Brunch and the Bunny: Easter in Chicago 2009

Easter is one of the most anticipated brunch events of the year, not only because it is one of three major spring brunch events (Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day), but as noted in the St. Patrick’s Day brunch guide and Phil Vettel’s latest musing, ye ol’ grand brunch buffets are a dying breed. Also, on a personal level, it gives this website some kind of purpose, which is always nice.

Photo from Lasvegasadventurer.com

Photo from Lasvegasadventurer.com

On that note, sorry for the noticeable hiatus. You know, it’s truly a wonder that anything gets done on this site. Being that 98% of restaurants are requiring a reservation for Easter this year, and also because I’m 100% L-A-T-E on putting up this guide, here is a minimal fluff guide to help you get hoppin’ on making a reservation for April. On that note, no more bunny puns. Ever.

$$$ – $50+

The Drake Chicago
Honestly, other than the location of each brunch buffet, the only noticeable difference in the Drake Bros.’ restaurant and The Gold Coast Room’s Easter brunch at The Drake is the location and the price. Either way, this classic hotel has been serving up some of the best (and pricey) Easter brunch buffet fare for years. Featuring a large selection of breakfast and lunch items, including a special buffet and entertainment for children. The Drake Room will host an Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Bunny, magician, movies and jazz entertainment for children attending Easter brunch in both the Drake Bros.’ restaurant and the Gold Coast Room.

Brunch at the Drake Bros.’ Restaurant is served 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the price for $75/adults; $35/children ages 6-12; children under 6/free. Brunch in The Gold Coast Room is served 9:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m., $80/adults; $40/children ages 6-12; children under 6/free. For more information, contact the Drake Bros.’ restaurant at 312.932.4615 or 312.932.4626. Reservations are available online at OpenTable. The Drake Chicago is located at 140 E. Walton in the Gold Coast.

The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago
Notably one of the finest hotel dining destinations in Chicago, The Peninsula does not disappoint with a grand Easter brunch buffet of traditional favorites, organic omelets, sushi, seafood and dessert stations. Likewise, the creme de la creme doesn’t run cheap: brunch is $110/adults; $30/children 12 and under. The Lobby at the Peninsula will be seating for brunch 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. The Lobby is located on the fifth floor of The Peninsula Chicago at 108 E. Superior St. Restaurant reservations can be made by calling 312.573.6695.

Sixteen
For those of us who have $115 lying around to spend on Easter brunch (i.e. not myself),  the Trump Chicago will be offering a good ol’ fashioned high end brunch with an Easter Egg Hunt on the terrace for children. Brunch is scheduled 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the price of $115/adult; $25/child 8 and under. To make a reservation, visit trumpchicago.com or call 877.458.7867. Sixteen is located within the Trump Chicago at 401 N. Wabash Ave. in River North.

NoMI
Perennial brunch favorite, NoMI, will be serving a Easter brunch buffet, featuring a selection of seasonal cold and hot specialty items with choice of entree. NoMI’s buffet runs a cool $110/pp; $30/children 6-12. NoMI is located on the seventh floor of the Park Hyatt Chicago on the Mag. Mile.

Spiaggia
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all know the Obamas love Spiaggia. And it’s never open for brunch, so mark this is one of a handful of times you can dine before noon here. Spiaggia will be serving a delicious and expensive three-course brunch for $65 and a four-course brunch for $95 dollars from 11:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m.  Spiaggia is located on the second floor of 980 N. Michigan Ave. To make a reservation, call 312.280.2750 or visit OpenTable. Jackets are required. This isn’t the Olive Garden, after all.

Cite
This Streeterville restaurant rests atop the 70th floor of Lake Point Tower, offering excellent views of the lake for a gourmet four-course Easter brunch, at the more affordable bougie price of $54/adult; $27/child. Brunch will be served 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Cite is located at 505 N Lake Shore Dr # 221 in Streeterville. For more information, call 312.644.4050.

Signature Room at the 95th
Not too shabby brunch buffet, featuring selections of slow roasted leg of lamb, seafood raw bar, homemade soups and salads, herb crusted wild bass, made-to-order omelets, buttermilk pancakes and so forth. And to make it a true family affair, the Easter Bunny will also be on hand to pass out candy and take photos with your family.

Buffet will be served 10:00 a.m. until way beyond the limitations of brunch at 7:00 p.m. $65/adults; $25/children ages 4-12. Reservations can be made by calling 312.787.9596. Signature Room at the 95th is located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building at 875 N. Michigan Ave.

