Review: Pick Me Up Café

By Caitlin Klein in Food on Mar 29, 2011 6:00PM

Wrigleyville's Pick Me Up Café is best known for three things. It has tons of vegetarian options, you can order breakfast any time the café is open, and it is open almost all the time. We stopped in on a Sunday afternoon to give it a try and find out if the Pick Me Up Café would live up to its name.

The Atmosphere. Pick Me Up is decorated with a seemingly random assortment of tchotchkes, and nostalgia hangs on the walls, ceilings, and inside epoxy on the tables. We are slightly concerned that Pick Me Up robbed a bunch of grandmas and catladies to collect all of the old postcards, strings of lantern lights, and paper flowers that color the dining room. Even in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday, there was one word for the atmosphere at Pick Me Up: packed. An obviously popular place, the Café’s closely crammed tables are full of customers, and more spill out the door. Therefore, we don’t recommend this place to anyone in a hurry; there is a good chance you will have to wait for a table, albeit not long. The turnover is pretty quick, surprisingly so, considering the relative slowness of the waitstaff. The hectic nature of the Café combined with the kitsch closing in around you may be a turnoff for some, but apparently not many, given the Café’s popularity.

The Food. We ordered a range of items at the Pick Me Up, including an omelet, a shake, the grilled cheese, the vegetarian chili, the soup of the night (not day), and a tofu burrito. Pick Me Up has a full alcohol menu, as well as many non-alcoholic choices, like coffee, Italian sodas, and their own version of a Shamrock Shake. The food is surprisingly good; given the location and hours, we expected it to pander to the bar-going crowd, but there are menu items at Pick Me Up that will please the inebriated and noninebriated alike. The CAB omelet (with cheddar, avocado, and bacon) was huge and didn’t play shy with the avocado, which we appreciated. The grilled cheese includes tomatoes, and comes on a multi-grain bread that is nicely crispy. We can’t say enough about a place that lets you have soup as a side instead of the run of the mill fries. We also admire a place that lets you order breakfast at any time of day. Other notable menu items include build-your-own sandwiches (called sammitches by the Café), veggie burgers, and a whole army of vegan and gluten free cake and dessert options, housed in Pick Me Up’s dessert case.

Service and Prices. The service at the Café is slightly slow and very basic. The prices, on the other hand, are pretty great, especially considering the area. A burrito is $9; the cup of soup will run you $3.50. Nearly every sandwich is between $7 and $8; same with the omelets. Overall, we’d say that the Pick Me Up Café is a good place to get brunch or a very late night snack, especially when drinking in the area.

The Pick Me Up Café is located at 3408 N Clark St, and is open from 11am-3am on weekdays, and 24 hours during the weekends.