Business is booming for plenty of restaurants serving brunch in recent years. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Chicago where every Saturday and Sunday you will find restaurants that serve brunch jam packed with customers throughout the morning and afternoon. Several restaurants have even developed special brunch menus and deals to draw in new customers due to the brunch craze that has taken over America. In the words of my girlfriend, Erin, an avid brunch lover, “No one’s upset!”
Brunch allows us to eat heavily without guilt because technically it’s breakfast and lunch. It nourishes the hungover and brightens up the grumpy non-morning folks. This meal allows us to have a valid excuse for drinking in the morning, and then maybe continuing throughout the day. It sometimes gets us up earlier than we would be willing to otherwise. Brunch brings people together, and many times outside on gorgeous patios and rooftops. Despite the competition being quite fierce in Chicago, a small size storefront in the Edgewater neighborhood called m.henry is among the very best in the city.
It’s slogan is chow for now and when you enter the restaurant to sights and smells of fresh baked goods, coffee, and pancakes you know this is gonna be some fantastic chow alright. The interior gives the restaurant a cute and family friendly vibe. Upon entering you will see a small charming counter with a glass case carrying an assortment of pastries. In the dining area glass windows hang off the ceiling throughout the restaurant while large windows on the restaurant’s exterior allow sunlight to come pouring in, always brightening both the interior and one’s mood. In fact, the design of the restaurant is loved so much that m.henry offers design services to help assist on commercial and residential projects. Like all good brunch spots, it also has a patio/garden out back that is great to sit in when Chicago weather decides to cooperate. The service and staff are wonderful and help to elevate the experience and ambience as well.
Edgewater’s m.henry has lunch, but they excel on both savory and sweet items for breakfast and brunch. Savory standouts include their Fannie’s killer fried egg sandwich, roasted asparagus and prosciutto benedict, and dandelion, shallot, and leek omelette. The egg sandwich isn’t your normal breakfast sandwich. It is made with toasted sour boule that is toasted to perfection and layered with two over-medium eggs, applewood bacon, plum tomatoes, gorgonzola which gives the sandwich an interesting twist different from the usual cheddar cheeses, and fresh thyme. Many of the dishes are served with their house potatoes, which in my humble opinion are the best breakfast potatoes in Chicago. Roasted russets, onions, red peppers and fresh rosemary in a blend of spices? Yes please! The potatoes have an incredible crispiness to them as well that complements the flavors. If your main dish doesn’t come with these potatoes, spend the extra $3.25 to get them.
While m.henry’s savory dishes are absolutely delicious, they truly specialize in sweet. I cannot attest to ever having their out of this world breakfast bread pudding yet, but my girlfriend says its the best she’s ever had. Other sweet plates include the mango & blueberry cinnamon roll french toast, early rhubarb & raspberry flapjacks, and lemon~raspberry brioche french toast.
The king of the sugary options, however, are the hotcakes. These hotcakes are the fluffiest I’ve ever had and to quote my good friend Pete, “It tastes like you are eating clouds.” They usually have a seasonal flavors on the menu, such as pumpkin spice in the Fall that was incredible on a crisp Autumn day. You can’t go wrong with their simply hotcakes served with fresh fruit either. Yet, the blackberry bliss cakes are the most popular, and for good reason. These fluffy hotcakes are layered with warm blackberries and vanilla mascarpone cream, and then topped with brown sugar and oat crust. The warm blackberries taste insanely fresh while the oat crust gives the silky textured pancakes a nice crunch to them.
They are hands down some of the best hotcakes/pancakes in the city. So next time you want to explore a beautiful northern neighborhood in Chicago and grab some delectable brunch in a quaint spot m.henry should be your destination. It will have you leaving wanting to come back the next day and saying mmmm.henry!
-Michael Averbook, Foodie Extraordinaire
PS – Shout out to Pete for the recommendation in the first place 🙂