After a yearlong hiatus, brunch at Jerry's Restaurant in Winnetka returned in February due to popular demand. With a menu filled with classic dishes showcasing fresh ingredients, it’s a treat well worth getting up early for.
Jerry’s began offering brunch two years ago, but it really took off when The Chicago Tribune named their cornflake-crusted French toast the best French toast of the year.
“It was a winner right from the start,” said Jerry’s founder Betsy Simson.
Simson, a Wilmette resident, said the small brunch menu was designed to feature “foods that we thought would be luxurious and wonderful,” also adding in a few favorites from the lunch menu for the later crowd. The restaurant isn’t equipped with a griddle for pancakes or waffles, leaving them to focus on doing excellent versions of other breakfast fare.
The space is small, but there was plenty of seating when we visited at 1 p.m. A large family was enjoying their meal in a nook by the window overlooking Winnetka’s sunny streets, and a few seniors and couples were eating at the two-person wood and marble tables. Overall the vibe is intimate and cheerful.
The restaurant’s contract with Julius Meinl was one of the reasons Simson decided to bring back brunch. She said guests love leisurely sipping the Viennese-style cappuccinos and espressos. If you’re not a coffee fan, try Jerry’s juice. The blend features whatever the chef likes. It was heavy on the grapefruit when we were there, making it a refreshing if tart complement to the restaurant’s rich fare.
Jerry’s bread is a hit for the lunch crowd, so for brunch the restaurant offers cornbread and honey as a complimentary starter. It’s light, crispy and so good it’s easy to understand why they offer an option to order more ($3). The mini-cinnamon rolls ($3) also make a great starter. The small size keeps the gooey treats from being overwhelming for anyone who doesn’t have a big sweet tooth.
Many farmer’s markets are still closed, but the farmer’s veggie omelet ($12) features ultra-fresh mushrooms and green and red peppers packed into the fluffy eggs. They’re served with a side of herb-covered thick cut red potatoes that are so good you might want to order a side of them ($3) if you aren’t an egg fan.
The French toast ($11) lived up to its reputation. The inside is fluffy, while the exterior is covered in crispy flakes. The dish is topped with maple syrup, orange butter and orange slices, and the citrus helps cut through the powerful sweetness. It’s excellent, though the richness makes it a dish best shared.
One of Jerry’s cooks is Mexican and he added huevos rancheros ($12) to the brunch menu. The complex and beautifully presented dish features a crispy shell loaded with a mix of potatoes and ground beef, topped with a fried egg and big slices of fresh avocado. The top is drizzled with a light salsa and sour cream. The vibrant mix of colors, textures and tastes made it an easy favorite of the meal.
Brunch at Jerry’s has an elegant feel, but the prices are so reasonable that you can easily become a regular. Make your reservations now since this is not a meal to miss.
Have you dined a Jerry's? Tell us what you think in the comments section.