It Must Be In the Genes

Sunny Side Up 

I’m convinced the computer gods have it in for me. After decades spent working on various computers, you’d expect me to know a thing or two about using them. Obviously I don’t, since my story about the Sunny Side Up Restaurants, a two venue format that focuses on breakfast and lunch, seems to have disappeared.

Owner Nick Sord

Owner Nick Sord

The story was supposed to post on the 22nd of August, and it was there when I checked the post for the last time, complete with pictures. The pictures are still there, along with the captions, but the actual story doesn't seem to be anywhere, for which I apologize to owner Nicholas Sord and his staff. 

cinnamon roll pancakes

cinnamon roll pancakes

By now, I’ve had brunch at the Sunny Side Up on Clark Street four times, and I’ve enjoyed all four visits. My first visit was with two friends, one of whom ordered the Maple Ham French Toast, while the other sampled the Cinnamon Roll DeIight.

French toast with ham and a maple/apple compote

French toast with ham and a maple/apple compote

Think “sandwich” for the first, and envision two slices of French toast with the compote, gruyere cheese, and ham in between. The second, which offers a choice of pancakes, French toast or a waffle, is glazed with cinnamon cream and drizzled with a vanilla glaze. I ordered the sweet potato waffle breakfast sandwich topped with a fried egg, avocado and spinach. Three thumbs up.

the waffle sandwich made with sweet potato waffles

the waffle sandwich made with sweet potato waffles

The second time ‘round, I ordered the egg white Greek omelet, as did the person I was with. This was the first egg white omelet I’ve eaten that I actually enjoyed. Most of the rest were like doing penance for something I’d eaten the night before.

Convinced that I’d already finished the story on Sunny Side Up and didn't need to order something I'd never had before, I ordered the egg white Greek omelet again on my third visit. Remember, this is an omelet, as opposed to a scramble, so one side is folded over the other, with the filling in between. Remember, also, that this is a Greek omelet, so the filling includes spinach, tomato, and feta cheese, along with sliced avocado. Big thumbs up.

 

fruit on French toast

French toast with strawberry cream and fresh fruit

On the fourth visit, I had the French toast stuffed with a berry cream,  topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries, and finished with a strawberry glaze. My friend ordered the sweet potato waffle sandwich, and like me, declared it  a winner. Ditto for the fruit topped French toast.

Sunny Side Up also does lunch.  Expect sandwiches and salads, including a Cobb with a red wine vinaigrette, a classic Ruben, and a grilled vegetable sandwich served on focaccia bread.

Both the Superior Street venue-which is in a remodeled brownstone just west of Michigan Avenue- and the restaurant on Clark are open every day, including holidays, from 8 am-3pm. Breakfast dishes are available until closing.

42 East Superior 312.930.4242

1028 North Clark Street 312.967.0777

Hours: 8 am-3 pm daily

Il Culaccino

Like Nick Sord,  Frank Ruffolo grew up in the restaurant business. A seasoned veteran at 26, he has no problem heading up the restaurant group started by his father. The group's newest addition is Il Culaccino, which is just across the street from the Wintrust Arena at 22nd and Indiana.

Il Culaccino

Il Culaccino

The restaurant, patio included, seats 300. During the colder months, the patio will be enclosed and heated.  Il Culaccino translates as "the ring left by a wine glass," so it's  no surprise that the restaurant has a lengthy wine list. Most of the options are from either Italy or California

bruschetta

bruschetta

Ruffolo describes the cuisine as "elevated Italian" and explains that virtually everything on the menu is made in-house. The lunch and dinner menus are the same, albeit with the addition of some sandwiches at lunch and some specials, most of them fish -based, at dinner.

the caprese salad

the caprese salad

Several of the dishes offer a choice of sauces. Order the 20-ounce Berkshire pork chop, for example, and you can opt for it to be done Marsala, Vesuvio or Calabrese style. The linguini with clam sauce, on the other hand, comes with a choice of marinara or white wine sauce.

the roasted beet salad

the roasted beet salad

Desserts include favorites, such as tiramisu and cannoli, along with  interesting additions like the Pistachio Copa made with layers of pistachio and vanilla gelato topped with pistachio and caramel crumbles and finished with drizzles of chocolate fudge.

the classic pork chop

the classic pork chop

Asked to explain the popularity of Italian food Ruffolo replies, "It's comfort food. It's familiar. Order the jumbo rigatoni with Nonna's Sunday gravy, and it feels like your Nonna cooked it especially for you."

Il Culaccino, 2134  South Indiana Avenue 312.794.5300

Hours: 11 am-11pm

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Small Bites

Barton G. The Restaurant

Turing the usual timetable upside down, Barton G. The Restaurant does Happy Hour Sundays through Thursdays from 9 pm-11 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm-midnight. Expect 50% off signature cocktails & weekly seasonal bar bites.

415 N. Dearborn Street 312.260.5050

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Sepia is hosting Australian winemaker Virginia Willcock for a four-course dinner on Sunday, September 22, prepared by the restaurant's Michelin-starred Chef Andrew Zimmerman. While the exact menu is hush hush, expect dinner to include both pan roasted scallops and Rohan duck breast. Each course will be paired with wine from Virginia's winery in the Margaret River region of Australia.

Dinner begins with a cocktail reception at 5pm and dinner at 5:30. Tickets are $115 per person.

Sepia , 123 North Jefferson 312.441.1920

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Tuesday nights are vinyl night at Found Kitchen and Social House in Evanston. Diners can bring in their own selections or choose something in-house. Whiskey aficionado Anna Madden will be on hand to provide pointers as guests sample the restaurant's whiskey list.

Found Kitchen and Social House, 1631 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

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Eddie V's Prime Seafood offers a Happy Hour menu daily from 4 to 6 pm. Choices include East Coast and Asian Fusion Oysters, along with mini-filet sandwiches and salt and pepper shrimp. Specially priced cocktails and wines are also available.

Eddie V's Prime Seafood in The Shops at North Bridge, 521 N. Rush Street 312.595.1114

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In 1919, Keene Addington's (owner of Tortoise Supper Club) grandmother, Sarah Armour, received a Steinway Concert Grand Piano for her tenth birthday. To celebrate the piano's 100th birthday, Keene, along with Megan, his wife and partner, are hosting a celebration of Chicago's vibrant music scene from September 16-21.

Each night will focus on a different aspect of the music scene, from the opera on Monday to the Sinatra-style jazz on Saturday. Call the restaurant for details and reservations for certain of the events.

Tortoise Supper Club, 350 N. State 312.755.1700

 

Filed under: breakfast, brunch, lunch

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