If you’re from Chicago, cancel your brunch plans for next weekend. (Please?)
I know I don’t often make demands around here, but in this case, it is justified – and you will thank me later, I promise. Instead of whatever you’d originally planned, you’ll be visiting The Bristol in Bucktown this coming Saturday or Sunday, and here’s why:
This restaurant – well, neighborhood eatery, as it calls itself – is beautiful, with a cozy interior of exposed brick, hardwood floors, a chalkboard menu wall, a long bar with rows of ordered glasses and a communal dining area of intimate seating.
I’ve read several reviews that warn how crowded the main room will be, but on a Saturday afternoon, we walked right in and got our choice of tables.
Speaking of when we walked in: I didn’t even open my own door because they saw us coming, and this staff is friendly.
That makes sense, as the way I discovered The Bristol in the first place was on Twitter, through @JohnTheBristol (John Ross), one of the partners behind this restaurant, who posts updates about the seasonal Midwestern menu.
The chef is Chris Pandel, formerly of NYC’s Cafe Boloud and local TRU, and his creative brunch plates range from a duck and potato skillet to a fried egg sandwich with pork belly and Mornay sauce.
After having a citrus buckle with bourbon cream, the taste of which lingered on my tongue, I ordered the Bristol Burger, sans cheddar, which comes with pickles and breakfast potatoes.
I wish I could tell you what all was on it, and I meant to look, really, but from the moment I took my first bite, I couldn’t stop eating long enough to notice much more than the golden brown bun and how it complemented the meat, with its sweet sauce and sliced onions, poking out on the sides with the lettuce.
The breakfast potatoes were dark and crispy outside, soft and creamy inside, just as they should be, and that sauce – that sauce!
The fried egg sandwich is served with pork belly, Mornay sauce and more of those fantastic breakfast potatoes, and, though I’m not much a fan of eggs, I have it on good authority that this entree was also quite delicious.
Oh and one more thing, just because I have to say this: if you’re lucky, if you go on a random Saturday afternoon like we did this weekend, you might be seated a few feet from the winner of Chicago’s Top Chef, and as you see her walk in.
You’ll lean across the table, excited, saying, “Stephanie Izard just walked in the door,” and you’ll feel completely brilliant, proud, for choosing the same restaurant as the first female winner of the reality cooking show, knowing you’re in for something good.
And you will be, indeed.
Prices: Affordable, entrees between $9 and $15
2152 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.