The Best Chicago Pajama Brunches To Nurse A New Year's Hangover
What is a pajama brunch?
It is exactly what it says it is. Local restaurants serve brunch to diners who show up in their pajamas. Cut your teeth dining in your jammies in one of these local Chicago favorites.
Have you ever been to a pajama brunch?
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is the perfect place for a pajama party for you and a group a friends. A large, festive and lively space, decorated in a Spanish motif, it's a place that will definitely wake you up!
One of the highlights of Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is their make your own bloody mary bar. Order your vodka from your server and then personalize your drink with organic tomato juice, gazpacho, Uncle Dougie's Torpedo juice or a variety of hot sauces and condiments. Recipes are also provided for the less adventurous.
Tapas is meant to be shared so why not start with the breakfast paella, chock full of spanish sausage, rice and eggs. Try the spanish baby ghost shrimp with chorizo polenta, the waffles with marcona almonds, nutella and bananas or the short rib sliders with mahon cheese, pickled red onions and sherry aioli. The best part of tapas is to be able to taste so many different dishes and the tapas here never fails to please.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is located at 2024 N Halsted Street. (773) 935-5000
Mindy's Hot Chocolate
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate is owned by Mindy Segal, a trained pastry chef. Naturally, desserts and the hot chocolate are exceptional and are the big draw here. The menu changes often to reflect the availability of seasonal ingredients. The atmosphere is casual and homey, even if you are in your pajamas.
The hot chocolate here is like drinking a liquid candy bar. Currently there are six different hot chocolates varieties available. Do ask for the house made marshmallows which are like fluffy, heavenly pillows of sweetness.
- Pumpkin spice - a mix of white chocolate, milk chocolate and pumpkin spice
- Medium - a blend of both milk and dark chocolate with a touch of caramel
- Mexican - dark and milk chocolate with cayenne and cinnamon
- Black and Tan - a mix of hot fudge and milk chocolate
- Chai - half chai mixed with milk and dark chocolate
- Half and Half - half espresso and half dark chocolate
- Old fashioned - milk and dark chocolate with caramel and whipped ganache
Many people go to Mindy's simply for the desserts but the food is also very good. The burgers are top notch, the quiche is fluffy and delicately flavored and the bar packs a punch.
Hot Chocolate is located in the Bucktown neighborhood in Chicago at 1747 N. Damen. (773) 489-1747.
Kitsch'n On Roscoe
Kitsch'n on Roscoe has one of the most popular brunch events in Chicago with a full bar, great retro music, New Year's Day football coverage, and pajama door prizes. Decorated with vintage collectibles, this is one bright, colorful place (bring your sunglasses) that will take you back to the days of flower power. Not exactly Don Draper's scene but retro nonetheless. This is a fun restaurant that celebrates kitsch.
Why not start with a Tequila Tang Sunrise or a Kung Fu Tiki Mai Tai? Try my personal favorite, the chicken and waffles. Two Belgian waffles with fried chicken and jalapeno honey butter. Just enough kick to wake you up the morning after. The Hangover Breakfast Wrap (my son's favorite) is also good. A soft, white tortilla with spicy Chorizo sausage, jalapeno Jack cheese, and mango salsa.
Not everything on the menu is spicy. There is a large and varied menu of comfort food with gluten free and vegan options available. The dining area is quite small so reservations might be a good idea unless you don't mind waiting.
Kitsch'n On Roscoe is at 2005 W Roscoe in Chicago. (773) 248-7372.
Nana is a family-owned, organic restaurant with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. All the dishes are free of synthetic preservatives, growth hormones, genetically modified ingredients, antibiotics, artificial colors and flavors and other additives and chemicals, including pesticides. The atmosphere is bright and sunny with exposed brick to add a dash of warmth to the atmosphere.
They have great starters and my two favorites are the avocado fries with chipotle cream with great buttery texture and flavor with a little kick and they chickpea frittes with herb aioli and chipotle honey. Amazingly, neither are really greasy.
When we go we always order the pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese custard and pecans or the stuffed french toast with caramel poached pears, mascarpone and chai anglaise. Add a cup of strong coffee and you will be ready to start your day.
Nana is located at 3267 S. Halsted. (312) 929-2486
Stella Bara is a great place to start the New Year when you're not feeling 100%. The interior is dark and cozy with exposed brick. Less boisterous than Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! but less sedate than Mon Ami Gabi and great for families.
The brunch cocktails are really good. I like the blackberry bramble with gin, lemon and cassis. Need coffee? Try the iced hazelnut. Iced coffee with almond milk and nutella goes great with the saltiness of pizza.
Speaking of pizza. The dough is handcrafted and left to rise for 18 hours which gives it a unique artisan flavor. You can also ask for "Thin Sin", an extra thin and crispy pizza crust for those of you who count carbs. Either dough can be made as a white or red pizza (no sauce or tomato sauce) but my personal favorite is the bacon and egg pizza with pecorino, chilies, gruyere, caramelized onions and arugula. The butternut squash pizza with taleggio, candied bacon and chilies is terrific.
They also have small menu of appetizers, egg, sandwiches and greens but the real star here is the pizza.
Stella Bara is located at 1954 N. Halsted. (773) 634-4101.
Mon Ami Gabi
If you're looking for a more sedate experience with traditional French food then Mon Ami Gabi is the place for you.
The brunch cocktails are the drink of choice here and combine the house sparkling Brut with:
- orange or grapefruit juice
- pear shrub and king's ginger
- elderflower and quince sour
- blood orange, campari and rosemary
- cobbler-pineapple and orange juice
- cranberry, pomegranate and cinnamon
Classic French bistro choices are available. My favorite are the eggs benedict with a silky hollandaise sauce. The chocolate hazelnut waffle with nutella and whipped cream is always my husband's choice. You can never go wrong the the steak frites if you're feeling more like lunch.
Gluten free bread is available as a substitution for wheat. If you want to try something out of the ordinary, go for a side os sauteed trout. It is delicious.
Mon Ami Gabi is located at 2300 N. Lincoln Park West. (773) 348-8886.
Tips For Enjoying Your First Pajama Brunch
- You do not have to wear pajamas but if you do, you won't be the only ones. All the wait staff and workers at the restaurants will be in their skivvies. Some diners wear pajamas, other don't. feeling comfortable is most important.
- Don't wear provocative pajamas. Many of these places serve families. Keep it tasteful, not lewd.
- Wear snow boots. Tramping through the snow in fluffy bedroom slippers is no fun.
- Have fun with it. many of the places offers prizes for the "best dressed". Get into the spirit of it.
- If you don't have any "public" pajamas, cheap adult pj's are readily available at Target, Walmart or Meier's.
- As strange as it may sound, wear underwear underneath your pajamas. You will feel less "exposed".
© 2015 Chantelle Porter