The Chicago Bears may be terrible this year, but that won’t stop my friends from spending their Sunday afternoons brunching and watching football. Last week, we had our first of many football Sunday brunches: at Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park.
Facing out to bustling Division Street, Smoke Daddy’s large outdoor space and attached sidewalk dining is hard to miss. The bright red umbrellas, outdoor TVs and numerous flower boxes draw you into their live music and BBQ hot spot.
Unfortunately for us, our large party landed us at dark and stuffy indoor table. Nevertheless, the dreary table location didn’t stop us from having a good time. We kicked off brunch with their award winning ‘Smokin’ Mary,’ which was garnished with warm brisket and pulled pork and accompanied by a pony bottle of beer. In addition, a few of us ordered their Strawberry Lemonade with Rum—hoping to hold onto summer just a little bit longer.
The group insisted we get both the Monkey Bread and Iron Skillet Blueberry Cornbread for my review, logic I couldn’t argue with. Being a cornbread-loving Bitch already, I liked the Iron Skillet Blueberry Cornbread the best. Served in a hot skillet, the rich cornbread was packed full of chunky blueberries and served with maple butter that immediately melted atop. Also served in a cast iron skillet, the Monkey bread was sweet balls of cinnamon dough, drizzled with a light cream cheese frosting, and served warm. Sugary sweet and oh-so-doughy, this dish surpassed my expectations. Both dishes were some of the best sweet brunch treats I’ve sampled, and I highly recommend splitting them with your party.
It’s no surprise that Smoke Daddy’s brunch menu is full of meats on meats and rich smoky flavors. All of which can be taken to the next level with their house-made BBQ sauces: Sweet and Smokey, Mustard and Original. I refrained from using them on my brunch order, but some of my fellow brunchers tried them all and approved.
My gal pal Borden ordered the Brisket Breakfast Skillet, another skillet dish, surprise surprise! Packed with scrambled eggs, onions, bell peppers and drizzled with a chipotle glaze, the flavors were a bit spicy and right up her alley. Similarly, Alison ordered the same dish but topped with a poached egg.
We had two omelette dishes at the table: the Wicker Park Omelette and the Chilli Cheese Omelette. Emily loved the goat cheese, artichoke, and asparagus combination of the Wicker Park Omelette. She balanced her healthy choice with a side of hashbrowns rather than of fruit.
Sean ordered my second choice on the menu, the Chili Cheese Omelette. Similar to a ‘walking taco,’ the omelette was covered in cheddar cheese, fritos, sour cream, and scallions. The flavors reminded him more of a Mexican restaurant than a BBQ joint, but he loved the dish anyway.
Brendan and I both ordered meatier dishes, the Pulled Pork Benedict and a classic Smoke Daddy Platter. The Smoke Daddy Platter comes with your choice of two meats and two sides—it’s quite filling. Brendan chose pulled pork and burnt ends, served alongside coleslaw and crispy sweet potato fries. The thick meats were perched atop pieces of simple white bread and tasted best with a generous helping of their original BBQ sauce. Brendan has ordered this tried-and-true dish before as it lives on their dinner menu. So, it goes without saying that he’s a Smoke Daddy platter aficionado. It’s worth noting that you can order anything on their regular dinner menu during brunch hours without hassle, which is a nice perk.
With a blessing from the waitress and my affinity towards Benedicts, I ordered the Pulled Pork Benedict. The classic Smoke Daddy pulled pork was stacked atop a very run-of-the-mill English muffin and covered with perfectly poached eggs and a chipotle hollandaise sauce. The amount of meat on each Benedict was so filling, I could only finish half the dish. As much as I wanted to like it, the dish was too heavy and the flavors just weren’t right. Although someone else may feel differently, I wouldn’t order it again.
Last but certainly not least, I saved an entire section of this review for the Smoke Daddy hashbrowns. No joke, these are best hashbrowns I’ve found in Chicago. Now, I’d describe their hashbrowns more of a ‘hash-casserole’ than straight-up hashbrowns. Served in a large square brick, they look as though they were cooked in a square baking pan cut into individual pieces. Likely mixed with a ton of butter and sour cream, they havea thicker, creamier texture while still maintaining the perfect balance of crispiness. Don’t ever order a side of fruit here, the hashbrowns are a decision that I promise you won’t regret it.
The Bitches say: B. A meat-filled casual brunch with amazing hashbrowns and strong drinks, perfect for football Sundays.
The Smoke Daddy
1804 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
Smoke Daddy serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m.