Savory and sweet…pleasing and belly filling…classic and just right.
When looking for a good brunch restaurant, these are the standards I seek. A popular spot near my apartment called Stax Cafe provides just that and has become a regular go-to on Sunday mornings.
Brunch holds a very special place in my life. My fiancé Dallas and I have always had very busy and eclectic schedules – him being a medical student and me a journalist. Our work rarely sticks to the typical 9-5 and there’s typically a lot going on. We realized over time we needed to have something that calmed us down and gave us time to each other. Every couple does of course!
Sometimes its watching Walking Dead with takeout…sometimes its a night out on the town with friends and good drinks. An absolute we’ve stuck to over the years though has been Sunday Brunch.
When we were in L.A., we lived in Koreatown and often ventured out to West Hollywood or elsewhere for our fav brunch spots. We dealt with traffic, lengthy waits and the occasional paparazzi following someone to get a beloved omelette or French Toast.
When we moved to Chicago, little did we know the apartment we picked on Taylor Street would land us next to some pretty tasty, walking-distance brunch spots…including Stax.
The menu boasts staples such as omelettes with plenty of mix-in options and buttermilk pancakes. Their classic Pain Perdu is a sweet and simple must try. If you’re looking for breakfast with a kick, the Spanish Harlem omelette is a good choice with its blend of chorizo, poblano, fire-roasted tomatoes, queso fresco and dashes of cilantro, pico de gallo and chipotle. I personally go for the smoked salmon bagel plate (pictured above) or the spinach and feta Spiro omelette (below), named after owner Spiro Tsaldaris.
Stax serves breakfast all day as well as lunch and that menu also delivers great options like their popular turkey burger.
There are of course updates to the menu including specials and seasonal treats with culinary flair such as pumpkin pancakes with toasted marshmallows (indulged on that one quite a few times during winter).
What I appreciate about this spot the most is the pride put into the dishes. There isn’t a lot of messing around with fancied ideas like foam or deconstruction. Instead, they give you exactly what you’d expect in a meal…and ensure it tastes absolutely delicious.
It isn’t a surprise that pretty much every time my fiancé and I have gone to Stax, there’s been a wait with people jealously eyeing others chowing down. The seating can be tight but makes for great conversation!
On one recent visit, Dallas and I sat next to a group who I can best describe as typical Chicagoans (lively, loud, friendly and all about food). When one of the older sons arrived to say a quick hello, he wasn’t sure if he could squeeze in between the tables and I told him “No worries, we’ll get close real quick!”
I learned he was a kindred foodie spirit who had a simple way of appeasing his appetite, saying “All I need is a loaf of bread and some sliced Prosciut and I’m good!” We started a convo with the family and pretty soon were getting advice on Chicago as well as congratulations on moving from L.A. and into the coldest winter the city had faced in awhile. All in all, they were sweeter than the chocolate chip pancakes on the menu.
A cheery atmosphere like that makes not only good meals but great memories…ones we’ll get for sure whenever we brunch at Stax.
- What is your favorite brunch spot and why?
- What is your favorite food to eat AT brunch?
- Share your best brunch (or breakfast) memory here in the comments!