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Hash Has an Easy-Breezy Brunch in Wicker Park

With, you guessed it, a lot of variations on hash.

The pork bubble and squeak hash Photo: Carly Boers

The shtick A cheery joint shining an unlikely spotlight on—wait for it—hash.

The scene On a bright weekday morning, this low-key spot feels more like the quintessential neighborhood coffee shop than a brunch eatery. The chalkboard menu likewise skews cafe, as does the borderline-tacky floral artwork.    

Single diners stare into their laptops, commuters breeze through to grab a cup of Dark Matter coffee, and excited tykes sit at Western Avenue–adjacent tables, squealing as trucks and buses zoom by.

On a chill day like this one, the counter-service setup works just fine. But on a busy weekend morning, there is major potential for those at tables to feel cramped as a line of people inevitably snakes through the compact dining area. 7 out of 10

The food Most menus top out at one hash offering—and the likelihood of the unsexy, greasy potato-egg-veggie-(maybe) meat combo outshining the rest of the food offerings is slim. Here, you’ll encounter a whopping eight varieties, with unconventional ingredients including chickpeas and truffle aioli.

We sprung for the pork bubble and squeak ($9 for two eggs; $7.50 for one), a colorful heap of fried breakfast potatoes, sweet potatoes, sautéed Brussels sprouts, and tender pork shoulder with crisped edges. Two eggs cooked over-medium (our pick) sat on top, and their yolks imparted even more richness to the indulgent affair. Overall, a totally satisfying feast. Two quibbles, however: Minus the accompanying mustard cream sauce and a drizzle of Cholula, the flavors surprisingly lacked zip; and with sweet potato being the second ingredient listed, we expected more than the stingy smattering we received.    

Good ol’ buttermilk flapjacks ($7.95) were pillowy and generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Certainly not revelatory, but supremely satisfying nonetheless. 7 out of 10

The drinks Can’t go wrong with the aforementioned Dark Matter coffee. If you’re not into coffee (huh?!), look to the cooler of freshly squeezed juices. Grapefruit ($2.50) was a fine pick; BYO vodka and you’ve got yourself a mighty tasty Greyhound. 7 out of 10

The service Hashing out the hash selections is daunting, and the unpretentious young woman behind the counter was both helpful and patient. Food was delivered quickly and with a smile. No qualms. 9 out of 10

Overall No need to sprint to Hash; you’ll find more innovation in other neighborhood cafes. But if you’re on the hunt for an affordable, easy-breezy brunch experience—and you dig the potato-egg combo—it’s worth a visit.  7.5 out of 10


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