Midwest

Brunch – Chicago, IL

As stated on the page THE BEST OF THE BEST the best brunch restaurant is aptly named “Brunch” because there is nothing left to say.  This restaurant epitomizes everything you think of when you think of brunch.  It has everything you need for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.  The food is just well cooked goodness that is better than anything you’ll ever make af home.  Their creative Chicken and Waffle Bites are initially what won me over, then I had the Challah French Toast, and then the Pancakes.  I have now come to realize that Brunch can really do no wrong.  Nothing they make is bad.  The service is excellent.  They even have a rewards club that is perfect.  It’s not free but it immediately pays you back.

If you haven’t noticed I love everything about this place.  I love the plates, the mugs, the shirts they wear, and everything else.  The restaurant is in the “Mecca”of food, the greatest city the land, Chicago, and takes the reins as the best of the best.

 

 

Lou Mitchell’s – Chicago, IL

Located in downtown Chicago at the start of the most famous road in the United States of America, Route 66, Lou Mitchell’s is one of the most famous restaurants in Chicago.  Movies have had scenes there, actors and politicians have to eat there, and the residents revere it.  The restaurant almost always have lines outside, but the lines move quickly.  It is a small, but packed restaurant with amazing service and amazing food.

As far as rankings, Lou Mitchell’s is a close second.  It was a difficult decisions making this number two but it is not quite ahead of Brunch.  It is almost equal to Brunch.  It is addictive and immediately has an effect on your body.  Once you eat here you are going straight to sleep.  This place is soooo good.  It takes you to your happy place and makes you want to go and take a nap.  They make their own pure maple syrup and bread in house.  The food is seasoned to perfection.  The French Toast are the best I have ever had.  The potatoes and pancakes are second to none.  They can do no wrong when it comes to food.  They give you doughnut holes and Milk Duds when you walk in and ice cream when you leave.  So how is Lou Mitchell’s number two?  Chicken and Waffle bites…they don’t have them, thus they’re number two.

 

 

Eleven City Diner – Chicago, IL

The third best restaurant in Chicago, and fourth best overall, after Perry’s in San Francisco, is Eleven City Diner.  Eleven City Diner is located in the South Loop.  It is a Jewish Restaurant that sells breakfast all day.  It is popular for its brunch.  The restaurant is not kosher but it has many popular Jewish dishes.  Their food is fantastic.  The food makes you want to try other foods.  This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city so it is where I take all my guests, along with Lou Mitchell’s.

 I discovered Eleven City Diner when I could not get into the restaurant Yolk, which is located one street over.  Yolk is a very famous restaurant in the city for tourists but the locals all know it’s not good.  I eventually got in a few weeks later and it isn’t.  I am so glad I discovered it.  I have been eating here ever since.  The Challah French Toast is made using traditional braided Challah.  Pancakes, eggs, and potatoes are amazing.  I hear the latke is good.  Some of my guests have ordered it and loved it.  I always eat the French Toast.  The portion sizes are reasonable.  The place is outstanding and I highly recommend it.  It even has a relatively cheap lot next door.

 

 

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe – Chicago, IL

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe is the hottest breakfast ticket in town.  Be prepared to wait two hours on the weekend.  It is conveniently located across from “The Bean” and near the Chicago Art Institute.  It is just down from the Magnificent Mile.  You can easily find things to do while you wait.  When you do get in you will find the food good, very good.  If you haven’t been to Brunch, Lou Mitchell’s, or Eleven City Diner you will think that it is as good as it gets in Chicagoland.  The food is great!  It is so good.  I’ve been there a few times now but it is not as good as the others above it.  However I must state that the French Toast is outstanding and the pancakes are too.  They have every type of French Toast and pancakes you can think of, including Red Velvet, and many with berries.  The place is very popular for good reason.  I will be back soon.

 

 

Batter and Berries – Chicago, IL

Batter and Berries is a really popular newish place on the north side of Chicago.  The restaurant was founded by a doctor in the city who, along with her husband, had a unique concept of having a restaurant that focused on foods served with fruit.  All of their foods made not the griddle have a fruit in the batter either caramel, lemon, strawberries, or blueberries.  They have something called “French Toast Flights” and not when you purchase of flight your an get a slice of Lemon French Toast, Blueberry French Toast, Strawberry French Toast, and Caramel French Toast.  They also have the caramel apple waffle, blueberry waffle, and a blueberry waffle.  They sell Chicken and Waffles with a sweet potato waffle.  My personal favorite was not from the griddle but the oven.  I purchased the “Cluck and Gravy” which is biscuits and gravy made with a chicken sausage gravy.  The “Cluck and Gravy” was fantastic, it was simply wonderful.

