willow room

the prettiest light any restaurant could ask for

It always struck me as strange that a place as beautiful as Willow Room didn’t have a line out the door on weekend mornings, considering it’s practically on brunch row (aka Halsted). I suppose it does get pretty busy, just not like Blue Door or Summer House busy. I guess it’s more loved as a weeknight dinner and drinks spot, but seriously this place basking in soft morning light is pretty damn magical.

The food is good. The prices are as expected for “New American” fare. It hits that perfect brand of restaurant that works just as well for a girls brunch as it does for a date night as it does for a birthday dinner. But honestly some places can just be appreciated for ambiance alone and this place checks all my boxes. Large windows, check. Not too big, check. Orb-y light fixtures, check. Exposed brick, check. Velvet booths, check. Midcentury chairs, check. Do I want to live here? Maybe. Will I be back? Definitely.

the details

Address1800 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Hourslunch 11am-3pm on weekdays, brunch 9am-2:30pm on weekends, dinner/bar 5pm-1am every day
Price$-$$ – brunch entrées run around $15 plus or minus a couple dollars, dinner entrées are generally in the $20-30 range, cocktails $11-13ish
Aestheticintimate, cozy, like you’re dining at your friend with good taste’s beautifully designed home

good to know

Go here for: a nice brunch a block down from the crazier part of Halsted, or a nice dinner and drinks option

Order this: generally a pretty solid menu across the board, though the brussels get a lot of love on Yelp

Amount of time to spend: 1-2 hours for a leisurely meal catching up with friends

When to come: before the brunch rush is nice for a more quiet atmosphere. If you’re coming for dinner and drinks, avoid weekend night crowds.

Parking: it’s about a 5 minute walk up Halsted from North / Clybourn on the red line

Other things to note: 

  • If you’re coming during peak brunch hours or on a Friday night, it’s best to get a reservation.
  • They have a bar and more seating in the basement, for a more quiet experience (apparently it can get pretty loud in the main space).

Last visited: August 2019

Last updated: October 2019

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