I was beginning to feel left out. Ever since it’s highly anticipated opening, Cafe Robey has been on my radar for months. A hot spot on my instagram feed among my friends and food bloggers alike, I was really getting jealous of the gorgeous photos of food and drinks that everyone and their momma seemed to be posting.
Cafe Robey is the restaurant inside the new Robey Hotel, serving up modern American fare against the backdrop of Wicker Park and Bucktown’s bustling six-corner intersection. The hotel is a new and exciting addition to the Wicker Park neighborhood. Perched high above Damen, Milwaukee and North Avenues in a charming Art Deco masterpiece stretching 203-feet tall, this building is the only skyscraper for miles, and it is one of the most distinct buildings west of the highway.
Taking its name from Robey Street—the north-south artery that would become Damen Avenue, the hotel aims to honor this unique skyscraper’s renowned past while bringing a fresh, new perspective.
Cafe Robey is a contemporary restaurant, with a menu featuring approachable and delicious-sounding dishes, made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients, courtesy of newly appointed executive chef Kevin McAllister. The restaurant serves brunch and dinner daily; a dream for this brunching Bitch. So when I was scheduled to have a lunch meeting with two lovely ladies behind STORE-Revolving Curation, Julie and Bridget, I was elated when they suggested we meet at Cafe Robey around noon.
Cafe Robey is, simply put, gorgeous. It is the perfect spot to come for lunch or dinner during any season, and is quite the relaxing escape from the loud and bustling neighborhood in which it calls home. The large windows provided for lots of natural light in the reatsuarant, and the minimalist tables and decor had me giddy at the thought of photographing food in the space.
The menu offers a variety of breakfast favorites, sucha as pancakes and bagels and lox, as well as more adventurous dishes, like the duck hash, and brioche French toast. The menu also has lunch items such as salads and sandwiches, as well.
After undergoing some recent menu and staff changes, Cafe Robey has aimed to put more colorful items on the menu, as to execute both pretty and delicious dishes. Spoiler alert: The restaurant has achieved success in that area.
Once we settled in at one of the four-person tables situated along the wall with red leather booths, we began looking at the menu and racked our brains for what items we would ultimately decide on. The menu is the perfect balance of unique and exciting brunch offerings, as well as breakfast staples suitable for anyone. The menu is extensive by weekday breakfast standards, with lots of options to choose from, making our decisions quite difficult to come to.
After our servers third visit to our table, we were finally ready to order. Having already had three cups of coffee that morning, I stuck with water along with Julie. Bridget opted for green tea. I was in more of a lunch mood, so I decided on the breakfast salad. My salad was the perfect combination of breakfast and lunch, thanks to the soft boiled egg on top. Kale, walnuts, beets, goat cheese and a delicious citrus vinaigrette worked beautifully together. I must admit, that I was running my fingers across the plate upon finishing my salad; the vinaigrette was really good.
Julie, after much back and forth, decided to go with the lox and bagel, made with house-cured salmon, a cucumber slaw, and cream cheese. On the menu it sounds pretty standard, but upon arriving to the table you are presented with a work of art. Thick cuts of cured salmon are delicately placed in rolls on top of an everything bagel with cream cheese, with a mountain of cucumber slaw on top. She loved this dish, and was kind enough to share with Bridget and me. We agreed wholeheartedly.
After much deliberation, Bridget finally came to the decision that I had hoped should would. After having been eyeing the avocado toast, she decided to not only go for it, but order it with both the egg and the crab on top. I was so excited when it arrived to the table, it was beautiful! Again, the dish was full of vibrant colors.
Made with smashed avocado, pickled red onion, and espelette oil, the flavors worked perfectly together, and the colors did it justice. The bright green from the avocado paired with the purple pickled onions wonderfully, and red chili flakes added another pop of color. Not to mention the bright yellow sunny side up egg on top, with scattered green chives.
Now as a true Maryland gal (okay, I am from D.C., but when it comes to crabs I am Maryland all the way), I was pleased with how much crab meat was piled on top of the toast. Jumbo and lump pieces of crab were toppling over on the toast. Again, Bridget was kind enough to share a bite of her massive toast with us, and I can attest that it might have been one of the best avocado toasts that I have ever tasted,
One might think that the girls and I would be stuffed, and I’ll admit that we were. Still, we couldn’t resist ordering one short stack of pancakes for us to share. Hashtag no regrets. One single pancaked arrived to the table, with a perfect dollop of whipped butter on top, and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. The pancakes was light and perfectly fluffy. Again, it was something so minimal, but yet so delicious.
I was expecting to be underwhelmed by a single five dollar pancake, but truth be told, I would have paid ten dollars for this bad boy. It was so delicious. The butter was a little heavy, we had to scoop most of it off, but bite after bite the girls and I went for it, “ahhing” over how yummy it was.
Cafe Robey is perfect. I especially loved it because it serves weekday breakfast, but the menu is perfect for weekend brunch as well. I completely understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to this place. The hotel is very cool, and with a rooftop pool and bar; it is definitely a hot spot that everyone should check out. Cafe Robey is divine, and it deserves the praise I have given. Brunch was so well executed, and the food was both beautiful and delicious. I really admire all of the flavors that each of our dishes offered and I am looking forward to returning and trying the restaurant’s other menu offerings.
The Bitches Say: A+. Cafe Robey is a brunch-goers dream. Come here for weekday breakfast, or head over on Saturday or Sunday for weekend brunch and enjoy some of the restaurant’s cocktails. It’s the perfect place to take friends and show them how great you are at choosing a brunch spot; you will not be disappointed.
2018 W North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Cafe Robey serves brunch every day of the week from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.