Something you should know about Midwesterners, is that we take our brunch game seriously. When 10am rolls around on Saturday morning, all bets are off. Herds of people are observed in various jersey-claden gear (depending on the sports season), headed to local watering holes to enjoy a cold beverage (or five) and far too much bacon.
Among a million other things, Chicago stands out above all other cities in two areas in particular: sports and brunch. I have never experienced a city more enthralled with sports than Chicago, IL. Whether that be College Football, the NHL (Blackhawks or bust!), or the excitement of Wrigleyville on the daily basis, Chicago fans are truly the most loyal, fun-loving fans of their kind. Just last month, the Blackhawks brought home the Stanley Cup for the 3rd time in six years and the city positively exploded with excitement! I’m not kidding you – the energy in Chicago on the eve of game six and the Stanley Cup parade was unparalleled! Chicago is also home to many sports-team themed bars. You name it – we got it. For my fellow Green Bay Packers fans there is Will’s Northwoods Inn, Kirkwood Bar for those Indiana University alumni, and the list goes on. Whoever your team is, there is sure to be a fellow Chicagoan who is willing to toast to your offense, drink to your defense, and celebrate whether it be victory or defeat.
Secondly, Chicago excels in brunch. In the summer, brunch means sunny days spent sipping bottomless mimosas at rooftop bars, late into the afternoons. In the winter, brunch brings hearty bloody mary’s with comfort food garnishes like pizza and grilled cheese. (Cut us some slack – breakfast is the most important meal of the day!) Whatever the occasion, brunch is a time for celebration, food indulgence, and beverage extravaganza. It’s because of this food passion and era of brunch that I stumbled upon Bottlefork. The new restaurant popped up in River North not long ago, and the town was buzzing about it. Don’t take my word for it, their instagram pictures say it all.
My very first Bottlefork experience was one for the books. As pictured above, I ordered the Wood Grilled Beer Brined Chicken sandwich. To say that it rocked my world wouldn’t even begin to cover it. I was actually thanking the waitress every ten minutes and told her I was “never leaving the restaurant”. This spoke volumes to the service, food, and ambience, and I think it also sufficiently creeped her out. Job Well done, New Kid. As a side, I shared the Maple Slab Bacon with my brother and his girlfriend. Just to clarify, that huge hunk of meat pictured above is the bacon. It truly is more of a pot roast, but hey, who am I to judge?
And what is brunch without a bloody mary?! A sad, late breakfast, that’s what!
To complement my already artery-clogging breakfast, I ordered a Bottlefork Bloody Mary, complete with a hard-boiled egg garnish and side beer. Seriously, the restaurant gives you a side beer with your bloody mary. “I’m never leaving this restaurant, I’m never leaving this restaurant”…
Needless to say, the food was epic. I was so enthralled in this meal, I don’t think I spoke more than 5 words to my dining party the whole time. Unfortunately, my brother did not have as memorable of an experience. He ordered the Wood Grilled Ground Bacon Burger (Not Bacon Cheeseburger, it’s literally ground bacon as a patty). The waitress recommended he have it cooked medium-rare. Though hesitant, he agreed. Much to his dismay, this burger was far too undercooked for him. Medium-well would have been a much wiser choice for this entrée.
Speaking to the restaurant’s character, they noticed Nick was not eating his burger and offered him a different entrée. When he refused, they offered him a free dessert. Again, he refused. Ultimately, they ended up comping his entire meal, which truly spoke volumes to their service recovery to those of us in the food industry. Overall, it was an exceptional staff, ambience, and dining experience for all. I give it five out of five golden forks!