An excuse to dine in your jammies
Mini tradition that I wish would catch on in a big way
Pajama brunches: There's nothing quite so entertaining as sitting down to brunch in a room full of nominal adults wearing brightly colored flannel. (Tribune Co. file photo)
- Dining and Drinking
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2024 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
2005 West Roscoe Street, Chicago, IL 60618, USA
950 West Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
1747 North Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
260 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA
116 West Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
There's nothing quite so entertaining as sitting down to brunch in a room full of nominal adults wearing brightly colored flannel. Factor in the condition in which most of us greet the new year — eyes bleary, headachy, overserved and underhydrated — and the sight of a stubble-faced 40-year-old in Batman PJs can bridge the gap between the real and surreal as few experiences can.
Pajama brunches, which encourage customers to show up in their jammies, and even reward them for doing so, have been growing in popularity the last few years. It may already be too late to get a table at some of the restaurants I've listed below.
If you're a newbie, some advice: It's true that you're not required to wear pajamas; every year you can spot a few normally dressed folks. Don't be like them. Even the restaurant workers and managers are in jammies, for crying out loud. In a room full of 42-long onesies, the shirt and khaki guy looks like the office nerd who missed the memo.
And forget about spotting women in nighties. It's January. Think ankle-to-chin coverage. La Crosse, not La Perla. Imagine the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Fargo. The last pajama brunch my wife and I attended, she was rocking polka-dot flannel jammies and wool booties with faux-fur trim. Guests have accessorized with hair curlers, facial masks and stuffed animals. You really want to look the part? Leave your hair the way you found it that morning.
So, with obligations defined and expectations appropriately calibrated, here are a few New Year's pajama brunches:
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. This will be the ninth annual New Year's pajama brunch for this lively Spanish restaurant. Chow down on eggs, French toast or hot and cold tapas; wash 'em down via the build-your-own bloody mary bar or with pitchers of sangria. All pajama-clad guests will get gift certificates equal to the price of their meal (tax and tip not included) to use on a future visit. 2024 N. Halsted St., 773-935-5000
Kitsch'n On Roscoe. Now technically, Kitsch'n on Roscoe calls its New Year's Day service a Hangover Brunch, a Roscoe Village tradition since 1998. But pajamas are strongly encouraged, and they qualify guests for door prizes. Menu stars include the coconut-crusted French toast and the chilaquiles "levanta los muertos" (raise the dead). Brunch goes to 4 p.m. 2005 W. Roscoe St., 773-248-7372
McGee's Tavern & Grill. Annual New Year's Day pajama party features a brunch menu and $8 bloody marys. And bowl games. Lots and lots of bowl games. 950 W. Webster Ave., 773-868-8073
Mindy's HotChocolate. Mindy Segal's sixth annual pajama brunch usually sells out, so get cracking. Hot and cold items and wonderful sweets make this a brunch not to miss. 1747 N. Damen Ave., 773-489-1747
Mon Ami Gabi. I keep waiting for another suburban restaurant to jump on this bandwagon, because the Oak Brook location of Mon Ami Gabi sells out its pajama brunch every year. The French-inflected brunch menu is augmented by a build-your-own bloody mary bar and mimosas from the rolling champagne cart. All pajama-clad guests get gift certificates equal to the price of their meal (tax and tip not included) to use on a future visit. 260 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-472-1900
Slurping Turtle. First-ever pajama brunch. Complimentary cinnamon-brioche doughnuts start a menu that includes hot and cold tapas, noodle dishes and bincho-grill items. And all pajama-clad guests get gift certificates equal to 50 percent of their total bill, good on a subsequent visit. 116 W. Hubbard St., 312-464-0466