A brunching guide to Chicago and beyond



Hanabusa, a perfect brunch location in the Loop that focuses on Japanese cuisine, displays their picturesque souffle pancakes with seasonal fruit

Over the past two years, we’ve become tired of going to the same dull restaurant locations with our friends. Although you can never truly go wrong with pancakes, we cannot bear walking into Walker Bros again, let alone having to face the obnoxiously long line. So, in this article we have compiled a list of unique and creative brunch locations in the North Shore and Chicago, varying in price, cuisine, and ambiance. Sure, everyone keeps their go-to reliable restaurant in their back pocket, but we know we are not the only ones looking to bring some more spice into our Saturday mornings. 


Acai bowl

Goddess and the Baker: $$

Goddess and the Baker is a brunch chain with several locations throughout Chicago and one outside  Milwaukee. This bakery has more trendy brunch foods, as well as sandwiches, wraps, and salads. They serve breakfast all day, and have chia rice pudding jars, yogurt parfaits, avocado toast, and breakfast burritos. They also serve acai and protein bowls, which have become staple foods for many people. 

What stuck out to us, however, are the latte and mocha flavors they offer. Caramel cookie butter latte and black raspberry cardamom mocha are two menu items we are looking forward to trying in the future. Their main attractions, however, are the fresh bakery items they serve. Sweet and savory croissants, muffins, cakes and cookies are among the most popular menu items they have. The plant-filled atmosphere gives a sharp contrast to plantless Chicago, and provides the perfect people-watching atmosphere while enjoying a salted caramel latte and almond croissant.


Hanabusa: $$

Hanabusa is a perfect brunch location in the Loop that focuses on Japanese cuisine. Their food and drinks are picturesque.  Hanabusa is known for their variety of Soufflé Pancake flavors, including Matcha, Nutella, Mocha, and Custard, all served with seasonal fruit. Although the pancakes take around 20 minutes each to be served, the drinks and appetizers make up for the time.

Matcha bear latte from Hanabusa
Souffle pancakes from Hanabusa

They offer handcrafted sparkling drinks like mango, strawberry, peach and pineapple. They also offer many types of hot and cold teas, like fresh fruit tea, cheese fruit tea (cold tea topped with a foam layer of milk and cream cheese), and classic teas, so there is something for everyone. We also got 2 “small bites” — takoyaki, which is a dough ball stuffed with octopus, and furikake fries, which are thin fries topped with seaweed flakes.

The space itself is small, but we had no problem fitting 6 people at a table. This Chicago brunch location is perfect for a trip into the city, or if you just really love taking photos of your food.


Bananas Foster French Toast

Green Bay Cafe: $

Green Bay Cafe is an exceptional brunch spot located here in Winnetka. Their menu consists of comfort breakfast foods along with various twists on classic home style classics. 

Green Bay cafe is home to some of the the best homemade pancakes and french toast which are made from scratch daily like their fresh blueberry pancakes, candy pancakes and banana foster french toast. Although the cafe is best known for their sweet breakfast options and baked goods, their broad menu also includes unique savory options, often with a Mexican inspired twist. The rico tacos are a perfect example, made with three scrambled eggs, chihuahua cheese, chorizo, and homemade salsa verde, all wrapped up in a warm corn tortilla. 

Their fresh squeezed orange juice is unmatched yet the hot chocolate with sprinkles and whipped cream is a winter season must.  Their sandwich selection also varies, ranging from a classic BLT to “The Milly”, a sandwich made with chicken milanesa and avocado. This affordable brunch destination has a cozy and rustic ambiance, and the small size of the building adds to the comforting and intimate environment. 


Food served at Guildhall

Guildhall: $$$

Guildhall is a beautifully designed brunch location that sits on Vernon Avenue in Glencoe. Their brunch menu ranges from familiar favorites, like their avocado toast, to creatively crafted dishes like their orange cardamom braid. 

Guildhall is commonly used for private parties, but its inviting environment is just as perfect for a spontaneous Saturday afternoon. 

Guildhall has an outstanding benedict served with maple-braised pork belly, melted cherry tomatoes and home fries. If you are looking for something for a sweet-tooth fix, try their Belgian waffle with raspberry preserve, whipped creme fraiche and your choice of chocolate or vanilla batter. Their organic cold pressed juices work as a great pick me up. Made with pear, grapefruit, ginger, lemon and cinnamon, the Harvest Moon is a great drink to accompany a bagel and lox. The ambiance is warm and friendly, but also is designed uniquely with blue-stained glass.