It’s true that in Chicago, winter brunch means no alfresco dining, but you could say this weekend ritual makes up for what it lacks with other charms. Like a few weeks ago, just days after Christmas: three of us walked down shoveled sidewalks, fat flakes of snow falling all around us, out of that cold and into the exposed brick walls, white twinkling lights and contemporary style of Deleece in Lakeview.

tea deleece

his tea

Seated at the back end of the wall lined by small tables, we kept our coats on and ordered hot tea, our waitress bringing steaming water in individual glass carafes with black-rimmed necks that make them easier to handle.

deleece inside

street view from inside

From where I sat on the wall side, cradling my mug between my warming hands, I had a full view of the restaurant: nicely sized with room for customers to get in and out (unlike another brunch spot I visited recently), a wide bar, loads of streaming sunlight pouring in through the front wall of windows to the street.

deleece menu

granola breakfast

Beyond warmth though, there is this: Of course I can’t speak for you, but on a Sunday in December, I tend to have a much bigger appetite than on one in August. I made full use of it at Deleece. After a starter (Deleece’s words, not mine) of homemade, cluster-filled granola with vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit as sweet as summertime ($5) loaded into a bowl much more like a platter, I moved onto my main entree: two scrambled eggs, crisp herbed breakfast potatoes and toast with butter and honey on top ($5), and I ate every bit of it all, fully satisfied.

eggs and potatoes and toast

(I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed myself:)



In fact, by the end of the meal, it was hard to think of anything to complain about on that bright Sunday afternoon, when we walked out with full bellies, into the streets turned near-silent by snow, and stepped into the car, headed home.

Deleece Restaurant
4004 North Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613-1909
(773) 325-1710
*Deleece on

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Ruth

    Hi. I’m visiting from mjmuth. Beautiful pictures! And I like your style. I’ll definitely be back. :)

  2. DavidM

    Deleece has been one of my favorite restaurants for almost fifteen years. As life has changed for me, I haven’t been there for a while — but it’s nice to know that the good ones are still chugging along. (Of course, “chugging” unintentionally implies a certain weightiness or girth, possibly inspired by the description of your meal and in no way intended as a commentary on either you, your dining companions or Deleece itself!) :-)

  3. Anne

    I am headed to Chicago in a couple of weeks — can’t wait! Any tips for dining downtown? I am meeting another out-of-town friend for a dinner.

  4. giao

    i lived in lakeview, but sadly, never knew deleece. sounds like a perfect brunch spot to hole up in for a few hours for warm conversation.

  5. Gemma

    That sounds good – I love going out for breakfast and granola followed by scrambled eggs sounds just about perfect for this time of year. I would comment on how cold it is here at the moment but guessing it is nothing compared to January in Chicago!

  6. Tim

    Sounds cold. Actually, I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of starting a group for food bloggers. It is going to be named
    “Let’s all move to the Caribbean and eat food al fresco”

    Our purpose will be to fulfill our mission statement, which happens to be our name.

  7. Anne

    I am in, Tim.

  8. Misty

    All I can say is… WANT!!! What a fabulous brunch.

  9. The Leftoverist

    Yum. I’ve been to Chicago twice, to visit my then-boyfriend who went to college there. We’re married now :), that was a long time ago, and we were just talking about how we’d like to go back. Thanks for this little taste of your neighborhood.

  10. bodelou

    this sounds great. breakfast/brunch is my favorite meal of the day, by far. being in chicago burbs i am always looking for a new spot to visit in the city. weekend excursions are the best. looks like this has moved onto my list!

  11. Kim

    This post just about makes me want to live where it snows…just so I can escape the snow into a cozy warm place like this.

  12. novelista barista

    wow that plcae looks awesome!!!

  13. Caitlin

    Brunch is probably the best invention ever, isn’t it? Perfect way to spend a morning.

  14. Shannalee

    Ruth, Glad to have you! Thanks for saying hi.

