Chicago needs more restaurants like this beloved Old Town oasis, which has grown up considerably since it opened as an itty-bitty breakfast "nook" in 1973. Fortunately, Nookies has stepped it up without losing sight of the warmth and supreme friendliness that makes it a second home to throngs of devoted fans.
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.
Digest, take in the Old Town scenery and come back to Nookies for dinner. If you're not a breakfast-at-8 p.m. fanatic, you'll be happy with entrees like grilled salmon, penne with chicken sausage or one of (literally) 15 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. There's also a Nookies Too and Nookies Tree...worth visiting, of course.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Natalie Goldstein