There’s a certain decadence to brunch: cozy attire, late meals, and cocktails all add up to a feast of self-indulgence. But decadent, doesn’t have to be unhealthy!
In fact, with everything Chicago’s restaurant scene has to offer, brunch is the perfect opportunity to enjoy exquisitely-prepared dishes made with fresh, wholesome ingredients — if you know where to look. We rounded up the healthiest, most mouthwatering brunch spots in Chicago. Get ready to dig in!
With menu sections titled “Grains” and “Greens”, you know you’ve stumbled onto some healthy grub. When it comes to brunch, this California-inspired chain is all about acai bowls, buckwheat pancakes, and house-made smoothies to kick off your day with good-for-you ingredients such as coconut butter, spinach, and yams. Check them out in Lincoln Park, River North, and The Loop.
You may recognize Milk & Honey’s all-natural granola mixes from the grocery store, but trust us: it’s even better coming straight from the source. Their Wicker Park breakfast menu also offers up a variety of a more traditional morning entrees, but the stand-out item is simple and healthy: vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit, and house-made granola. Or, essentially, milk and honey — get it?
Loosen your belt buckles: you’re in for killer combos of breakfast items like steak and eggs, country benedicts and biscuits, and sausage gravy. Sounds like it will give you a heart attack? Here’s the catch: it’s all vegan and vegetarian. Chicago Diner’s flavorful, protein-rich, and locally-sourced meals defy stereotypes of bland, un-filling healthy dining, making it popular amongst both omnivores and vegetarians. Stop into one or two locations: one on Milwaukee Ave. in Logan Square and one on Halsted in Lincoln Park.
If you’ve not yet hit up Baker Miller in Lincoln Square, you’ve been missing out. The restaurant side of this local grain mill is whipping up amazing oatmeal, grain bowls, and grits. Since BM can also fulfill your cheat day cravings with biscuits, homemade butter, and jam, there’s really no reason to go anywhere else (well, besides all the other amazing places on this list).
Like in many other cities across the nation, this chic, healthy favorite has popped up in Chicago, bringing with it brunch options that will delight healthy vegans and carnivores alike. Based on the philosophy that “food should make you feel better, not worse”, True Food Kitchen is serving up everything from tea and smoothies to smashed avocado toast, quinoa-based banana pancakes (gluten-free lovers, this is your jam), and butternut squash pizza that you can pair with interesting cocktails.
There’s a reason Avec is always on the list of Chicago’s best restaurants, and, with its Mediterranean theme, it’s one of the healthiest Sunday brunches around. We’re crazy about the breakfast hummus, complete with the best pita you’ve ever had in your life. Want to judge for yourself? Get to the West Loop right at 10am.
You may know River Valley from the local farmers markets, where they sell unreal mushrooms, granola, and salsas. But their Ravenswood shop is also serving up unique brunch with fresh ingredients loaded with vegetables. Fried green tomatoes, avocado benedict, and beet salad are all up for grabs and, after brunch, you can grab some of that incredible granola to go.
Serving daily in a historic art deco building in Uptown, Tweet is an art-filled eatery that strives to serve antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and organic. With entire gluten-free and vegetarian menus, individuals with dietary restrictions can dig in to classic breakfast items such as gluten-free pancakes and healthy breakfast burritos. Oh, and the servings are HUGE. The beloved lox platter, for example, offers heaping portions of lox, expanses of fresh fruits and vegetables, a hard-boiled egg, and a bagel. Come hungry!
From the chia cereal bowl to the quinoa cakes with poached eggs, Beatrix provides healthy breakfast in a chic space. Friend wants boozy brunch, but you’re prepping for a marathon? Beatrix has you covered, with cocktails served up alongside delicious juices, like mango, orange, and pineapple nectar. With four locations, there’s no excuse not to stop in!
Celebrated as one of the forerunners of Chicago’s farm-to-table movement, this Logan Square eatery is trendy, inviting, and downright delicious. A favorite amongst everyone from sophisticated foodies to the neighborhood’s hip and hungover 20-somethings, Lula’s brunch crowd is always lively. It’s popular for a reason: diners will find casual yet finely-prepared fare cooked with healthy, locally-sourced ingredients. Looking for some über-healthy vegetarian eats? Check out Lula’s tofu and vegetable scramble, the breakfast burrito—which pairs avocado, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, organic eggs, and cheddar—or a very satisfying grain bowl.
Boasting the first certified-organic rooftop farm in the United States, you can be sure that everything you consume at Uncommon Ground’s two cafes will be made with the very freshest of ingredients. You’re also guaranteed plenty of savory-yet-nourishing brunch choices. We’re partial to the seasonal vegan veggie hash (chock-full of carrots, mushrooms, squash, and other good-for-you stuff), salmon and avocado toast, and organic Greek yogurt and granola — mmm!
The folks at Lincoln Park’s Blue Door Farm Stand believe the “season should dictate what’s on the table”, so the menu’s always changing, but you can be sure it will be fresh and delicious. Last we checked, you can indulge in Ava’s egg white omelette (a protein-packed serving of spinach, kale pesto, avocado, bacon, Swiss, havarti, green tomato relish, and mozzarella), whole wheat wraps stuffed with plenty of veggies, or, for those craving lunch, a veggie burger served with mixed greens.
**Updated by Nicole Briese, February 2019