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6 Chicago Restaurants Giving Toast A Fancy Makeover

By Staff in Food on Oct 6, 2015 4:19PM

Peach toast at Publican Quality Meats. Photo by John Philp.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the word “toast,” when listed on a menu, evoked a humble breakfast accompaniment topped with a pat of butter, and maybe some fruit preserves—if you’re lucky. Now, that formerly uninspired diner staple has made its way onto menus at some of the hottest restaurants in Chicago, and believe us, it’s anything but humble.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous manifestation of the toast trend is social media darling avocado toast; between Instagram feeds and myriad brunch services across the city, chances are, you’ve encountered an artfully styled heap of mashed avocado atop toasted bread at some point over the past year. The Winchester, Dove’s Luncheonette, and Charlatan all have standout takes on the dish, but Summer House Santa Monica’s lunch-ready iteration, which is comprised of poached eggs, Hass avocado, scallion mascarpone, and house-made bread, is one of our local favorites.

But haute toast extends far beyond just avocado toast. Here are a few of Chicago’s most inventive toast offerings.

By Kailley Lindman

Scrambled egg crostini at Formento's. Photo by Kailley Lindman.

The restaurant: Formento’s
The toast: Soft scrambled eggs crostini
The scoop: There’s no shortage of comforting, Italian-inspired brunch eats at this West Loop destination, but chef Tony Quartaro’s lineup of crostini knock it out of the park. Variations range from avocado smash with spigarello and heirloom tomato to a soft scrambled egg-topped number sporting creamy Burrata, mushrooms, and peppery arugula to brighten up each bite.
925 W. Randolph St.

Brussels spout and burrata toast at Seven Lions. Photo courtesy of Seven Lions.

The restaurant: Seven Lions
The toast: Brussels sprout and Burrata toast
The scoop: With its crispy Brussels sprouts, velvety Burrata, crunchy pine nuts, crisp radicchio, and smooth apple saba, this sharable toast dish boasts textures that are every bit as dynamic as its flavors.
130 S. Michigan Ave.

The restaurant: Nico Osteria
The toast: Duck heart fett’unta
The scoop: For the adventurer at heart, nothing beats the duck heart fett’unta at this chic spot in Gold Coast. In addition to tender duck heart, the upmarket take on a classic Italian dish is also laden with braised acquerello rice, young garlic, and pickled onion.

1015 N. Rush St.

The restaurant: Café Ba-Ba-Reeba
The toast: Scrambled egg toast
The scoop: Weekend brunch gets a seasonal twist with chef Matt Holme’s latest menu addition: toast stacked with scrambled eggs, Morcilla sausage, and pumpkin seed pistou. Pair it with a customized Bloody Mary from the Bloody Mary bar for full effect.
2024 N. Halsted St.

The restaurant: Bohemian House
The toast: Lox and toast
The scoop: When you load up a piece of perfectly crisped toast with smoky lox, cucumber, cream cheese, salmon roe, dill, and a soft boiled egg, a bagel seems like little more than a distant memory. Toast: 1. Bagel: 0—not that we’re keeping score.
11 W. Illinois St.

The restaurant: Publican Quality Meats
The toast: Peach butter toast
The scoop: Craving a quick breakfast fix that toes the line between sweet and savory? Look no further than the peach butter slathered multi-grain toast at this neighborhood café, which is pulled together with fromage blanc and a bit of fresh mint.
825 W. Fulton Market