Healthy Brunch Spots in Chicago You Have to Try
Brunch. That decadent space between breakfast and lunch where you’re not sure what you want to eat, and then magic happens: you have both.
You may dine alone, or lounge with the best of friends. There’s probably a fresh juice squeezed on its way to your table (often paired with bubbles). Its exclusivity for the weekend makes this meal a coveted event throughout the week and generally lasts longer than any other average meal.
On my most recent trip to Chicago, I was honored to be escorted to the city’s best places by luxury hospitality expert, Andrew Keller of Four Star Dining (@FourStarDining1).
Needless to say, I was not disappointed with the brunch hopping and healthful options that awaited at each place. Yes, brunch can be filled with sweet standards like pancakes and french toast. However, with a meal as important as brunch, pulling from an exclusive menu that offers food that will fuel your weekend is a must. Brunch is a fine place to have the conversation about quality and quantity so here we go.
When it comes to your personal goals, how your body changes or maintains a physique comes down to the quality and the quantity of the food you consume. America loves to supersize its portions and fill those servings with ingredients that, instead of adding value to our health, take it away.
It is ok to enjoy the finer treats in life while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, just be aware of just how much you need vs how much you want.
Now that you know you really can have it all once moderation is considered, try not to drool on your keyboard as I share the stories of my two favorite healthy brunch spots in the Windy City.
One step inside Eataly and it felt like home. The words “Eat Better. Live Better.” painted above the doors of this two story Italian wonderland preach my health-foodie mission and contain some of the finest offerings any hungry person could ask for.
What I loved about Eataly for brunch has little to do with standard fare (like eggs), and everything to do with options. Set up with several restaurants, bars, deli counters and markets within, you truly feel as if you’ve tapped into a portal to Italy as you become one with your inner Italian. After several minutes weighing my options, I opted for a charcuterie platter with several cured meats and handmade cheeses.
It was paired with freshly baked bread and an assortment of accouterments that included: honey soaked almonds, apricot marmalade and spicy pecans dripping in a decadent sweet syrup.
As expected, every bite was finer than the last. I sat and talked and watched a woman making fresh burrata behind the counter as I sampled every concoction imaginable from my offerings. Just enough of the best quality ingredients sends your brunch pallet soaring in this warm, well executed Italian market. When you’re finished dining, stop by the deli counter and take some of love home with you.
The next day, we arrived at my number one favorite brunch spot in Chicago just before the rush of hungry weekenders encroached. Beatrix is located in the heart of River North and offers a spin on classic brunch dishes with healthy, fresh, elevated ingredients.
Before we dive into the menu, what would you like to drink? They are known for their bulletproof coffee, a personal favorite, with whipped grass fed butter, MCT oil, and of course perfectly brewed coffee for unleveled focus and sustained energy, however, I opted for a fresh Power Greens juice with kale, romaine, celery, pineapple, and mint.
As for their fare, John Chiakulas, Rita Dever and Susan Weaver breathe new life into brunch classics like eggs benedict where they’ve replace the English muffin for avocado. What would regularly be boring white toast with jam, they offer a decadent side dish, the Raspberry Ricotta Toast. A toasty piece of wholesome grain bread spread thick with fresh ricotta and muddled raspberries that have been married with agave and fresh herbs.
I was running out of room to try more but had to finish with a few bites of the quinoa cakes, and while it wasn’t what I had expected, it was beyond fantastic. It was reminiscent of a polenta cake topped with poached eggs and fresh herbs served alongside a delicious sun-dried tomato sauce. This modern gem was truly a favorite of this trip and I look forward to returning to taste from all of the menus at Beatrix, Chicago.
PS: While I ran out of time to try them all, Kingsbury Cafe, Tweet, and Bite Cafe are on my list to check out for my next foodie-frolick in Chicago. Comment if you love brunch and tell me about your favorite places in your city!
Lauren Rae is a professional fitness talent, speaker, writer and consultant in Dallas, Texas. As a fitness chef she creates unique recipes with elevated ingredients that promote a lean physique, wellness and balance within the body. Lauren Rae is also a trained vocalist and has been featured in the music, food and fitness industries on the Food Network and in publications like Ironman and TRAIN Magazine.