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The Chicago Traveler

Champions of Breakfast

by Matt B on June 4th, 2007

Ah, breakfast. The most important deal of the day should be incredibly tasty too, right? I’m a horrible morning person, but a warm cup of coffee and a good breakfast will kick me out of my grumpy funk in no time. Whether you’re a cheery morning person or not, we all enjoy a good meal to start off our day. If you agree, then you may find it difficult to pass up The Original Pancake House.

pancake house

The Gold Coast settlement of this old-school chain is a neighborhood favorite with a faithful following who, of course, love pancakes. The long lines that form outside the white building (with a blue door, blue fence, and crisscross windows) on the weekends are indicative of the delicious variety of pancakes, waffles, omelets, and crepes that are served up. Since 1976, this location has offered classic, flavorful pancakes, made from their homemade batter with a sourdough base. Pancakes come in all kinds of flavors, but the signature dishes are not to be missed. One of the most popular is the apple-and-cinnamon pancake, and while it may take a while to prepare, that’s because this German breakfast is oven-baked, and you’ll probably find it big enough to share with a friend. You’ll probably find me behind a stack of chocolate-chip-banana flapjacks though. Mmm…

In the Ukrainian Village and just down the street from Goldilocks and Gremlins, Milk & Honey Caf' has a bit of an “indie” feel to it. Completely casual, there is no table service here. Customers place their orders at the counter for items like orange brioche French toast, smoked salmon on a toasted bagel, and an egg, bacon, tomato, and cheddar panini. Their homemade granola has actually become so popular, it is now packaged and sold in 40 different stores across the city. The lunch menu is always fresh and new, including several salads and sandwiches. There are also plenty of vegetarian options and sweets available. The outdoor seating is charming, and during the cold winter months, you can enjoy your meal next to the fireplace indoors.

Did you know that the pizza puff was invented here in Chicago? They are produced at Iltaco Foods in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Now, while I don’t think I’d ever have a pizza puff for breakfast, there is an adorable house with pink awnings just across the street from Iltaco called The Breakfast Club. The owner of Iltaco decided the neighborhood needed a breakfast place, so she opened this comfy, cozy restaurant that’s hard to miss. Not only are the awnings pink, but the walls inside are pink also! Everything from the blueberry pancakes to the hash browns to the biscuits and gravy is made from scratch. You can even try a breakfast cocktail like a mimosa or cranberry sunrise. The space is homey and small, so tables and customers are packed in tightly. The restaurant gets pretty busy during the peak breakfast hours, so arrive early to secure a seat.

When Kim Dalton and William Kasser decided to open their own eatery, they named it after their loved ones. Both of them coincidentally had a relative nicknamed “Dodo.” Featuring all kinds of paintings and sculptures of the extinct bird, this kitschy, cozy place only seats about 25 people, serving breakfast all day, including traditional eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, a fluffy herb omelet, and a unique Japanese pancake with okonomiyaki sauce. Dodo also serves lunch and, on weekends, “breakunch,” the restaurant’s version of brunch. The small restaurant has also just started serving dinner as well. Bring your cash though; credit cards are not accepted. Once you’ve finished your meal, you can actually stroll over to the attached gallery and check out the work of local artists.

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) rhosoi

The Original Pancake House ($): 22 E Bellevue Pl; 312-642-7917
Mon - Fri: 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Sat - Sun: 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Street parking difficult; pay lot available
Public Trans: Bus # 36, 70, 151 or Red Line train (Clark/Division)

Milk & Honey Caf' ($): 1920 W Division St; 773-395-9434
Mon - Fri: 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sat: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sun: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Street parking available
Public Trans: Bus # 9, X9, 50, 56, 70 or Blue Line train (Division)

The Breakfast Club ($): 1381 W Hubbard St; 312-666-2372
Mon - Fri: 6:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Sat - Sun: 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Street parking available
Public Trans: Bus # 9, X9, 65 or Green/Pink Line train (Ashland)

Dodo ($): 935 N Damen Ave; 773-772-DODO (3636)
Mon - Fri: 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sat - Sun: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Street parking difficult
Public Trans: Bus # 50, 66, 70

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POSTED IN: Restaurants

7 opinions for Champions of Breakfast

  • Food in June
    Jun 7, 2007 at 2:00 am

    […] at The Chicago Traveler makes us hungry with his report on champions of breakfast in […]

  • Willow
    Aug 31, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    […] in Ukrainian Village (just down the street from Dodo) was made just for those people. The hip and traditional come together to create a style all its […]

  • Renegade Handmade
    Jan 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    […] the work of over 100 artists both local and international, this Wicker Park store (next door to the Milk & Honey Caf') was created as an extension of the fair and carries a quirky collection of, well, everything. […]

  • Le Colonial
    Feb 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    […] but made it a bit more upscale in the Gold Coast surroundings (just two blocks south of the Original Pancake House). For starters, the banh uot (grilled sesame beef in flat rice noodles) is divine with its balance […]

  • Piccolo
    Feb 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    […] is a new Ukrainian Village corner restaurant (within a block of Willow, A.Vision, and Dodo) serving up perfectly-sized portions of paninis and gelato. A green window graphic invites patrons […]

  • Tavern on Rush
    Apr 9, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    […] the same intersection as The Original Pancake House, this two-story restaurant and lounge is impressive and upscale. While the establishment doesn't […]

  • Reza’s May Offer More than You Can Handle
    Jun 24, 2008 at 11:29 am

    […] I've mentioned in the past, I make for an awful morning person. Fortunately, just a few blocks from my apartment (and a block […]

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