By Zachary Wright
Editor in chief
Finding the perfect brunch spot without breaking the bank should be a college course. Late morning brunch sessions with friends is a weekend ritual. While not everyone wants to participate in the most basic Millennial experience, it is nice to treat yourself to something hearty like a full breakfast prepared by some of the best chefs in the city.
Of course, splurging on breakfast or brunch can be costly, especially when our campus is surrounded by some world class restaurants. Not everyone can afford that. Here’s the Torch’s guide to some of the best brunch places that won’t wipe out your wallets.
1. Hutch American Café – 416 Ontario St.
This rustic but stylish restaurant sits just a few blocks southwest of the Chicago Brown Line stop in River North. But, don’t let the location fool you. As the name implies, Hutch specializes in American food. Chef Marc A. Wuenschel’s blended comfort food and comfortable surroundings, gives birth to the lovechild that is Hutch. The rustic, vintage setting is warm and inviting. The location is a few steps away from the hustle of River North, so you’re able to enjoy sweet breakfast pastries or savory selections in peace, adding a more intimate experience with friends or family. For $12 during brunch hours, you’re able to order bottomless mimosas. Hutch also offers daily deals and discounts. On Wednesdays, Hutch offers brunch for only half-price.
Average price (including drinks and a tip): $25
2. Atwood – 1 W. Washington St.
Priding itself on being “bold and inventive,” the Atwood is located near Macy’s and Block 37. It might be easy to second guess the Atwood. The lavish interior of marble tabletops and black leather chairs makes it seem like the Atwood would milk you dry, but the prices are pretty fair. Now, they are higher than most on this list, but you can’t beat the quality. The poached eggs are fluffy with a smooth, creamy yolk. The slices of ham are juicy and salty. The two sleep like an old married couple madly in love after 50 years on the English muffin mattress. Essentially, the classic dish of eggs benedict is so simple, but arguably a contender for one of the best in town. The chefs handle the dish with elegance, refining and perfecting simplicity by using bold flavor that can be difficult to incorporate into old classics.
Average price (including drinks and a tip): $30
3. BeeZzee Fresh Food – 424 S. Wabash Ave.
Good, cheap and just across the street, the little café of eclectic retro futuristic décor doesn’t just detox juices or rice bowls. They actually serve a variety of favorite brunch items such as omelets, crepes and pancakes. The omelet or breakfast burrito is the best option. It’s a simple option, but some restaurants just fumble making a breakfast burrito. BeeZzee gets it right every time. It’s packed with flavor and uses simple ingredients, sticking to their roots of simple ingredients. Every bite is a touchdown. The fruit smoothies are also tastefully made. It’s a certainly easy way to get your daily nutrients in a deliciously cheap way.
Average price (including drinks and a tip): $20
4. Meli Café – 500 S. Dearborn St.
Another restaurant close to campus, Meli Café offers breakfast classics and elegant drinks in opulent settings. Like The Atwood, the restaurant is tastefully decorated with marbles, eclectic lighting fixtures and high-vaulted ceilings. But the menu is fair for those looking to treat themselves with strong mimosas before their dreaded 2 p.m. class that goes on forever and ever. The menu is simple but wonderfully crafted. The pancakes are sweet but not overly so. They’re fluffy like a soft pillow, which you’ll want after because Meli Café offers a lot of food. And for you vegan and gluten-free dieters, Meli Café has its own vegan and gluten-free menu that includes pancakes, tofu dishes and toast.
Average price (including drinks and a tip): $20
5. The Bongo Room – 5022 N. Clark St.
Rivaling Ann Sathers for busiest brunch place in a small restaurant, the Bongo Room is worth the wait if you can bear the wait time. They might even rival Wildberry or Batter and Berries for best pancakes in town. Their pancakes are elevated to a whole new level. They’re creative and decadently sweet, but at the same time, they’re simple. Cooks at home go, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The options might overwhelm you at first, as you can order sweet pumpkin pancakes or caramel pretzel with a white chocolate sauce. Those not wanting to indulge are still able to find a great selection of savory dishes. The coffee is rich and hot, the food tastes amazing and the prices are cheap, so what more can you ask for?
Average price (including drinks and a tip): $20. Disclaimer: You can order a single pancake and it’ll drop the price even further.