Slideshow: Staff Picks: The Best Places to Brunch in Chicago

Xoco
Xoco
Serving the best churros in town, a highly addictive open-faced breakfast torta, empanadas that bring tears to my eyes, and delicious coffee/chocolate concoctions, I will find any excuse to visit Xoco. If they weren't closed on Sundays and Mondays, I could see myself eating there every day of the week. It's that good. —Huge Galdones

Open-Faced Breakfast Torta from Xoco [Photograph: Huge Galdones]

Xoco, 449 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654 (map); 312-334-3688; rickbayless.com

Longman & Eagle
Longman & Eagle
I know I stand mostly in solidarity with my editor on this one, but I don't really like brunch. Long lines, high prices, small portions, unsatisfying "inventiveness"—I could go on forever, baby. But there is one spot I'll keep returning to: Longman & Eagle. The dishes are elevated without feeling forced, and anywhere that makes its own sausage and serves butter-enhanced crispy potatoes is fine by me. Plus, if you get there right at 9 a.m. when they open, you'll have the place largely to yourself. Now this is a brunch spot I can get behind. —Joe Roy

PBR Breakfast with Housemade Sausage at Longman & Eagle [Photograph: Blake Royer]

Longman & Eagle, 2657 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-276-7110; longmanandeagle.com

Lula Cafe
Lula Cafe
I'm kind of flabbergasted that no one else picked Lula Cafe, considering its one of the brunch-iest places to go brunch-ing in this brunch-obsessed city. Every weekend day, lines form early along the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, often blocking my way when I'm walking my dog. But I never get mad, because I know that they are all waiting for a very good reason. No matter how you are feeling, or what kind of meal you need, Lula has you covered. From straightforward standards (like the excellent breakfast sausage) to inventive specials, Lula always manages to justify the long wait with genuinely tasty food. Considering how many brunch places coast by with nothing but fried eggs and Mimosa specials, it's heartening to a place care so deeply. —Nick Kindelsperger

Lula Cafe's Breakfast Sausage [Photograph: Blake Royer]

Lula Cafe, 2537 North Kedzie Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-489-9554; lulacafe.com‎

Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles
Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles
Getting my usually hungover ass out of bed after a long week usually involves a crane, caffeine, and a lot of complaining. But if fried chicken is involved, I will literally float out of bed, Exorcist-style, minus the weird green stuff. So my choice? Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles. While there's so many great soul food options on the menu, I will always order The Saint ($9.95; add $0.75 for pecan waffle), which is a 1/4 chicken, nothing but dark meat, and a pair of thin and fluffy waffles. After our roundup of 14 Fried Chicken Places We Love in Chicago, I still crave this crispy, salty, peppery, and juicy chicken. Upgrade to the pecan waffle and you get an extra little nutty sweetness to reward you for hauling your rear end out of that warm, comfy, bed. —Dennis Lee

[Photograph: Dennis Lee]

Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles, 3947 South King Drive, Chicago, IL (map; 773-536-3300; chicagoshomeofchickenandwaffles.com

Flying Saucer
Flying Saucer
Okay, so I know I'm cheating here by picking two places (Lula's the other one), but I really want to get another one of my favorites in here. Flying Saucer has been a fixture in Humboldt Park for years. But it wasn't until a biscuit roundup that I realized that Flying Saucer really knew what it was doing. The Trucker Bowl is a big helping of home fries, two eggs, country gravy, cheddar, ham, scallions, and two freshly made biscuits. It's unhinged and ridiculous, but when you desperately need some sustenance after a long night out, this is your place. —Nick Kindelsperger

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Flying Saucer, 1123 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-342-9076; flyingsaucerchicago.com

Prasino
Prasino
My personal favorite is Prasino in Wicker Park. The menu favors healthy breakfast options, but offers plenty of indulgences if you're not feeling virtuous after a particularly rough Saturday night. Although every omelet I've tried is worthy of a repeat order, I can't stay away from the Hippie. It's generously stuffed with spinach, basil, and creamy goat cheese and topped with a tangy tomato jam that could be eaten by the spoonful. The crispy side of potatoes is a perfect pairing and they even serve gluten-free toast. My only recommendation is to make a reservation because it often feels like everyone else's favorite brunch spot too. —Rachel Gillman

Paris Eggs Benedict at Prasino [Photograph: Anna Deem]

Prasino, 1846 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 312-878-1212; http://www.prasino.com

Bakin' and Eggs
Bakin' and Eggs
If you are looking for a lazy, relaxed Sunday morning kind of atmosphere when you go to brunch, I'll tell you now, Bakin' & Eggs is not your place. There is almost always at least one screaming child (but it only lasts a minute or two) and the interior architecture of the space amplifies those morning-after conversations and the sound of silverware against ceramic into a lively all-encompassing din. But the coffee is reliably strong and plentiful, and I have been enamored with every single thing I've tried there. The oatmeal is my one true love because I'm an odd duck, and yes, I like to eat oatmeal at restaurants—especially restaurants that pair it with pear butter and sweet, salty chunks of homemade streusel. A few other beloveds include the biscuits, the Southern Comfort Bowl, and the Bacon Waffle. Oh and of course the infamous bacon flight, which although it may sound like a gimmick, actually features some truly great bacon. —Lindsey Becker

Croissant Breakfast Sandwich with a Bacon Flight at Bakin' and Eggs [Photograph: Anna Deem]

Bakin' and Eggs, 3120 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (map); 773-525-7005; bakinandeggschicago.com

Feast
Feast
Feast in Bucktown is a staple. Nothing beats the low-key brunch atmosphere you can find here on a late Sunday morning. Poppy music is cranked just loud enough to make you think, "Oh man, I forgot about this Gwen Stefani song from 2001." Feast has a nice staff, a creative menu, great fried potatoes, and their eggs are always perfectly cooked. The portions are also generous. Last weekend, I witnessed someone give away half of their bacon because he had "enough." I have never seen anyone give up their bacon! Be it copious amounts of breakfast meat, delicious "pancakes of the day" or the crab cake Benedict, it's definitely my favorite spot for brunch. (Did I also mention they deliver it?) —Carol Hilker

[Courtesy of FeastChicago/Facebook]

Feast, 1616 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-772-7100; feastrestaurant.com

Over Easy
Over Easy
Over Easy was one of the first brunch spots I went to after moving to Chicago, and it just stuck. It's a relaxed neighborhood joint, but it's usually packed by the time I get there around 10 a.m. Even if you have to stand outside for a table, I love how the restaurant sets out a little coffee dispenser, so that you can help yourself to some free Julius Meinl coffee as you wait. The food is always fresh, and my favorites always seem to veer toward the Mexican-inspired dishes, which are always satisfyingly rich, bright, and indulgent. Even on those days when I just want something healthier, their yogurt and granola is pretty great. —Debbie Carlos

[Courtesy of Stefaniesays/Flickr]

Over Easy Café, 4943 North Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625 (map); 773-506-2605; overeasycafechicago.com‎