Think it's a coincidence that Eggsperience's fourth Chicago-area location is kitty-corner to the famous Excalibur
nightclub? This is good news if you're the type of night owl who needs a cup of coffee and something hot off the skillet before heading home to the pillow. Now you can rub the sleep out of your eyes to owner Peter Sakoufakis' bright and cheery breakfast menu, and do it any hour of the day or night.
The Eggsperience on Ontario St. is open 24 hours, and serves freshly-squeezed orange juice (you can watch the fruit being pressed), java roasted on the spot, and delicious, homemade pancakes, omelets, granola, crepes and waffles, whether the sun has risen or set. Like any culinary-minded Greek, Sakoufakis grew up with breakfast diners, but Eggsperience is a more contemporary, and healthy, take on an old tradition. He raves about the whole-wheat pancakes and egg white omelets.
Eggsperience can hold 230 hungry souls (1,200 people walked through its doors between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the day the restaurant opened in February), and chances are good many of them ate the blueberry pancakes topped with all-natural granola ($8.50), the banana chocolate crepes with Nutella ($9) or Eleni's egg white omelet ($10 and named after Sakoufakis' 5-year-old daughter).
The hearty ones probably filled themselves with the Mediterranean omelet ($9.50), the steak and eggs ($13) or the Tommy Boy skillet ($9.50). If light breakfasts are your thing, start slowly with one of the oatmeal and yogurt options ($5-7). As soon as your stomach wakes up, evolve to the Luscious Lox platter ($13) or the Eggceptional Crepes ($9).
Fresh fruit is an imported luxury in the upper Midwest during the winter months, so why not order a carafe ($9.49) of OJ or grapefruit juice instead of just a glass ($3.49). And if you made the mistake of coming here after breakfast time and before Excalibur closing time and don't feel like breakfast, order a burger, salad, sandwich, wrap or Panini.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jacob Wheeler