While I really liked Batter and Berries, I was disappointed in the foods made not he griddle.  They do not have a standard pancake, waffle, or French Toast.  I am a weirdo who does not like berries on my breakfast foods, thus I wanted a standard slice of French Toast.  I tried the caramel apple waffle but the caramel was too strong.  The Lemon Pancakes were like eating a lemon cookie.  My husband loved the pancakes.  I wanted to try the Chicken and Waffles but a sweet potato allergy eliminated that option for me.  I would prefer to have the option eating traditional food while dining at the restaurant.

While I do have my issues with the restaurant, I cannot say that they will keep me away.  The “Cluck and Gravy” was easily the best biscuits and gravy I have had in my life.  It was better than the Denver Biscuit Company, which was also delicious.  I have been dreaming about those biscuits since I left and I cannot wait to go back.

 

 

Hash House a Go Go – Chicago, IL

Hash House a Go Go is a restaurant listed three times on this website.  It is listed three times because it is very good and very different in each restaurant.  The Chicago location is very good.  The portion sizes are still huge but smaller than Orlando, and bigger than San Diego.  The food is cooked better in Chicago, meaning the waffles taste similar but are melt in you mouth good, and not gummy.  The biscuits are also fluffier.   The honey was not as good as in Orlando.  I assume that Florida has sweeter bees, thus better honey.  🙂  I digress…  However, the flavors are better in Chicago, maybe due to the wide variety of local options in Chicago.

As stated on the other pages, Hash House a Go Go has very good Chicken and Waffles.  However, being a Chicagoan, I will not go here simply for great chicken and waffles.  I go there for the experience.  There are better Chicken and Waffles in Chicago, like at Maggianos or Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles.  The pancakes are also good.  The portion sizes are humongous.  The biscuits are good, but not as good as the “Little Goat.”  The restaurant is good but the ambiance and experience is why you go here, if you are in Chicago.  If you are in some other cities it is likely one of the best places in the city.

 

 

Little Goat Diner – Chicago, IL

“Little Goat Diner” is a great restaurant located it the West Loop near downtown Chicago.  The restaurant serves breakfast all day and some of the best biscuits in Chicago.  The restaurant is fantastic.  I have tried a few of their items.  The shrimp and grits is my favorite.  I have ordered them multiple times and never had a bad experience.  The also have a “Bulls Eye French Toast” which is French Toast with a runny egg in the center served with fried chicken tenders and berries and a  BBQ maple syrup.  It sounds weird but it is fantastic.  I do not even like runny eggs and I liked this meal.  I did not take a picture of it but when I go back and order it again I will post a picture.  The meal is fantastic.  The fried chicken is also fantastic.  My husband orders the burgers and he absolutely loves them.

The restaurant is a sister restaurant to Girl and the Goat located across the street.  It is the less serious, more family friendly, little sister of the Girl and the Goat.  It has a cool vibe and a menu that makes you want to try something different every time.  I have ordered many items on the menu and I often find something I like and stick with it.  I highly recommend this restaurant.  It is one of my favorites and another place I take friends and family when they come to visit.  By the way, my father says that the sausage, made in house, is the best sausage he has ever had and he knows sausage.  He wants to go back just for the sausage.

 

 

Original Pancake House – Orland Park, IL & South Bend, IN

There are many Original Pancake Houses across the country.   The Original Pancake Houses around the country are not all equal.  Many are good, some are bad, and a couple are fantastic.  The menus are pretty much the same but there are some variations, such as they type of bread used in the French Toast, the amount of vanilla flavoring used, and also the sausage varies.  Most do not provide hard boiled eggs, even when asked, but some will.  The menus vary.  All have the apple and German pancakes.  All have the breakfast staples, such as waffles, pancakes, omelets, biscuits, and French Toast.

This post is not about all of the Original Pancake House locations, however if is only about the Orland Park , IL and South Bend, IN locations.  I live within 5 miles of two Orignal Pancake Houses and they are not equal.  One stays packed, the other one, not so much.  The Orland Park, IL location is simply phenomenal.  Whenever my family comes to town they must eat there at least once, usually 2-3 times per 4 day trip.  At this location the French Toast is made with sourdough, wheat, or whole grain bread.  The bread is thinly sliced and truly fantastic.  The waffles are just like the standard Belgian waffle, its just better in every way.  The pancakes are the most addictive pancakes on earth.  I have never had a better pancake and likely never will.

