Gallery: Staff Picks: 9 Breakfasts We Love in Chicago

Fat Elvis at Little Goat ($11)
Fat Elvis at Little Goat ($11)

There's nothing little about Little Goat, and that's not a bad thing. From the extensive (and eccentric) menu to the massive portions, this is my type of place. I've been trying to taste everything on the menu, but have only made a dent. So far, my favs include the Tasty Asian Breakfast Thingy and the Fat Elvis but I'm sure that there are other delicious bites just waiting to be discovered and to be washed down with Stumptown Coffee. Huge Galdones

Little Goat, 820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (map); 312-888-3454; littlegoatchicago.com

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

"Pop-Tart" from Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop

You'd think I would want a sweet breakfast treat (obviously it has to be sweet, right?) from a warm and cozy little cafe with charmingly mismatched silverware and warn-down wooden tables. But my pick has none of these things. In fact, it doesn't even have a storefront yet. No, my ideal breakfast treat is a "pop-tart" from Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop, an establishment selling top-notch pastries and savories out of a window in an alleyway. Anyway, the pie crust encasement on these things is so outrageously flaky and well-balanced, I don't even care what the filling is. Although with its cinnamon glaze and extra crunchy brown sugar/butter topping, the pumpkin might be my favorite. But truth be told, I'd never be disappointed with an apple or raspberry either. Lindsey Becker

Interurban Cafe and Pastry Shop, 2008 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-698-7739;interurbanchicago/Facebook

[Photograph: Lindsey Becker]

Amarena-Chocolate Croissant and Passionfruit Macaron at HendrickX Belgian Bread Crafter ($3.95)
Amarena-Chocolate Croissant and Passionfruit Macaron at HendrickX Belgian Bread Crafter ($3.95)

An amarena-chocolate croissant and passionfruit macaron at HendrickX Belgian Breadcrafter. The croissants here are dense, more so than the Parisian style. I love the cherry and chocolate croissant most because the dark chocolate they use is so intense and the cherry cuts through nicely with its tartness. This croissant is sweet, but not as sweet as the almond croissant, which is too sweet for me. Their macarons are huge and a little chewier than most, but really yummy all the same. I love the sharp passionfruit curd filling to contrast with the light almond cookies. Amber Gibson

Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter, 100 East Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60611 (map); 312-649-6717

[Photograph: Amber Gibson]

Sassy Eggs at Over Easy ($11)
Sassy Eggs at Over Easy ($11)

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and that's when you should go to Over Easy—not during brunch. The menu is a little smaller, but the highlights--Southwest-inspired Sassy Eggs and fruity Emily's Dream Pancakes--are available during breakfast, and the dining room will be nearly empty and quiet. Amy Cavanaugh

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

[Photograph: Debbie Carlos]

Almond Berry Bowl at Protein Bar
Almond Berry Bowl at Protein Bar

In my mind, weekend brunch is reserved for hearty, semi-indulgent fare, but breakfast serves as a healthy kick-off to the day. As a gluten-free eater, I love the Almond Berry Bowl at Protein Bar. Warm organic quinoa (similar to oatmeal but more protein-rich) comes topped with berries, almonds and agave nectar. Add a splash of almond milk and your morning meal is practically virtuous. Rachel Gillman

Protein Bar, 352 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654 (map); 312-527-0450; proteinbarchicago.com

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Blackberry Blisscakes at m. henrietta ($9.50)
Blackberry Blisscakes at m. henrietta ($9.50)

My favorite brunch place is hands down m. henrietta's. I have cut back on my breakfast/brunch intake lately because most of your basic breakfast food is relatively easy to pull off, but that place kicks it up a notch in decadence. The fact that they call their pancakes "bliss cakes" is in fact apt, rather than pretentious. The brioche french toast is incredible, and they always have amazing weekend specials that just can't be replicated at home. Nathan Lurz

m. henrietta, 1133 West Granville Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660 (map); 773-761-9700; mhenrietta.com

[Photograph: Dan Zemans]

The Dual Quads at The Publican ($14)
The Dual Quads at The Publican ($14)

For me at least, breakfast is the least important meal of the day. It usually just leaves me feeling heavy and tired. So, when I want to feel heavy and tired in all the best ways I head to The Publican. It's breakfast. It's meat. It's eggs. There's nothing more to ask for. The Dual Quads is everything you want in such a breakfast. A perfectly fried egg and two fatty sausages. Eric Singerman

The Publican, 837 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (map); 312-733-9555; thepublicanrestaurant.com

[Photograph: Eric Singerman]

Rick Bayless's Mexican Mix Granola from Milk & Honey
Rick Bayless's Mexican Mix Granola from Milk & Honey

I realize this is kind of stretch, but please don't judge. Most mornings I wake up and enjoy a bowl of yogurt topped with Rick Bayless's Mexican Mix Granola from Milk & Honey. If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm a fiend for anything Bayless decides to serve to the public, and this granola is no different, even if it doesn't taste like any version I'm used to. Ever tried granola with whole grain oats, puffed amaranth, roasted pumpkin seeds, peanuts, cacao nibs, red flame raisins, coconut, and honey (along with a few other things, though absolutely no preservatives)? It's crunchy and decidedly unsweet, but the little cacao nibs are the grownup equivalent of marshmallows in a bowl of Lucky Charms. Now, you can't buy a bowl of this mix at Milk & Honey's retail location, but you can pick up a bag of it. Plus, it's available at numerous grocery stores around town. Nick Kindelsperger

Milk & Honey, 1920 West Division Street #1, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-395-9434; milkandhoneycafe.com‎

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Biscuits at Bite Cafe ($3)
Biscuits at Bite Cafe ($3)

Bite Cafe is everything I want in a breakfast joint. Bottomless cups of Dark Matter coffee, clever comfort food, and huggable servers? Yes please. Biscuits ($3) are mandatory, served with mounds of warm butter and jam. The deep-fried burger-sized mashbrown ($3 as a side) is irresistible, and the breakfast poutine ($10) and seasonal meaty hash ($11) are heartier than a Denny's Grand Slam. Matt Kirouac

Bite Cafe, 1039 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-395-2483; http://www.bitecafechicago.com

[Photograph: Matt Kirouac]