Perhaps it’s my love of Italy or my obsession with locally fresh baked carbs, I’ve always appreciated a shop or cafe that focuses on the three main food groups: bread, wine, and cheese.
As a true farm to table groupie, I was elated when Pastoral (a.k.a. Bar Pastoral) invited us in to sample their Saturday morning brunch. Since I love nothing more than a cute, kitschy store that sells the bread, wine, and cheese which are being served in the restaurant attached, I consider myself a marketer’s dream.
Pastoral has a few locations across Chicago, but we decided to visit Bar Pastoral in Lakeview. One of my favorite outposts of theirs is in the French Market; an ideal place to run and grab that mid-day ham and Brie sammi.
When you walk in to Bar Pastoral, its rustic and chic interior welcomes you right in. Chalkboard menus line the walls, while cute booths are tucked into cozy corners. We were lucky enough to be seated right next to the window – a prime location for people watching.
Up first on this crisp Saturday morning? Cocktails of course! My husband, Aaron, and I had the Bloody Mary, while our good friend Rachel had the mimosa. The fresh Bloody Mary mix instantly shined, along with the fresh herbs, spices, and accruements served inside. The mimosa was similar to my post-SoulCycle self – fresh and strong.
Dying to try their collection of cheeses, we started with the appropriately named ‘brunch board’ which had a wonderful selection of artisanal cheese, made-from-scratch jams, and fresh-out-of-the-oven mini baguettes. During the extensive fromage taste test that was taking place, I was already dreaming about my purchase at the adorable Pastoral cheese shop next door.
Torn between the grilled cheese and tomato soup or the seasonal frittata, I opted for the frittata. Fresh veggies, fluffy eggs, and light creamy brie were layered inside the buttery crust. As most brunch aficionados know, a side of fresh greens pairs perfectly with almost any frittata…this one being no exception. My eyes lit up when I saw the kale salad piled next to the frittata. A foodie trend I know and love, is a good, fresh kale salad…this one was nothing sort of deliciousness.
Rachel had the parsnip and potato hash which was a colorful display of avocados, lemon cream, piquillo peppers, potatoes, parsnips and pesto, all topped with a perfectly poached egg. This dish screamed farmers market. It was light, full of flavor, and satisfying.
Aaron opted for the more indulgent option, the fried chicken and waffles. The calories don’t count if you sneak a bite of someone else’s decadent entrée, right? Buttermilk fried chicken lay atop crispy cheddar embedded waffles. Vermont maple syrup and caramelized apples were drizzled on top. This dish was a match made in sweet and salty heaven.
The charming interior and the fresh take on comfort food were enjoyed by all. However, the star of the show for me, personally, was the wine, bread, and cheese shop that’s accessible through a nook parallel to the kitchen.
After brunch we acted as if we were in Paris, where it’s appropriate to eat cheese at the end of the meal. At the Pastoral market store, we nibbled on local cheeses from the Midwest, as well as those from the East Coast. We purchased a few of their made-in-house crisps which were covered with Asiago cheese…they made for the perfect snack later in the day.
The Bitches Say: A. The intimate neighborhood spot is perfect for a summer patio brunch, and grabbing picnic goodies to go.
2947 N Broadway Street
Chicago, IL 60657
Brunch served Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.