I feel like there are way too many restaurants that I ask myself “how did I not eat here sooner?!” after visiting for the first time. I guess with the never-ending, ever-evolving list of great restaurants in Chicago, it’s not really surprising. Carriage House in Wicker Park is the latest on my wish-I-visited-sooner restaurants, but and I made up for it by visiting for brunch twice in one month…and it was amazing on both occasions!
The name of the game at Carriage House is “a taste of down south, up north” and I think they do a wonderful job bringing this mantra to life with both the space and the food. The dining room is filled with natural light (perfect for food photography!) and has a little bit of contemporary mixed in with some good ol’ rustic charm. The food is obviously fantastic and I love how they’ve found a way to put a modern, unexpected twist on some Southern favorites.
Their Lowcountry cuisine looks so ridiculously good it’ll have you drooling with anticipation as you watch your neighbor’s meals come out of the kitchen…and trust me, it tastes every bit as good as it looks! Here’s my advice-start with a cup of their French press coffee and an order of the Apple Cider Donuts. I always love a good cup of freshly ground French press coffee and Carriage House’s cup was no exception. The apple cider donuts are served warm, a little crispy on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside, smothered in spiced sugar, and served with a lovely mulled wine caramel sauce for dipping. A refined version of coffee & donuts that does not disappoint!
Now that you’re warmed up it’s time for the main event. My absolute favorite dish that was ordered on both visits is the chicken & biscuit. Perfectly fried chicken, buttermilk biscuit, and pimiento cheese and sausage gravy, served with a side of the BEST crispy breakfast potatoes you could ever imagine. Don’t miss this dish!
A few other big winners were the Shrimp with grits, hunter gravy, and tasso; the Fried Green Tomatoes with whipped pimento cheese, spicy hominy, creamed ham, buttermilk vinaigrette, and fried egg; the Mushrooms with grits, truffle vinaigrette soft egg, and grilled chicory; and the Johnnycake with apple preserve and maple syrup. (Mushrooms and johnnycake not pictured because we began to devour it before I remembered to snap a picture!) Big props for their generously portioned side dishes as well; they’re perfect for sharing…unless you feel like a plate full of bacon all to yourself!
I know I probably haven’t made your decision on what to order much easier by listing nearly everything on their brunch menu, but bottom line is that you can’t really go wrong. Wait, I take that back. You can go wrong…if you don’t try the fried chicken…and the donuts! Just kidding…kind of. Anyways…make your way to Carriage House ASAP, if you haven’t already, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. I’m definitely not the only one who has some major love for Carriage House, so make sure to make reservations before heading in!
Carriage House is located at 1700 W Division in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Reservations can be made via OpenTable.