. It was hot, piled high, and tasted delicious. I was not disappointed with my choice.
A quick glance over to the husbands and you would know instantly that they were satisfied with their choices as well. The once delicate, cute, fluffy waffles that had been placed on the table a mere moment ago were now half eaten and drenched in syrup. The waffles were yummy; light and fluffy cooked to golden-brown perfection and in a cute rounded hearts shape.
Kelly loved her French toast. It came with a custard like dipping sauce, that we weren’t entirely sure what it was, but it tasted good regardless. It was just plain but tasty French toast and Kelly thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ll get straight to the point; Janik’s Cafe is one of the best brunch offerings the city has to offer. This small, local spot is definitely more than a neighborhood hotspot; the restaurant should pride itself on serving really good food, in a relaxed setting, while offering a diverse and moderately priced menu. The fact that this cafe and diner hybrid serves booze too is just the icing on the cake. Weekend warriors, check this place out; you won’t be disappointed.
The Bitches Say: A+. This is by far one of Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village’s best places for breakfast. Diverse menu options and a pleasant ambiance with original artwork from local artists make this spot a favorite. Bravo!
2011 W. Division St.
Chicago, Il. 60622
Janik’s Cafe serves breakfast and lunch on Sunday to Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.