Chicago has become a city about brunch. With so many options, it is difficult to decide where to go. After my recent visit to the new Hutch American Café, I can safely say that the decision is now simple. This is one of the finest brunches I have sampled in Chicago.
Chicagoans are already familiar with Wrigleyville's popular Hutch American Bistro which opened in 2013. The new Hutch American Café is a sibling to that restaurant and a welcome addition to the River North area, particularly the western edges of River North. The 60-seat restaurant is located at 416 West Ontario (just west of Orleans) and serves a line-up of brunch and lunch selections, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7-days a week. Menu standouts include Avocado Chicken Toast, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. Fried Chicken and Corn Waffle with bacon butter, Lox and Bagel Board, assorted flatbreads, burgers, salads and wraps. One of the unique items on the menu is the Totchos – tater tots served with pico de gallo, truffled cheese fondue, and a fried egg. Wow!
I was recently invited to sample items from the Sunday brunch menu. Not only was the food extraordinarily good, but the portion sizes are huge. Believe me, you will not walk away hungry from Hutch.
For a unique cocktail, try the Veggie Mary made with tomatillos instead of tomatoes. It is tart and tangy, served with a skewer that is practically a meal in itself. Of the various “benedicts” offered on the menu, I opted for the Veggie Benedict, served on a fried green tomato instead of an English muffin. Upgrade this offering by adding avocado and you will find, as I did, that it’s one of the best Benedicts you will ever sample, loaded with freshly sautéed spinach and a perfect hollandaise sauce.
Have you ever heard of “pulled bacon”? I hadn’t, but now I will go back just to have another plate. Essentially, it is pulled pork that is cured and cooked like regular bacon. If you’re a fan of bacon (as I am) then you must get a side order of the Pulled Bacon on your visit to Hutch. You can thank me later.
If you plan to check out Hutch, be sure to make a reservation. On my visit, the place was packed and there was a line out the door with people waiting for tables. The neighborhood is largely residential, so Hutch is fast becoming a local spot for those nearby residents. Parking can be a slight challenge (like everywhere in Chicago) but Hutch is only a short walk from the Chicago Brown Line stop.
Although I did not sample the Happy Hour menu, I can only surmise (based on the high quality of the brunch) that the offerings for Happy Hour will be superb. The special menu is offered Monday through Friday, from 4pm to 7pm and presents one of the best deals in River North with $2 glasses champagne, $3 beers, and $5 craft cocktails. During that time, a special menu of snacks and small plates is offered, each priced at just $5.
Hutch American Cafe, 418 West Ontario. Breakfast, lunch served 8am to 3pm 7-days-a-week. Happy Hour 4pm to 7pm, Monday to Friday. For more information, visit their website. You can also follow their social media conversations on Twitter and Facebook. For “to-go” orders or reservations, call 312-300-4195. You can also place “to-go” orders online.
Hutch American Cafe
All photos credit: Alexander Gouletas and Marc Much (as noted)