Who doesn’t love a boozy brunch at an Irish pub? Not I! And let me tell you, the Sunday after Lollapalooza, that is just what the doctor ordered. My friend Ashley and I attended Lollapalooza together this year, and by Sunday we were in full on recovery mode. I was delighted when I got invited in to Kitty O’Sheas Restaurant in the Hilton Downtown, located right across the street from Grant Park on Michigan Avenue, where the festival was taking place. Ashley and I hadn’t decided whether we wanted to go to the festival on Sunday or not, and decided to make our decision over booze and brunch.
Kitty O’Sheas is one of Chicago’s oldest and most celebrated Irish pubs. They had recently launched a new brunch and it sounded delicious. The restaurant serves both traditional Irish fare as well as American fare. The brunch menu was a good mix of both, elevated and updated, I would say. The ambiance of the restaurant is comfortable and charming; just as you would expect from an old Irish pub, with warm oak finishes and a large bar. We opted to sit on the outside patio where, along with other Lolla-goers, we could enjoy the sounds of the festival just a stones throw away.
Ashley and I started with mimosas; some bubbly always can cure a minor headache from raging to live music the night before, right? At least that is what we told ourselves. Plus, they were bottomless for $19, so it was a steal. Absolutely starving, we decided to order, well, a lot. First up, an avocado toast and the restaurant’s award winning mac and cheese, though we were also tempted by the almond whiskey buns!
The avocado toast came served with shaved radishes, petite greens, pickled veggies, and we decided to add a hard boiled egg on top. It was really good; the perfect avocado to toast ratio, and the toppings complemented the toast perfectly.
The mac and cheese, well simply put, it was amazing. Like drool-all-over-the-place delicious. Cheesy macaroni noodles mixed with short rib and corn bread, topped with salted caramel and crispy Tabasco onions. Salted caramel? I don’t even understand how this is possible to have in a mac and cheese, but let me tell you firsthand, it worked, honey. Ashley and I couldn’t stop eating this delicious mac and cheese, despite knowing that we had other dishes to eat shortly, too.
A few other dishes came out next; one was the strata, made with goat cheese, squash and zucchini, and then the fried chicken and cornbread pancakes. The strata was light and tasted healthy, so to speak. It came topped with a fried egg, which I didn’t think was necessary, but it didn’t take away from the dish. Also, in traditional Irish fashion, it was served with a side of sausage bangers, which were yummy.
The fried chicken and cornbread pancakes were great as well. The pancakes were super light and fluffy, and the presentation of the dish was awesome; fried chicken was placed on a skewer in the middle of the pancakes, towering over the stack below them, with fresh blueberries and powdered sugar as well. By far these were some of the best chicken-and-pancakes or waffles I have had this year.
Stuffed, we couldn’t imagine ordering anything else. As I took photos of our food, the surrounding teenagers at tables, dining before heading to the festival, looked at us in awe; they were amazed at how much food two girls put down, and also were staring as I stood up on my chair in the middle of the patio to take pictures. Classic Bitch problems.
Despite being full, the general manager insisted we try one last dish, and we couldn’t say no to her. Plus, our server assured us it was one of the most photogenic items on the menu, so there was no turning back. Out came the Oreo-crusted French toast, topped with a cream sauce and whipped butter, and a crusted, chocolate covered Oreo. I must say that while this dish wasn’t actually the most aesthetically pleasing dish, as I had hoped, it was still awesome. The crust was crispy, and the French toast was tasty. It was definitely a sweet finish to our meal; it could have been a dessert, honestly. Although we couldn’t finish it, I was impressed and pleased with how well Ashley and I had done devouring brunch. I’ve clearly had a lot of practice.
Additionally, The Hilton is a super historic building in Chicago. Walking through the halls en route to the restaurant, you can read about the history of the hotel; which movies were filmed there (“Home Alone,” “The Fugitive,” and my personal favorite, “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” to name a few!), which presidents have stayed there (answer: every president since 1927), and other famous guests the hotel has hosted. Kitty O’Sheas embodies the antiquity of the hotel. It’s a spot perfect for guests staying at the hotel to dine, a place where regulars come to gather, and a watering hole with lots of history, where you can just get day drunk and dine for a boozy weekend brunch.
The Bitches Say: A. This spot is the perfect place to brunch for folks visiting Chicago and staying downtown, or who are looking to explore the Loop and need a place to brunch, and brunch hard. This place will definitely make our Lollapalooza Brunch Guide next year.
Kitty O’Sheas serves brunch every weekend beginning at 11 a.m.