Ummm, not if I don’t have to.
If I’m going to get out of my warm bed in winter, it’s got to be for something WORTH the effort. Something that’s a real game-changer. Something with good, stick-to-your-ribs food that gives you a warming glow from the inside out doesn’t hurt either.
Few brunch spots have this magical quality but Wicker Park’s Chop Shop is practically swimming in it. An edgy yet whimsical butcher’s shop/event space/restaurant that feels like a Wonderland of dangerously delicious food and vibrant ambiance.
Yes, I will happily drag myself out of bed for this! The space has the feel of an industrial loft given a Wicker Park make-over of twinkling lights, rusted finishes and worn woods.
Right at the entrance you find yourself face-to-face with Chop Shop’s extensive deli counter where you can grab a variety of freshly made sandwiches and nibbles on the run.
But turn the corner and you’ll see that Chop Shop isn’t just an average deli — they are a full-service butcher with a wide selection of house made sausages and fresh meat cuts too! They even offer classes on how to butcher meats yourself.Upstairs is the restaurant with its relaxed yet industrial atmosphere, playing on the butcher theme in its decor as well.
This beef butchering chart is case in point.
With such an eclectic space, juxtaposing old-time comfort with edgy industrialism all built on the butcher shop theme, you had to know the food was going to be even more unique.I told you I’ll only drag myself out of bed for something GAME-CHANGING and nothing, I repeat nothing, will knock your brunch-loving, winter-weather-hating socks off more than Chop Shop’s Orange Soda!
Served in a footed mug, this boozey brunch libation is composed of Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Solerno blood orange, pineapple juice, orange juice, lemon juice, Fee Bros orange bitters and finally orange cream soda.
It’s an adult creamsicle!! I’m at a loss for words to describe how much I love this drink — truly. As far as unique brunch drinks go, this one is my new favorite. Be warned however: one glass will NEVER be enough! While usually in winter I live off soup (particularly this recipe), every now and then I crave something summer-y to remind myself that sub-zero temperatures aren’t forever. Enter, this beautiful appetizer of House Made Mozzarella Roulade: basil, arugula, spring mix, pickled tomato.
Homemade mozzarella is an art — you need to get the spring and elasticity right without losing the delicate dairy flavors. It’s not a complicated process but so few places actually take the time to make their own. I really don’t understand why because it is SOOOO worth the effort!
Chop Shop’s mozzarella is a work of culinary art — brilliantly complimenting the bright herb and tomato flavors of this roulade without getting lost in the boldness. Few places can actually boast a “caprese” that feels new and adventurous but Chop Shop hit the nail on the head.
And the pickled tomato really takes these flavors to a new level.Wheels of brilliantly flavored cheese and bright herbs and summery tomatoes! Just what I want to eat, mid snowstorm.Hubby also ordered a second drink but I can’t find a description of anywhere online. But, as with everything he ordered at Chop Shop, Hubby loved this!
Then our entrées arrived!
What did I tell you? Stick-to-your-ribs food that will give you a warming glow from the inside out!
Hubby ordered one of the most popular brunch dishes, the Banger Stuffed Portabella. Stuffed to the literal brim with caprese sausage and served with spiced crispy potato, arugula, red onion, and runny egg, this portabella isn’t for the faint of heart! More meat than mushroom, this dish is the sheer definition of traditional stick-to-your-ribs breakfast food and yet feels really innovative and fresh at the same time.
And with Chop Shop’s butchering expertise, you know the sausage is going to floor you!**HUBBY ATTACK** I came to Chop Shop for a serious brunch game-changer of an entrée and ended up with one of the best brunch dishes I’ve had in Chicago.
I ordered Chop Shop’s most famous brunch item: Lobster Polenta Cake Benedict. Served with poached eggs, crab hollandaise, chive, and black pepper, this dish is as delicious as it is photogenic!
My favorite part was how the crab hollandaise lends a seriously addicting marine sweetness to the lobster in the dish. I’ve had crab cake benedicts and lobster hashes but never a lobster benedict combining the best of both worlds!
Every element of this benedict was cooked perfectly with a beautiful lightness in the dish that I’ve never experienced in a benedict before. The poached egg, lobster and polenta cake all married on the dish into a soft melody of flavors that was substantial without feeling heavy.
The lightest and most satisfying benedict I’ve had in Chicago!
In a word, this dish was perfect.
If you find yourself in the Windy City wanting a delicious brunch that makes it’s own rules, not to mention ingredients, when it comes to morning comfort food — look no further than Chop Shop!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.