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A10 Is Pulling Off a Next-Level Brunch

Starting today, Chicago’s dining team will be reviewing brunches each week. We’re kicking things off with two rundowns—including one of this Hyde Park lazy Sunday gem.

Sticky bun at A10   Photos by Carrie Schedler

Starting this week, Chicago’s dining team will be reviewing brunches—from places you spend hours waiting for to under-the-radar joints. We’ll post a new rundown each Thursday. A quick note: These aren’t a part of our official starred dining reviews, and we’re using a different rating scale to make sure nobody confuses the two. 

As our gift to you, we’re kicking things off with two reviews of places we enjoyed quite a bit. You can find the other one here. Happy brunching.

THE SHTICK: Euro-chic takes on brunch standards.

THE VIBE: A10’s whole look is very “West Elm catalog come to life”—midcentury dining room furniture at every turn, rugs hanging from the walls like tapestries, petite flower arrangements sprouting from emptied-out salt shakers. When we dropped in around 12:30, the dining room was only half-full, with a mix of groups of twenty-something friends and older couples. This isn’t the place to nurse a monster hangover—it’s far too low-key for that—but it’s a great option for a quiet celebration or send-off for visiting guests. 8 out of 10.

THE FOOD: Here is a decision that I can make for you: You absolutely must order one of their warm brioche sticky buns ($5), the flavors of which rotate each Sunday. Ours was a white chocolate pistachio iteration that somehow managed to not be achingly sweet. Accordingly, it vanished within minutes. I am still talking about this pastry days later and pulling up pictures of it on my phone, showing it off like it was a snapshot of my own child.

The main list centers on trumped-up versions of your brunching basics: Pumpkin pie griddle cakes ($12) occupy the pancake’s territory; the dauphinoise crêpe ($15) slathered in melted Gruyère is like a black-tie version of a breakfast burrito (and it may be the heartiest version of the paper-thin pancake I’ve encountered in my crêpe-filled life.) And the chicken and waffles ($16), a crispy, juicy hunk of chicken crowning two fluffy waffle wedges doused in maple syrup, is like finding the missing link between breakfast and lunch. This is the stuff of brunching dreams. 9 out of 10.

THE DRINKS: The Bloody Mary ($10) leans pleasantly horseradishy, pungent enough that you feel it in your sinuses after a few sips but not enough to start your nose running. Coffee ($4) and iced tea ($4) both skew mellow, and the tea has a faint berry edge to it. 8 out of 10.

THE SERVICE: Smart, attentive servers (all dressed in That J.Crew Gingham Shirt) were quick with a gentle nudge toward a knockout dish and an iced tea refill. When we were seated, the hostess checked our coats in a front closet for us, a welcome nicety you don’t often see during weekend daylight hours. 9 out of 10.

OVERALL: Why are you not there already? Why was the restaurant only half full at peak brunch? The only thing holding this brunch back from a perfect score is the sticker shock—brunch is an egalitarian meal and should be priced a little more accessibly. Dig into the sticky bun, though, and suddenly a $16 main course—or, sigh, that bill—matters a little less. 8.5 out of 10.

1462 E. 53rd St., Hyde Park, 773-288-1010 

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