Southport Grocery & Cafe
Brunch is a bitch, people.
Whether it's finding a spot that serves a decent array of both breakfast and lunch options or finding a place without an hour-long wait on a Sunday, brunch is one of those meals that has the potential for as many headaches as the Sapphire & Tonics you mainlined the night before.
But maybe Chicagoist is just jaded.
No matter. On a recent Saturday on the so-chic-it-sort-of-make-us-want-to-throw-up-we're-serious stretch of Southport Avenue between Addison and Belmont, Chicagoist and some friends had the occassion to grab breakfast/brunch/whatever at Southport Grocery & Cafe.
Our friend has been rallying for a couple of years now about this place and we'll be honest: we are a little leery of brunch locations that don't include waitresses with ten-pounds of pancake makeup and a Greek working the door. With some notable exceptions -- Orange, Ina's and the super-cheap O'Donovan's brunch just to name some -- we are not in favor of "cute" or "trendy" brunch spots.
Despite it being so gosh-darn cute -- it doubles, obviously, as a small, gourmet grocery spot -- Chicagoist was pleased. Fresh ingredients, a simple, yet imaginative menu and friendly service marked our visit and caused us to reconsider our generally harsh stance on every urban hipster's favorite meal.
Here is what we liked: the omelets ($8). We had the fresh spinach, tomatoes & sage white cheddar omelet and peppers, red onion, queso fresco & tomato tortilla sauce with portabella salsa omelet. Chicagoist cannot quite adequately explain how much we appreciated being served an omelet that didn't taste like rubber and wasn't the size of our head. Each had a perfect balance of filling-to-egg.
Here is what we loved: the bread pudding pancakes ($7). These things? They are like crack. Actually, Chicagoist wonders if in fact they lace them with crack because the entire table went nuts over these things. These delightfully fluffy, yet simple, pancakes are dusted with powdered sugar and served with a side of vanilla custard sauce.
Plus? When we told the staff we had to be somewhere at 11 a.m., the actually went to the trouble to make sure our food got to us on time and that we were out the door with minutes to spare.
Here is what irritated us: Call us crazy, but does it strike anyone else as odd that at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning they'd already be out of POTATOES? The omelets are supposed to come with roasted red potatoes and we were told that they were "almost out" of them as we ordered. They were lucky we prefer fruit in the morning. Just the same, it's a poor showing when one of your core items is absent during your busiest time.
Southport Grocery & Cafe, 3552 N. Southport, 665-0100, Mon-Fri 8 a.m. till 7 p.m.; Sat 8 a.m. till 5 p.m.; Sun 8 a.m. till 3 p.m.