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Longman & Eagle’s Brunch Exceeds Its Much-Hyped Expectations

Word to the wise: Get there early.

Chicken and waffles at Longman & Eagle   Photo: Carrie Schedler

The shtick: Quite possibly the most hyped brunch in the whole city, and for good reason.

The vibe: The wait for Logan Square’s brunch is as notoriously long as ever, and that lends a chaotic air to the dining proceedings (fine occasionally, but not something you want on a regular AM basis.) So do what we did instead: Come right at 9 a.m. and have your pick of tables. The room’s still buzzy with food-frenzied scenesters, but you’ll be able to actually sit down in one of the vintagey chairs, giving you full scope of the bottle-packed bar, somehow-still-dimly-lit-in-the-daytime dining room, and prominently displayed Michelin star plaques. 8 out of 10

The food: Immediately after settling on our options, we faced orderer’s remorse, especially after seeing an astounding-looking tower of panna cotta-topped challah French toast descend on a neighboring table. We needn’t have worried–every dish we tasted lived up to the spot’s serious hype.

Take, for instance, a plate of chicken and waffles ($14). The skin crackled with each bite, leaving shards of salty, crispy detritus strewn over the the fluffy waffle. Doused in maple syrup, it hit the ideal sweet-salty ratio for brunch. Equally tasty was the accompanying sweet potato and pork belly hash. Best of all, the portion was just right–enough to fill, not enough to slay. Same goes for the super-savory duck egg hash ($14), spiked with potent black-truffle vinaigrette. 9 out of 10

The drinks: Intense bloody Mary? Yep. Extra-strong coffee? Obviously. Brunch dish with a beer included in the price (the PBR breakfast, served with a cold can of Pabst for $10)? But of course. 8 out of 10

The service: Our biggest issue with Longman goes back to that notorious wait. This was not our first attempt at dining there on a weekend–on a Sunday in February, we tried to put our name on the two-and-a-half-hour waitlist, but our whole party wasn’t present (one friend was running a few minutes behind) and, per their policy, we couldn’t even get on the list until that changed–by the time she got there, our hunger far outweighed our willingness to partake in what was up to a nearly three-hour queue. We get not seating complete parties, but to not even put a name on a list seems excessive. When we did finally get in a few months later, though, we had nary a complaint about our unobtrusive, laidback server. 6 out of 10

Overall: Though an overly strict wait policy threatens to derail the whole enterprise, the food and drink are inarguably some of the city’s best. 8 out of 10

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