Could you cook french toast at home? Perhaps. Can you drink mimosas on a Sunday morning while listening to your neighbors “exercising”? Absolutely. But in case you don’t want to do either of those things, or you just want to pour syrup amongst other socially-distanced humans, you should visit one of the restaurants on this guide. They all serve brunch, and have heated and covered outdoor seating.
There are two locations of Etta and both are open for brunch with heated outdoor seating. The original recently put a tent on their rooftop and the one in River North has an enclosed patio with plenty of heaters. Whichever location you choose, both have things like soft-scrambled eggs, wood oven french toast, lots of pastries, and mimosas.
The Dawson in River West has heated and covered outdoor dining. The patio is large, secluded, and even has a fireplace. As far as the food goes, you can get dishes like chilaquiles, fried chicken and french toast, or warm banana bread.
This Italian restaurant in River North has a covered, partially enclosed patio with heaters. Siena Tavern’s brunch is always tasty, so you can’t go wrong no matter what you order. You’ll find dishes like chicken milanese and biscuits (topped with prosciutto gravy), lobster benedict, and make sure you get their carbonara breakfast pizza.
Bar Siena is from the same team as Siena Tavern, and their brunch is also reliably good. The menu is almost identical to their sister restaurant (except they have a crab benedict instead of lobster) and the outdoor situation here is fun - the heated tent has TVs where you can watch whatever sports are on.
Truth Italian Restaurant
One of our favorite reasons to visit this Italian restaurant is for their brunch (which is decidedly un-Italian). They serve it every day of the week on their completely tented and partially enclosed patio. Come here for a french toast flight, waffles, or lobster and grits. Just don’t forget the mimosas.
This Mexican restaurant in Pilsen is also open for brunch seven days a week, and has an enclosed sidewalk patio. The long menu is full of sweets like waffles, french toast, and crepes, along with savory options like chilaquiles, benedicts, and scrambles.
On annual winter break until January 22nd
The Duck Inn in Bridgeport has a back patio covered by a large, heated tent. They serve brunch on Sundays, with plenty of duck-filled dishes like the “egg mcduckin” (whatever you’re imagining, that’s exactly right), duck sopes, and duck hash.
The secluded outdoor space at the now-closed Monty Burke’s in Pilsen was fantastic, so we were happy when we heard that a new restaurant recently took over the space and re-did the back patio. Pilsen Yards added heated floors and a covering, and starting January 23nd will be hosting “hangover vinyl brunches,” which will include vinyl, brunch, and (presumably) hangovers.
There’s a stretch of Fulton Market that’s filled with rows of tents, domes, and greenhouses for outdoor dining. Some of these belong to The Publican, which has an incredible weekend brunch. Their waffle with honey butter and jam is legendary, and whatever else is on the weekly-changing menu is guaranteed to be great. Brunch seatings are limited to no more than 90 minutes, and require a $100 deposit to reserve.
Another restaurant along the same stretch of Fulton Market, Beatrix also has domes, greenhouses, and a heated tent. This restaurant is a particularly good choice when you’re looking for something kind of healthy for brunch - they have plenty of options with things like grain bowls, egg white omelettes, and fresh-pressed juices.
Paradise Park has a huge all-season patio that’s open year round, so even in January you can feel like you’re hanging out on someone’s lawn (the patio has fake grass, swing sets, and pink lawn flamingos). And Friday through Sunday, they offer a “struggle bus brunch” from 10:30am-3pm. Come for things like chicken and waffles, breakfast pizzas, and pulled pork hash. And lots of booze.
Go to Maple & Ash in the Gold Coast for a celebratory brunch. This steakhouse has a heated patio covered by a big fancy tent (complete with a chandelier) and yes, candles on the tables. So if you’re looking for someplace to have an upscale brunch outside, this is it.
Zia's Lago Vista
There are only two reasons we ever go to this Italian restaurant in Lakeview: the fantastic patio and the bottomless brunch. Thankfully their patio is heated and covered, and they’re still offering bottomless brunch. Just be aware of the two-hour table limit.
This Italian restaurant in Hyde Park has two heated and covered patio spaces, and serves weekend brunch. You’ll find sweet dishes like Nutella french toast and chocolate mousse pancakes, along with savory things like carbonara and burrata omelettes. Also worth noting is that their Bloody Mary is garnished with prosciutto, sausage, and mozzarella. So it’s basically a liquid pizza.
One reason we like going to Summer House is because it allows us to pretend it’s not winter. Mainly because it has a literal countdown of days left until summer posted on the wall, but also because of their heated front patio. The menu runs the gamut, with everything from avocado toast and breakfast sandwiches, to pancakes and tofu scrambles. Get a brown butter Rice Krispy treat from the pastry case. Make it brunch - put an egg on it when you get home.
Frontier in Wicker Park is a pioneer-themed restaurant that normally has things on the menu like antelope and water buffalo, but their brunch menu is different. Instead you’ll find more Southern-style dishes, like peach cobbler french toast, biscuits and gravy, and shrimp and grits. But in case you miss that frontier life, they do have a large wood-burning stone fireplace on their all-season patio.
The West Loop doesn’t have many restaurants with views of the skyline, but Cabra, a Peruvian restaurant on the roof of the Hoxton Hotel, happens to have a great one. The space is heated and covered, and the brunch food is delicious. Order the bacon and egg solterito, the delicious french toast with panca syrup, and please make sure someone gets an order of empanadas.
The Moonlighter has heated tents so you can dine out on their large patio. There’s an extensive menu of bar food like waffle fries, nachos, and burgers. And while none of it feels very brunchy, they open at 12 on the weekends and you can always add an egg to the cheeseburger.
You probably already know about MingHin. And it’s a great place to know about - it’s large, has several locations, and is open 365 days a year. It also happens to have the most consistently good dim sum in Chicago. What you might not know is that it also has one of the best outdoor setups in Chinatown. The patio is about six miles long, covered, and has multiple heaters. The menu is seemingly never ending, but we recommend focusing on the dim sum, especially the pork buns and dumplings.
Fiya is a brand new Israeli restaurant in Andersonville, and they have seven domes available for outdoor dining. Each has its own heater, seats up to six, and requires a $100 deposit to reserve one for brunch. Order dishes like shakshuka, khachapuri, or a selection of salatim.
The large outdoor space at El Mariachi has always been a popular spot for brunch, specifically the ones involving the word “bottomless.” And these brunches are still going strong on their heated, partially enclosed back patio. For $26 you get unlimited mimosas, an entree from the brunch menu (which has things like tequila french toast and breakfast burritos), and you’ll even receive a complimentary chocolate abuelita tasting.
This rather quaint French restaurant in the Gold Coast also has a mimosa special for brunch, along with a covered and heated outdoor space. Bistronomic serves dishes like eggs benedict, savory crepes, and quiche lorraine. There’s also a 90-minute limit, so plan accordingly.
Tanta has always had a great brunch, but it’s even more enjoyable when you can hang out on their heated rooftop in the middle of winter. Order specials like shrimp and choclo grits or chicken and picarones, and don’t forget the mimosa peruana with chicha morada.