While New York and D.C. are already into patio and rooftop season, Chicago is still thawing out. On Saturday, my friend Cyrene and I were looking for a brunch that felt like spring. Enter: Onward.
Onward’s dining room basks in natural light and feels open yet intimate. One wall features a lush plant wall that was a great substitute to a patio garden. The interior design is gorgeous with luxe navy velvet sofas and tall arched ceilings. It’s the perfect space to daydream about warmer days while staying cozy inside. The brunch menu features elevated comfort foods that also feed the soul, which is just what the doctor ordered after the long winter.
The Rogers Park restaurant, located adjacent to Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, opened in November of 2018. The restaurant started brunch in January. It wasn’t crowded on Saturday morning and we were able to have a corner virtually to ourselves.
We started with bottomless mimosas, which are $25 a la carte or $15 with the purchase of a brunch entree. There is a 2-hour limit for the bottomless deal. The mimosas were tart, smooth, and easy to sip. Our waiter was ever-faithful about topping us off when he came to check on us.
The doughnuts were calling to us, so we each ordered one of the daily donut selection to eat while perusing the menu. Cyrene got the raspberry jelly-filled doughnut with powdered sugar on top. The filling was fresh and tart and tasted homemade instead of the typical jelly-filling from a jar. I got the lemon poppyseed old fashioned doughnut. It was reminiscent of a lemon bar and a delicate balance of sour and sweet. The doughnuts were our favorite part, and next visit I’ll be getting the pastry board to try the coffee cake and kouign-mann.
For the main entree, I went with the southern crawfish Benedict, which comes with a spring salad and Yukon potatoes. I’m always on a quest for good southern food and this meal featured an Old Bay hollandaise that I couldn’t get enough of. The crawfish cake was crisp and an ideal addition to the poached egg and English muffin.
Cyrene opted for the avocado toast and smoked salmon, which has poached eggs and cream cheese on top of sourdough. It also comes with sides of salad and breakfast potatoes. After the doughnut, the toast was pleasant but lacked a wow-factor. The meals were hearty enough portions that neither of us even touched our sides.
The Bitches say: four Champagne flutes. Onward is the perfect spot to catch up with friends over delicious mimosas and new twists on traditional brunch dishes.
Onward serves brunch Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.