I’m not quite sure if Brunch Cafe is a franchise-chain restaurant or if there are just multiple locations spread around Illinois (with one in Scottsdale, Arizona), but I’d never heard of it until it moved into a strip mall in Niles, near my Portillo’s. So whether a chain or not, it was new to me, and it seemed like a place worth checking out… based on the menu.
Honestly, the strip mall that the Niles location is in, is a little rundown and not really where I would expect a quality restaurant to reside… The Portillo’s in this strip mall is actually it’s own separate building in the corner of the parking lot, whereas Brunch Cafe is a storefront in the actual strip mall…
Needless to say, the curb appeal of the restaurant doesn’t do it any favors, but that completely changes once you walk through the front doors.
Brunch Cafe Restaurant – Niles
The restaurant itself is not as large as say a Walker Brothers or Eggsperience or something along those lines, but it’s not small either. The space is well utilized to give a nice light feel to the interior, and to make it feel more open, even though there are quite a few tables in the restaurant. I was definitely impressed by how nice it looked on the inside and how clean everything seemed to be.
On this particular Saturday morning, we were there pretty early because our kids always decide that 6am is a great time to wake up even when they don’t have school. So instead of trying to figure out what to do around the house, we decided to head out to Home Depot to pick up a few things and then try out the Brunch Cafe for breakfast.
I think we got to the restaurant at like 8:30 or 9am, and had no problem getting a nice large booth for the four of us. The restaurant continued to attract more patrons as we ate our meal, so if you’re looking to get a table here, make sure you get there early… I have no clue if they take reservations or not.
After getting everyone situated in the booth and high chair, it was time to look over the menu.
Eggs, Fruity Pebble Pancakes and Breakfast Burritos
The menu has quite a bit of options so there should be something for everyone. There’s french toast, pancakes, eggs, omelets, crepes, waffles, scramblers, and skillets… and that’s just the breakfast menu; they also have a full lunch menu with sandwiches, paninis, wraps and more.
Since it was so early in the morning though, we all opted for breakfast, and the kids were quick to agree to the fruity pebble pancakes that were featured on the kids menu.
I would say though, as an adult, I was a little disappointed in the fruity pebbles pancakes though (pictured at top after the kids had already eaten most of it). I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what was placed on the table was just a few pancakes with a handful of fruity pebbles and powdered sugar on top. The cereal wasn’t even cooked into the pancakes at all, that I could tell, and it was kind of stale tasting. The pancakes themselves were fine, and the kids loved the food, I just felt like it was a little underwhelming for being the featured thing for kids to order.
As for my meal, I went with what I always order when we go out to breakfast, eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. I would say that the eggs were a little overcooked out the outside, and the whites were a bit too runny on the inside, but the runny yolk was perfect. I hate the places that overcook the yolk when you ask for over-easy and then I have nothing to dip my toast in to.
The bacon was fine… nothing special, and the hash browns were cooked perfectly. They had that nice crisp to the outside with the softness on the inside… perfect once you add some ketchup.
My wife got what I probably would have gotten if I wasn’t turned off by the fact that I would have had to substitute and eliminate quite a bit of the ingredients, since I just like my breakfast burritos super basic.
The breakfast burrito at Brunch Cafe consists of scrambled eggs, diced potato, chorizo, tomato, onion, jalapeno, cheddar cheese, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Those last 3 come on the side, but that still would have left me removing the tomato, onion, and jalapeno, and then trying to substitute the chorizo for like bacon or sausage… so I didn’t want to make them do that much work. But my wife was good with everything as it came, so that’s what she ordered, and she thought it was delicious.
Overall though, the Brunch Cafe in Niles was great. The food is decent, the servers were extremely nice and friendly, and the space/decor is warm and inviting. Definitely not what I was expecting based on the strip mall it’s located in, and the state of some of the other storefronts in the mall. But I guess that’s why you should never judge a book by it’s cover… or something…
If you’re looking for a decent place to grab brunch in this area, I’d definitely recommend checking out Brunch Cafe. There’s something on the menu for everyone, so you’re sure to find something you like.
Just keep in mind that it does start to get pretty crowded later in the morning on the weekends, so I would plan to wait a few minutes for a table. But since it’s a breakfast place, the tables tend to turn over quickly, so it shouldn’t be too long of a wait.