    DavidM, Ha! Don’t you worry; I won’t take “chugging” personally (although maybe I should at least after all I ate that day!). Nice to hear from someone who’s a long-time fan of Deleece. Thanks for saying so!

    Anne, Which neighborhood will you be in? Are you primarily in the Loop? I’m mostly familiar with the North Side, but I’d love to send some suggestions your way. E-mail me – shannalee [at] foodloveswriting [dot] com!

    Giao, It’s so fun to have a former Chicagoan reading. Have we talked about what your fav brunch spots were? I’d love to know!

    Gemma, You’re sweet. I think I’m just a bad sport about the cold weather, but I’m working on it — good brunches help!

    Tim, Excellent. Sign me up and when can we leave? Anne’s already in, so I think we’re on to something.

    Misty, Ha! Indeed.

    Leftoverist, Oh, you’re kidding! A Chicago love story. You two should make a return trip for sure, just not now, ha. Wait (for your own sake) until we’re looking pretty again, say May? maybe June? Oh, I hope those months come soon.

    bodelou, I’ve grown up in the ‘burbs myself – while they’re harder to find, brunch places do pop up in some of the little downtowns. Do you know Blueberry Hill (several locations) or Harner’s in Aurora?

    Kim, Wow. If this post made a Californian wish for snow, it has exceeded my wildest dreams. I’d still take your neighborhood, especially now! PS almost finished your jam this morning and yummm it’s been so nice.

    Novelista, Thanks!

    Caitlin, Yes. I love love brunch.

  15. Kim

    I’m so glad you are enjoying the jam! And not to make you jealous, but I was gallavanting around town today in jeans and a light long-sleeved shirt. Granted, I wore a scarf and jacket when I left the house this morning, and probably will when I leave work, but it is really “ok in just long sleeves and a sweatshirt” weather out here. :)

  16. Shannalee

    Kim, Jealous, jealous, jealous! The next time I can wear a light shirt and jeans out of the house will be in say, 12 weeks?

  17. Kim

    Eek! We’ve been talking about moving to “where it snows” some day, and it’s a little scary to me. It will be an adjustment to be sure!

  18. Susan

    Your photos are so beautiful! I want to go to Chicago!

  19. kamran siddiqi

    Shanna, woah! Your photos are always so gorgeous! I think I need to make a trip to Chicago, now…

  20. My First Kitchen

    Will you take me there when I come visit you? And I like having friends with appetites as big as mine.

  21. jessiev

    hoo boy, you ALWAYS make me hungry…what a lovely, lovely brunch!

  22. lo

    The experience of this was just gorgeous. Thanks for letting us tag along! And thanks for having a real appetite! So much good stuff you’d miss otherwise!

  23. redmenace

    Sounds SO good, but I can’t say I miss the Chicago winters!

  24. Shannalee

    Kim, Are you really?? That’s amazing that you’re even willing to consider it, I think. For now though, enjoy every bit of sunshine you get!

    Susan, Aw, thank you! And come!

    Kamran, You’re kind. You know I’m loving my new camera, and winter daylight isn’t so hard to look at, right?

    My First Kitchen, Kendra, if and when you come to Chicago, we will go anywhere you like. Come!

    Jessie, What a nice thing to say! I hope I do make you hungry!

    Lo, Thank you! So true about the appetite – I take it when it comes, and it comes much stronger when my body’s trying to keep from freezing!

    RedMenace, Thanks so much! And oh boy, I am right there with you on winter.

  25. Jessica

    Wow I don’t know if I heard about this place but I love the decor and the food looks delicious!

  26. julie

    Ooooh looks like a fun spot for brunch. I will definitely have to keep that in mind 😉

  27. Shannalee

    Jessica & Julie – I am amazed at how many great brunch spots there are in the city. I want to visit them all! :)

  28. Sara

    i love your brunch posts. seriously the best meal. Those eggs look so perfect!

  29. Shannalee

    Thanks, Sara. Brunch IS the best meal. Yes!

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