Chicago needs more restaurants like this beloved Boys Town institution, which, like its equally charming older sibs (Nookies
in Old Town and Nookies Too
in Lincoln Park) is a second home to throngs of devoted fans and just generally one of the friendliest places around.
In the last few years, Nookies has expanded its repertoire with gourmet additions to its regular menu, as well as six inventive specials per season. Oatmeal banana toffee pancakes, a steak and egg tostada and pumpkin pecan flapjacks are a few sample specials from spring, summer and fall, respectively.
But purists need not fret, because Nookies still does old-school items (bacon and eggs, cheeseburgers and a solid cup o' joe) better than anyone. You can order breakfast all the livelong day; choices include omelets, skillets, egg sandwiches, elaborate apple-cranberry crunch pancakes and the ever-popular Jalisco wrap (three eggs, salsa and guacamole wrapped in a tomato tortilla). Speaking of eggs, my latest obsession is the heavenly Smokehouse Fritatta, with smoked gouda, bacon, mushrooms and caramelized onions.
Even if you're not a breakfast-all-day fanatic, come back for dinner. You'll be happy to find entrees like grilled salmon, penne with chicken sausage and 15 (literally) burgers. And you can't go wrong with a hot sandwich, melt, wrap or one of several big salads. As if the prices weren't reasonable enough, Nookies saves you some extra cash with its BYOB policy. What's more, it's open 24 hours on weekends.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Natalie Goldstein