This is but one installment of 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September. Stay tuned all month for more.
Why talk about other meals when you can talk about brunch?
Namely, brunching al fresco, sunshine on your pate and cocktail in hand.
To wit: Chicago’s five best new outdoor options, which we’ve rounded up for your summer dining pleasure.
Streetside patios? Check. Lakefront verandas? Also check. Rooftops? You better believe it.
So fire up the group text — it’s time to take this party outside.
In what is the most exciting new Chicago brunch offering in recent memory, Bar Biscay’s midday weekend menu is now served on a colorful sidewalk patio facing Chicago Ave. Basque food is the name of the game, and you’ve your choice from the daringly delightful (a full selection of sweet and savory crepes) to the just plain daring (asparagus served up with jamon serrano and a chevril emulsion, or the egg and potato frittata topped with fried squid). As for drinks, do not miss the brunchtime mimosas, served up in day-drinking friendly porrones.
This newcomer from James Beard Award winner Debbie Gold has been garnering major buzz, and it’s easy to see why: combine world-class interiors and destination-worthy bites and you’ve got an easy winner. And the patio — nestled right next to the enormous glass wall that allows sightlines into the restaurant — might be best place to experience it all. Once you’re seated, order up a bowl of breakfast ramen and get comfortable.
Located on Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive, the newly rehabbed Theatre on the Lake includes Lakefront Restaurant, a breezy dining option headed by former Fountainhead chef Cleetus Friedman. While there’s ample seating inside, you’ll want a table on the skyline-facing patio, appropriately dubbed the "Skyline Patio." Brunch runs the gamut of crowd-pleasing American classics, from a brunch burger with Bloody Mary ketchup to old-fashioned donut holes. Permission granted to start deconstructing that beach bod.
When it comes to outdoor dining options, you’ve got two at Bar Cargo, the new Roman-style pizza spot in River North. Take your pick between the large beer garden in the back (complete with ping-pong table) or the sizable dog-friendly patio on Wells St. Wherever you end up parking it, enjoy a brunch menu that offers everything from steak and eggs to the Cargo Breakfast Sandwich, a delectable creation of Tuscan sausage and provolone cheese on housemade focaccia. As for drinks? Linger awhile and order up a bottomless mimosas. That’s what outdoor brunching is all about, right?
Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy breakfast tacos and chilaquiles from Lonesome Rose’s rooftop perch. Packed? The bright and airy spot will also have a sidewalk patio. And while there isn’t official word whether or not Lonesome Rose will have a dedicated brunch menu, trust there’s enough here to make any diehard brunch fan happy. Beyond the Tex Mex-inspired grub, order up a margarita.