Odyssey Cruises
Weather permitting, a boat ride is a pretty slick place to have Easter brunch. Unless, of course, you’re prone to motion sickness or suffer from aquaphobia. Odyssey Cruises is offering a prix-fixe boat package with brunch buffet, complimentary glass of champagne and live entertainment. As to be expected, the Easter Bunny is scheduled to make an appearance. Cruise boards at 11:00 a.m., with a two hour ride from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. $67.90/adult; children 1/2 off (ages 3-11). For a limited time, visit odysseycruises.com for a coupon of 10% your Easter brunch. For reservations, call 866.305.2469.

Image from fla-keys.com

Image from fla-keys.com

$$ – $20-50

Dine
Dine will be serving a special Easter brunch buffet featuring: chef carved honey ham and baron of beef, made-to-order omelets, a ceviche bar with shrimp, tuna and vegetarian offerings, traditional breakfast fare, and a handmade dessert table. As is the norm with holiday brunch specials, mimosas and sparkling cider will be available for $5. Dine’s Easter Brunch menu is served 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; $39 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under; children ages five and under are complimentary. Dine is located at 733 W. Madison St. in Greek Town. Reservations can be made by calling 312.602.2100.

The Spot
For something less conventional: Scooty & JoJo host a special Easter Sunday Diva Brunch at The Spot. Special Guest Stars to include: The Game Show Show and Stuff’s Esteban Cruz, Mollywood’s Calidonia Olivares, Cabaret Chanteuse Meredith Freyre, and Our Lord and Hand-Puppet, Jesus. Well, at least they’re sticking to a true-to-form resurrection theme.

Seatings are at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; shows are at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Brunch packages starts at $35/guest, which includes the show, a brunch entree, unlimited mimosas and bellinis for the duration of the show, and coffee or tea. Reservations for Diva Brunch are highly recommended. For reservations call 773.728.8934. The Spot is located at 4437 N. Broadway.

Sepia
Sepia will be serving a prix-fixe brunch with family style appetizers and desserts, with choice of four entrees. View menu here. Brunch is served 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., $39/adults; $20/children. Reservations are available online through OpenTable. Sepia is located at 123 N. Jefferson St. in the West Loop. For more information, call 312.441.1920.

The Pump Room
This restaurant has a good amount of history backing it up, including ties to the origins of the Bloody Mary, as well as the title of Phil Collin’s No Jacket Required (jackets are definitely required, by the way). If you care to brush up on your local restaurant history of the Pump Room, feel free to read here. As for brunch, Pump Room will be offering a prix-fixe three-course champagne brunch for $40/person from noon-5:00 p.m. The Pump Room is located at 1301 N. State Pkwy in the Gold Coast. Reservations are available online or by calling 312.266.0360.

North Pond
The restaurant will be offering a three-course Easter Brunch for $70/adult; $40/children under 12. The menu for adults will offer a choice of four dishes within each course. The children’s menu is a set three-course meal. Reservations are available 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. For more information, call 773.477.5845. North Pond Restaurant is located at 2610 N. Cannon Dr. in Lincoln Park.

10pin Bowling Lounge
And now something for the kiddies: brunch and bowl with the bunny at 10pin’s Easter brunch, knocking down pink pins for a chance to win candy. Nothing says Easter like sending kids on a sugar fuelled rampage of jellybean and Yellow Peep virgin cocktails followed by candy and more candy. Don’t be surprised if it requires an adult martini or three to cope. Seatings are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. $39 per guest includes two hours of bowling, shoe rental and the buffet. Children 4 and under are free. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312.644.0300. 10pin Bowling Lounge is located at 330 N. State St. in River North.

Texas de Brazil
Masters of the Churrascaria and all-you-can-eat buffets, Texas de Brazi will be featuring a 50-item breakfast buffet and complimentary mimosas, along with their famous schmorgasbord of lamb, beef, pork, chicken and sausage. Brunch will be available 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the price of $34.99 per person (does not include dessert, taxes, beverages or gratuity). Texas de Brazil is located at 51 E. Ohio St. in River North. Reservations can be made online at OpenTable or by calling 312.670.1006.

Green Zebra
If you prefer to eat alongside your Easter Bunny as opposed to eating him, Green Zebra’s vegetarian brunch should do the trick. Green Zebra is located at 1460 W. Chicago Ave. in Noble Square. To make a reservation, call 312.243.7100.

MarketHouse
Market House will be offering a sumptuous brunch buffet, including: stuffed pancakes, crab eggs benedict, Applewood smoked bacon, made-to-order omelets, sweets and so on. Bloody Marys and pineapple mimosas will  be available additionally for $8. Brunch will be served 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. for the price of $45/adult; $20/child, 6 yrs and under are free. Market House is located at 611 N. Fairbanks Ct. in River North. For more information, call 312.224.2200.

