The shtick: American food with Latin flair and the very familiar local/sustainable/organic thing—in a neighborhood where that’s a novelty.
The vibe: Like the menu, the environs—a bright, clean space with an open kitchen, exposed brick and duct work, and hanging pendant lights—recall many a congested brunch destination in Bucktown or Lincoln Park. But on this particular stretch of South Halsted Street, which in no way resembles a chichi North Side ‘hood, Nana’s concept is a breath of fresh, bacon-scented air. Neighbors linger, ’90s tunes you forgot you knew play in the background, and many customers are greeted by name. 7 out of 10
The food: When dining at a restaurant that excels in Latin American cuisine, always order the All-American Breakfast. Okay, maybe don’t adopt that motto. But if you’re looking for the tried-and-true combo, this is your jam: two eggs cooked your way, lightly dressed arugula, home fries, breakfast meat (go maple-dijon bacon or go home), and grilled toast. The home fries, underseasoned and unremarkable, are the weak link in an otherwise solid plateful of morning comfort food.
A garden omelet is chock-full of veggies (chard, broccoli, sundried tomato, and cubed butternut squash on our visit) plus a Mexican cheese we’re told is similar to cheddar. Kudos for the interesting combination, but the squash was undercooked and the cheese was an under-melted greasy clump. Minus the bacon, the accompaniments are the same as above, but we upgraded the toast to a housemade English muffin. The thick, tender muffin paired with Nana’s seasonal jam (we were fortunate to get a beyond-delicious guava version) was the best decision we made all meal.
Oh, the age-old brunch dilemma of “Do I want eggs or something sweet?” A restaurant scores major points in our book when they offer a half-portion of the sweet stuff, allowing us to order both without appearing gluttonous. Though it isn’t listed on the menu, our server immediately obliged when we requested a single sweet potato pancake. It arrived doused in dulce de leche cream, but what a pleasant surprise—it was just the right amount of sweetness to chase the eggs with. 7 out of 10
THE DRINKS: Never order a mimosa when there’s the option of a beermosa. If that’s not your motto yet, it will be after trying Nana’s excuse to drink beer at breakfast. The effervescent blend of Stone IPA, fresh-squeezed OJ, and triple sec is a must-try. Have some coffee too, of course: It’s from Metropolis and has sweet notes that play nicely with the many spicy dishes. 9 out of 10
The service: The whole crew was smiley and delightful. Our only qualms are that pacing was slightly off and our server spoke so quietly that we gave up after asking her twice to repeat the specials. 7 out of 10
Overall: In this age of everything organic and artisan, sweet Nana gets lost in the shuffle. But it’s a boon for Bridgeport, and that English muffin is unrivaled. 7.5 out of 10
3267 S. Halsted St., 312-929-2486
8 months ago