It was one of those magical Saturdays in February. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the 60s. My boyfriend and I hopped on Divvy bikes, and rode to meet another couple for brunch at The Dawson.
The Dawson is a gorgeous, industrial space in West Town near the Grand Avenue blue line stop. The second you step inside, you’re captivated by the striking bi-level restaurant’s beauty. Gorgeous glass chandeliers and a grand staircase are the centerpieces of this two-level space. I’d been to the Dawson once before for a private party—it’s a a perfect spot to host an event—and I was excited to finally try the brunch. Although it was still a bit too chilly for brunch on the patio, The Dawson’s outdoor space is huge, and is a must for your summer dining list.
We sat down and ordered drinks to the tunes of oldies music pumping through the speakers. The cold brew coffee was delivered in the cutest little bottle. It was a perfect wake-me-up on a sunny day like this.
The Dawson may serve amazing cocktails by night, but the brunch cocktails were a bit lackluster. We tried the Bloody Mary and the bellini, and both were nothing to write home about. Hoping for more excitement from the food side of the menu, we didn’t waste any time ordering.
The brunch menu at The Dawson is full of twists on breakfast favorites. How pretty is this steak and eggs dish?! The herb marinated flank steak was drizzled with a bright citrus sauce and topped with flecks of cilantro. Underneath sat coffee-braised onions, mushrooms, and Texas toast. Atop lay one egg, and my fellow bruncher wisely suggested two eggs would have been better. Nevertheless, the dish was full of spice and flavor, and very filling.
No, this isn’t a brunch burger. It’s a B.E.A.L.T sandwich, a Dawson specialty suggested by our server. B.E.A.L.T stands for bacon, egg, avocado, lettuce, and tomato, of course. The sandwich is also served with warm cheddar, sliced ham, and topped with mustard aioli. this packed-full sandwich sat upon a very large brioche roll. The distinctive take on a B.L.T. was delightful, but the abundance of bread (not to mention the fries on the side), made this dish feel a bit heavy and overpowering. After the first bite, my boyfriend ended up eating the sandwich sans-bread, and enjoyed it even more. I’ll also note, I snuck a few fries and they were perfectly crisp.
After a week of eating out every night, my gal pal opted for the vegetable hash. Now, when I think of a breakfast hash, potatoes are the first ingredient that comes to mind. The veggie hash at The Dawson had zero potatoes, but it did have a rich scallion cornbread topped with swiss chard, a fried egg, squash, tofu, and mushroom-infused gravy. Once again, The Dawson impressed us with their unique take on the dish. Although it may look bland, it was full of spice.
On a hunt to try a new brunch dish, I opted for the Hazzard Free Farms cheesy grits, and, boy, was I pleased! The dish had thick pieces of braised maple bacon, a poached egg, and fresh greens mixed with spicy, cheesey grits. The grits weren’t your typical Southern style; they almost tasted curry-like. I really enjoyed the extraordinary flavors in this dish, but it was so large I couldn’t finish it.
We left The Dawson feeling full, and very happy with our brunch choice. I’d love to go back again soon to sample more of the brunch entrees, and dinner as well. Let’s hope next time it’ll be warm enough for an al fresco meal!
The Bitches Say: A. The Dawson has a gorgeous industrial space that is ideal for a sunny brunch date in West Town. The brunch menu doesn’t win on cocktails, but is full of delicious modern twists on breakfast dishes—all full of unique flavors and spices at every turn.
730 W Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654
The Dawson is open for brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.