Between Boutique and Cafe
Top Chef Ceftestant, Radhika Desai, will be hosting a special Easter brunch buffet at her pride and joy, Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge. Given the usual, unusual fare of duck confit eggs benedicts and lavender fruit crepes, you can be sure Rad will pull out some major tricks for Easter. After all, in addition to the mass of weekly patrons, she has her mother to impress for this brunch. Sunday drink specials include: $15 endless mimosas and an $8 bloody mary bar. For reservations, call 773.292.0585. Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge is located at 1324 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.

Perennial
Those preferring table service as opposed to waiting for the shrimp cocktail platter will appreciate Perennial’s standard brunch service with extended Easter hours. The a la carte menu will be served from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Reservations are available online through OpenTable. For more information, call 312.980.7070. Perennial is located at 1800 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park.

Trader Vic’s
The Hawaiian experience without the baggage fees, Trader Vic’s is offering a prix-fixe Easter brunch buffet, featuring carving and omelet stations, tropical fruit and classic brunch entrees. Island retro music in the lounge, and a complimentary Signature Mai Tai or Mimosa might be reminiscent of the old Palmer House location, but it just won’t feel right without that old basement smell. Served 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at $37.95/adult; $20/children 12 and under. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 312.642.6500. Trader Vic’s is located at 1030 N. State St. in the Gold Coast.

David Burke’s Primehouse
Chef Rick Gresh’s family style Easter brunch seems to offer the best bang-for-your-buck deal. Breakfast highlights include: Killer French Toast Muffins, Maple Glazed Bacon Steaks, Lobster Scrambled Eggs, Duck & Foie Gras Sausages and Bag of Doughnuts. For more lunchy brunching, menu highlights include: Veal Meatballs, Crispy Angry Chicken Drumsticks, Grilled Dry Aged Lamb Chops and Peppered Dry Aged Beef Brisket. Dessert doesn’t disappoint either, with: Can of Crème Brulee, Molten Chocolate Egg and a sundae cart. And, my favorite part of the package deal? All-you-can-drink champagne, Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Screwdrivers for $10. Brunch is served 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.; $48/adult; $20/children 12 and under.  David Burke’s Primehouse is located at 616 N. Rush St. in River North. For reservations, call 312.660.6000.

312 Chicago
Yet another Easter Brunch Buffet, this one being more centrally located within the Loop in case your family members’ only point of reference in Chicago is Millennium Park. Buffet is set to include: roasted leg of lamb, rigatoni bolognese and omelette stations. Brunch will be served served 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. for $35/adult; $17.50/child under 13. For more information, call 312.696.2420. 312 Chicago is located at 136 N. LaSalle St. in the Loop.

Le Colonial
Go Asian this Easter with brunch at Le Colonial! Executive Chef Chan Le will be serving a special three-course prix fixe menu for $22. Highlights from the menu include: Banh Cuon, steamed Vietnamese ravioli of chicken & Asian mushrooms, with chili lime garlic sauce, Goi Bun So, grilled sea scallop salad with garlic noodles, roasted peanuts and lime vinaigrette and Mi Xao Don Chay, stir-fried mixed vegetables & tofu over crispy egg noodles in a light oyster sauce. Brunch is served 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. For more info, call 312.255.0088. Le Colonial is located at 937 N. Rush St. in the Gold Coast.

Bin 36
Bin’s annual brunch buffet features your usual omelet bar, bennys and Belgian waffles, with a few original creations like blueberry ricotta pancakes and citrus glazed ham. Known for their accessible wine selections, you can bet the Bloody Mary and mimosa flights ($12 each) will probably hit the mark. Brunch is served 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; $38/adult; $19/kids under 12; under 4 eat for free. Call 312.755.9463 for more info. Bin 36 is located at 339 N. Dearborn in River North.

The Bristol
Currently the contender for longest Easter Brunch hours, The Bristol will serve a special two-course Easter Brunch all day for $21/person (not including tax/gratuity), from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is also the only time they’ll take reservations, so make them quickly as they’re bound to fill up. The Bristol is located at 2152 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown. To make a reservation, call 773.862.5555.

South Water Kitchen
South Water Kitchen will be serving a special three-course prix-fixe Easter brunch menu for $25, along with selections from the restaurant’s regular brunch menu. Brunch is served 7:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. South Water Kitchen is located at 225 N. Wabash Ave. in the Loop. For more information, call 312.236.9300.

Atwood Cafe
Centrally located, beautifully decorated and always delicious, Atwood Cafe is offering a reasonably priced two course prix-fixe brunch with glass of champagne for $22/adult; $10/child. Handmade lollipops will also be on hand as a bargaining tool for good behavior. Served 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Atwood Cafe is located at 1 W. Washington St. in the Loop. For more information, call 312.368.1900.