The South Bend, IN location used to be Biblers, but when it was Bibler’s it was a still an Original Pancake House location, at least since I have been going there since the very early 2000s.  The French Toast is made of thick Texas Toast and is phenomenal.  The French Toast is so good that I have never ordered anything else.  However, the line is always out the door, so everything else is simply amazing.  If you are in South Bend you have no where else to eat but to go to the Original Pancake House.  If it is a Notre Dame game day, get ready to wait for a long time.  It will be well worth the wait.

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Maggiano’s Little Italy – Chicago, IL (and many other locations)

Maggiano’s Little Italy is a chain, I know.  However, the brunch is not very popular, but its is very good.  They have traditional breakfast and brunch foods.  They claim to have an Italian spin on the brunch, but it is not very Italian, but they do use some Italian spices.  Despite the fact that it is not very Italian, it is very good.  It is simply fantastic.  We visit Maggiano’s for brunch about once per month.

I love their Chicken and Waffles.  They use a spicy syrup, however I always use regular syrup.  They also top it with whipped cream and berries.  The pancake are also particularly good.  My husband loves the bacon and eggs.  I personally like the fact that you can alter the Chicken and Waffles to your liking.  I had mine with the lighter take chicken last time and it was still quite good.  No matter how they cook the food, they will always make it fantastic.

 

 

Wishbone – Chicago, IL

Wishbone is a restaurant located in the West Loop of Chicago.  The restaurant is very popular.  The menu is vast and very good.   It is one of the more popular restaurants in the city.  The prices are very reasonable and the food is disproportionately good relative to the prices.  The food is very good.  They restaurant calls itself a restaurant with southern comfort food.  Wishbone has a number of Cajun classics such as shrimp and grits, jambalaya omelets, and Chicken andouille sausage.

The restaurant serves  breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  All are popular but I can only speak of brunch and breakfast and I can attest that the food is good.  The restaurant has good pancakes and French toast.  I have yet to try the Chicken and Waffles.  The biscuits, potatoes, eggs, and bacon are very good.  Upon my next visit I will try the shrimp and grits and the Chicken and Waffles.  I will update the website as soon as I return.

 

First Watch – Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis, and various other locations

First Watch may be the most consistent restaurant in the nation.  The food is consistently outstanding.  The restaurant is located in many locations in the Midwest.  I have been to a few Ohio locations.  I go there whenever I visit Ohio which is many times per year.  The restaurant is delicious.  They offer pure maple syrup, for a rather generous fee, as well as kitchen syrup.  Personally, I love pure maple syrup, thus I order it anyway.

The waffles are fantastic, not Original Pancake House good but still very good.  The French Toast are fantastic as well.  The whole grain French Toast is considerably better than the sourdough French Toast, but both are quite good.  My husband loves the bacon and eggs.  The service is not as consistent as the food, however.  The Columbus location has much better service than the Cincinnati locations that I have visited (Norwood and Covington, KY).  Despite the bad service I will still be back to one of the Cincinnati locations upon my next visit.

 

 

Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles – Chicago & Oak Park, IL

Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles has two locations in the Chicago area.  One location is located on the Southside in Bronzeville and the other location is located just outside of the west side in the suburb of Oak Park.  The restaurant is Chicago’s better take on Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.  Both restaurants are very good, however Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles has the edge.   The restaurants have very similar menus.

The chicken livers are probably my favorite.  You can get chicken and waffles at many restaurants in many cities these days but you can’t get chicken livers anywhere.  They give you a ridiculous portion, as does Roscoe’s, but they are soooo good.  The gravy is also fantastic.  The chicken and waffles are also very good.  The biscuits are okay, not the best I’ve ever had and I will likely never order them again.  Since I don’t go to Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles for biscuits, the restaurant is still fantastic.  They have a number of other items like burgers, salmon, catfish, greens, cornbread, and many other southern foods.  The food is all good.  I highly recommend Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles.

 

Chicago q – Chicago, IL

Chicago q is a great restaurant located in the Gold Coast region of Chicago, around the corner from another restaurant mentioned below, Blue Door Kitchen and Farmstand.  Chicago q is owned by the living chef legend, Art Smith.  I’ve long loved this restaurant for the amazing dinners (the best mashed potatoes money can buy).  The food is simply amazing.  Everything you eat is great.  The chicken and waffles may be some of the best on earth, definitely the best in Chicago and the US.  The food is second to none (if only they had chicken and waffle bites).  

We purchased the Chicken and Waffles, Waffle, Biscuits and Gravy, Eggs, and Bacon.  We also had a pulled chicken kids meal.  All were fantastic.  We truly enjoyed everything we had.  The Chicken and Waffles have a fantastic fried chicken wings, legs, thigh, and breast.  The biscuits are made with a very spicy jalapeño or something with a hit of cheese, maybe its pimento cheese, whatever it is it is fantastic.  I do not have the words to describe the greatness of these meals.  There was nothing that wasn’t amazing.  On a previous trip I had the shrimp and grits and they too were simply amazing.  Chicago q is one of the great gems of the city.  You should visit it for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.

