Southport Grocery & Cafe (Restaurant & Grocery, Lakeview)

Location: 3552 N. Southport
Phone: 773-655-0100
Website: southportgrocery.com

Breakfast is a niche in the restaurant world. Some places serve it, some places specialize in it and the occasional place perfects their own take on it. Southport Grocery and Café not only serves spectacular breakfast items, but they have used their passion for unique artisanal food products to create the most tempting checkout line I’ve ever been to. Impulse buyers beware.

Almost every breakfast joint tends to lean harder on one side of the spectrum than the other, their strong points being either their savory items like omelets or sweet items like pancakes. In light of this generalization I’d say SGC is a master of the sweet, heavenly treats like the grown-up pop-tart, bread pudding pancakes and waffles stuffed with flavored cream cheese fillings tend to outshine the rest of the menu. This is only compounded by their “gourmet” cupcakes, very simple in design compared to all those crazy flavor hybrids but made with superior ingredients and thus considered some of Chicago’s best (which is impressive considering how many fricken cupcakes there are out there).

This is not to say SGC’s savory items aren’t good, they know what to do with an egg and their lunch sandwiches are full of house made ingredients. When they marry the savory and sweet their meals become sublime — grilling a coffee cake, baking their oatmeal in a skillet and crafting a ham and gruyère waffle with maple-mustard syrup. They’ve even started offering “secret dinners” once a month to subscribers of their newsletter.

The fact that you can buy most of what’s in your meal at the grocery line is fairly brilliant. I’ve never experienced their catering, but based on the baked goods they’ve produced at my table I’d be willing to give them a shot. You can order their cupcakes and grocery items for delivery from their website.

If it’s 10:30 AM on a Sunday and you’re going to brunch then chances are you’re in for a line. I’ll assure you the food at the end of the line is worth waiting for. Southport Grocery and Café is the only place I’m willing to feel a bit preppy for as stroller strolling yuppies file in from the Anthropology next door. It’s also the only place that makes me bypass my hangover breakfast burrito for a puffy powder sugar delight. Judge me if you must but the food speaks for itself.

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David Frankel McLean

About David Frankel McLean

I’ve been thinking philosophically about Chicago since I was jaywalking the streets at the age of 10. I don’t root for both baseball teams and I don’t put Ketchup on my hot dogs. When someone says they’re a Chicagoan they are speaking of a heritage and a doctrine, not just a location. What that doctrine is I’m not entirely sure, it’s constantly changing with the growth of the city and I’ll spend my entire life trying to figure it out.

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