$ – Under $20

Fiddlehead Café
One of the few places NOT accepting reservations for Easter brunch, but owner, David Byers says last year they didn’t accept reservations either and there was never more than a 10-15 minute wait. First come, first served a brunch buffet featuring carving station, omelet station, waffle bar, and other Fiddlehead favorites for $19. Brunch is served 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Fiddlehead Café is located at 4600 N. Lincoln Ave. in North Center. For more information (NOT to make a reservation), call 773.751.1500.

Lula Cafe
Easter or not, expect a worthwhile wait for brunch here. Lula will serve up their usual foray of a la carte seasonal specialties, such as: huaraches with Gunthorp farm pork shoulder, red wine braised brisket with blue cheese potato gratin, and cajeta custard stuffed brioche french toast. Brunch will be served 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. For more information, call 773.489.9554. Lula Cafe is located at 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd. in Logan Square.

Real Tenochtitlan
An Easter brunch buffet with a distinctive Mexican flare, Real Tenochtitlan is offering the steal price of $14.95/adult; $7.95/child. Brunch is served 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Real Tenochtitlan is located at 2451 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Logan Square. For more information, call 773.227.1050.

sola
In addition to Chef Wallack’s regular brunch menu, guests can dine on Chef de Cuisine Alex Shalev’s Easter specials such as green eggs and lamb (HA!), lobster and asparagus quiche, and morel and ramp omelet with Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese. Brunch is available from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 773.327.3868. sola is located at 3868 N. Lincoln Ave. in North Center.

Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro
Looking for another post-St. Pat’s Taste o’ the Irish? For just $19.95 you can enjoy all kinds of Irish breakfast favorites, including: omelet and carving stations, and a chocolate fountain. Opening hours are 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling 773.248.3905. Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro is located at 3905 N. Lincoln Ave. in North Center.

Salpicon
Salpicon will be serving an a la carte Easter brunch featuring classic and contemporary Mexican dishes such as Huevos Rancheros, rack of Australian baby lamb in a pasilla-tomatillo sauce, and quail in a sauce of ancho chiles, carmelized onions and honey. Brunch is served 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 312.988.7811 or online at OpenTable. Salpicon is located at 1252 N. Wells St. in Old Town.

Café Selmarie
Specials include: slow-roasted ham, Creole crabcake benedict, chilaquiles casserole, lemon ricotta griddlecakes with fresh raspberry sauce, and smoked salmon croissant sandwiches with lemon-dill aioli. Brunch is open 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Reservations will be accepted for parties of 6 or more by calling 773.989.5595. Cafe Selmarie is located at 4729 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square.

Image from rachelleb.com

Image from rachelleb.com

Catering

The Goddess and Grocer
Want to skip an outing on Easter all together? The Goddess and Grocer caters (and delivers) an extensive menu of Easter eats for brunch, dinner and dessert, from French toast bananas Foster and smoked salmon platters, to spiral-cut country ham and roast leg of spring lamb, to Easter baskets and cake. For more information at the Bucktown location, call 773.342.3200; and the Gold Coast location, 312.896.2600. Visit the goddessandgrocer.com for menus.

Hearty Boys
The two specialties of Dan and Steve’s new restaurant just happen to be brunch and catering. The Hearty Boys offer a number of signature catering options including cocktail and buffet-style brunches. For more information, visit heartyboys.com or call 773.BIG.YUMM. Hearty Boys is located at 3819 N. Broadway in Boystown.

Whole Foods Market – Gold Coast
Whole Foods will be offering the convenience of brunch catering for both Easter and Passover, such as: creme brulee french toast, quiche and rosemary honey mustard glazed ham for Easter, and potato latkes, chopped chicken livers and smoked whitefish spread for Passover. Delivery is available and orders must be placed at least 48 hours in advance. For more information, call customer service at 312.932.9600. Whole Foods’ Gold Coast store is located at 30 W. Huron St.

Not Easter

Feast
The less publicized, but still highly significant holy day overshadowed by Easter, Passover, happens to fall during the same weekend everyone is getting chocolate rabbits and wearing pastels. Feast Gold Coast and Bucktown will offer Passover specials from April 9 to 16 for our chosen friends, with brunch offerings that include: matzo brei with spinach, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, and a sweet version with cinnamon and apples, kugel and cake. Brunch will be served at the Bucktown location on Sat. and Sun. at 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; the Gold Coast location Sat. and Sun. 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. For more information, visit feastrestaurant.com.

Carly Fisher

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