Taste of Belgium – Cincinnati, OH

Taste of Belgium is supposed to be an authentic Belgian restaurant but it is just a waffle place in Ohio that serves a mix of items that it does not do very well.  I ordered the Chicken and Waffles and a regular waffle.  The waffles were hard and dry.  The chicken was dry and very poorly seasoned.  I was staying around the corner so I decided to try it and I was very disappointed.  

I did return, however, because while they call themselves a Belgian restaurant it is just a breakfast place.  They also serve traditional dishes and salads for lunch and dinner.  I saw that they had a chicken biscuit and gravy so I had to give them a second chance.  The chicken biscuit and gravy was fantastic!  The chicken was spicy and totally different from the pathetic one they put on the chicken and waffles.  The gravy was amazing and the biscuit was good.  I decided to try another waffle to see if I went on a bad day, however it was just as sad and dry as the day before.  So I recommend the chicken biscuit and gravy only.

Blue Door Kitchen and Farmstand – Chicago, IL

Blue Door Kitchen and Farmstand is a restaurant located in the Gold Coast area of Chicago, IL.  The restaurant another one is owned by the great Art Smith.  The restaurant is a farm to table restaurant featuring interesting takes on many southern dishes.  The biscuits are phenomenal.  The Shrimp and Grits are also very good.  They are known for their Chicken and Waffles, which are served with a rosemary maple syrup.  I believe the fried chicken is the second best I’ve ever had in my life, second only to my great mother.  The waffles are also very good.  I am not, however, a fan of the rosemary maple syrup.  The rosemary is too overpowering.  They also serve a mean biscuits and gravy.  I highly recommend pretty much everything here.  I would just recommend using minimal syrup so it will not be as overpowering.

Chicago Waffles – Chicago, IL

Chicago Waffles is a cute little restaurant located on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL.  The restaurant makes many different types of waffles and other breakfast items.  However, the only thing really good is waffle.  The waffle is fantastic.  I do not know how they managed to make terrible breakfast food otherwise, and such a good waffle.  The chicken is pretty good too.  I wanted the French toast but the waitress steered me away from that direction. 

We ordered the chicken tenders and waffle fries for my son and the potatoes, bacon, eggs, and toast for my husband.  The only good item was the waffle.  Some kind of way they managed to ruin the eggs and bacon and the potatoes were nothing to write home about, so what did we do, we ordered another waffle.  The waffle was so good I would go back for it and order nothing else.  I highly recommend the waffle at Chicago Waffle, but maybe not anything else.  According to my two year old, the waffle quality could not be transferred to the waffle fries.

The White Sheep – Orland Park, IL

The White Sheep is a Chicagoland breakfast and brunch restaurant located in the southwest suburb of Orland Park.  Orland Park is a cute little village that has been long waiting for another breakfast location.  The Original Pancake House is a terrific establishment located down the street, however the vibe is totally different.  The White Sheep is more of a restaurant that you would expect to find downtown.  It is very modern, as opposed to the traditional feel of the Original Pancake House.   The restaurant has modern decorations, it is very clean and chic.  The food is also very modern with things that most millennials crave like Chicken and Waffles and Avocado Toast, neither of which can be found at the Original Pancake House.

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The White Sheep is a fantastic restaurant.  I believe I will be there again, and again.  I love this restaurant.  The Chicken And Waffles are made with a cornbread waffle that is topped with a pickle.  I personally do not like pickles so I did not get that on my waffles.  However, the chicken is beautifully cooked and super moist.  The chicken could be seasoned a little more, but it was still very good.  These chicken and waffles are probably the second best in Chicago, second only to Chicago q.  I loved them so much I will likely see them in my dreams.   The Chicken and Waffles are served with a side, so since I have a toddler, I ordered French fries and gave them to him.  He also ate bacon, and they were gone quickly.  My son said they are really good.  My husband ordered the pancakes, eggs, and sausage.  He said the pancakes are the best pancakes he has ever had, and that’s saying something because we eat at Brunch!  The pancakes were amazing.  The eggs were apparently so good they were gone before I could picture them.  The sausage was also amazingly fantastic.  The restaurant is the bomb digity.  I cannot wait to return.

I have returned, many times, and I purchased the French Toast and they are AMAZING, they are a tad sweet but not too sweet (other than syrup I do not like sweets) but they’re perfect for me.  I truly love this restaurant.  They even serve hard boiled eggs so I am totally hooked.  I think I will return tomorrow.

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White Sheep French Toast

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