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Over Easy Cafe
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  • Over Easy Cafe

    Post #1 - March 14th, 2006, 11:17 am
    Post #1 - March 14th, 2006, 11:17 am Post #1 - March 14th, 2006, 11:17 am
    I went on vacation for a week and returned to find a new breakfast/lunch cafe in the neighborhood. Metromix reports the chef/owner as Jon Cignarale who previously did work at Tweet, Karyn's Cooked and M. Henry. I looked briefly at the menu: upside-down apple pancakes, "frazzled" eggs with bologna, herbs and spicy maple mustard, to name a few. The Sunday brunch menu seems to rotate weekly.

    Breakfast is served all day every day (except Monday). Maybe I'll check it out this week.

    Over Easy Cafe
    4943 N. Damen
    Chicago, IL 60640
  • Post #2 - March 15th, 2006, 11:34 am
    Post #2 - March 15th, 2006, 11:34 am Post #2 - March 15th, 2006, 11:34 am
    I noticed this place a few weeks ago while driving to Scooterworks.
    Unfortunately, when I attempted to visit the following Sunday (around 11 AM), they were not open. Perhaps they were not yet open for business?
  • Post #3 - March 16th, 2006, 9:23 am
    Post #3 - March 16th, 2006, 9:23 am Post #3 - March 16th, 2006, 9:23 am
    I dined with 8 older Jewish women for breakfast yesterday. All loved it. Now this is rare!
  • Post #4 - March 26th, 2006, 2:11 pm
    Post #4 - March 26th, 2006, 2:11 pm Post #4 - March 26th, 2006, 2:11 pm
    I just ate at Over Easy and it was very good. It's similar in both its menu and decor to some of the other creative, upscale breakfast spots in the city (Orange, M Henry, Bongo Room). I overheard the chef/owner saying that he had previously been at Tweet, Uncommon Ground and M Henry.

    I had the upside-down apple pancake -$8- which was delicious. It's different from Walker Brothers' version in that although they both have a crackly caramelized top, the Over Easy version is more cake-like -- very light. My dining companion had the cajun eggs benedict -$12?-, also very good -- andouille sausage, swiss chard and a slightly spicy hollandaise sauce. The red hash potatoes ($3 as a side) were delicious -- red potatoes diced and cooked w/ red bell peppers and onions.

    Word has obviously spread as we waited 30 minutes for a table at 12:15 today. The chef/owner was very nice to those of us waiting for a table -- on an outside table, near where everyone was waiting, he placed coffee and sliced blueberry muffins. My only complaint was with the temperature of the restaurant thanks to the constantly opening door, but I'll definitely be going back.
  • Post #5 - March 28th, 2006, 9:28 pm
    Post #5 - March 28th, 2006, 9:28 pm Post #5 - March 28th, 2006, 9:28 pm
    I guess BF and I are not so welcoming of this new place.... because previously the space was occupied by Muang Thai, a special Thai restaurant to us. We were a little surprised to find out that a this Overeasy place exists after what seemed like the longest week of "vacation" the Muang Thai owner's note said on the window a few months ago.

    Oh well. :roll: Maybe we'll get over it and check out this place soon...
  • Post #6 - March 28th, 2006, 10:28 pm
    Post #6 - March 28th, 2006, 10:28 pm Post #6 - March 28th, 2006, 10:28 pm
    Nigel wrote:I dined with 8 older Jewish women for breakfast yesterday. All loved it. Now this is rare!


    Excuse me please but if I said I just went to "so-and-so" Italian restaurant w/ 8 older mafia-types.... the forum would be up in arms.

    It seems as though you're implying all older jewish women are impossible to please, and frankly, I find it offensive.
  • Post #7 - March 29th, 2006, 7:38 am
    Post #7 - March 29th, 2006, 7:38 am Post #7 - March 29th, 2006, 7:38 am
    bryan wrote:Excuse me please but if I said I just went to "so-and-so" Italian restaurant w/ 8 older mafia-types.... the forum would be up in arms.

    It seems as though you're implying all older jewish women are impossible to please, and frankly, I find it offensive.


    I understand and take your point about increased sensitivity and offense-taken on the board.

    There are some key distinctions, however, between your two examples: 1) the implication of criminal activity 2) the association of said activity with establishment owners/operators vs. dining companions and 3) the speculative vs. factual nature of the claim.

    I don't mean to diminish the offense you feel from Nigel's statement, but I would like to use this opportunity to encourage people to discuss their offenses privately, via PM, rather than within the threads. Typically, in the latter situation, there is no good outcome, lots of vitriol thrown about, general ill will spread, and lots of behind-the-scenes moderator hand wringing and angst.

    Best case scenario, we all ratchet up our tolerance for perceived slights and insensitive comments to preserve the pretty smooth running conversation that takes place here. Thanks for understanding.

    Please, for further discussion of such issues, post in Site Chat.

    Thanks,

    Aaron,
    for the moderators
  • Post #8 - April 2nd, 2006, 5:33 pm
    Post #8 - April 2nd, 2006, 5:33 pm Post #8 - April 2nd, 2006, 5:33 pm
    Image

    Returning this thread to food, we went here for breakfast on Saturday morning. Over Easy Cafe is a letter-perfect example of the modern-day urban breakfast spot-- interior that combines bright colors, exposed brick, and whimsical touches thematically related to breakfast (eggs, in this case); a menu of nouvelle breakfast creations containing things like sun-dried tomatoes and gouda and natural applewood-smoked bacon, nothing traditional; and a line out the door for its offerings on a weekend morning. (Actually we walked right in and got seated at the last open table at 9, but by 9:20 they were stacked up over O'Hare.)

    Good news is-- it's really good. King's Thursday had simple poached eggs, potatoes and toast, and reported that the eggs were just right. I had a pesto and gouda and such omelet that was really tasty, and admired that, if they're not going to offer true hash browns, the big chunks of potatoes weren't underdone as they always seem to be in such places. One son had this, French toast "spiked" with bananas, which was very good:

    Image

    And the other son had this, they called it an upside-down apple pancake, cooked in an actual cast-iron pan (I saw the imprint of the name on the bottom), which was T-Rex-rific, I mean it-could-end-up-on-my-ten-best-list good:

    Image

    The only downside is that it was pretty dang expensive for breakfast. With tax'n'tip we spent over $50 for four, which pushes Over Easy out of the realm of the weekend favorite place for me. To be honest, I'm not even sure how we got that high, most things were $7 or $8 but I think the drinks (and I just mean orange juice or milk for the kiddies) were pretty steep. Anyway, it was worth it as an occasional place, the quality was outstanding as breakfast goes, but just go in expecting to pay what you're going to pay, is what I'm saying.
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  • Post #9 - April 3rd, 2006, 8:17 am
    Post #9 - April 3rd, 2006, 8:17 am Post #9 - April 3rd, 2006, 8:17 am
    Thanks, Mike. We too like to go out for breakfast, for now our daughter is young enough, we do a couple things to watch the tab - we rarely order juice, we bring her milk in a cup, and we share everything - usually some thing "sweet" - (pancakes, french toast or a waffle) and something eggy (omelet, benedict, or frittata). I think we're going to need one of those apple pancakes before the cubs' game next weekend.

    If we're feeling hungry, we'll add a side.

    Did you get the feeling this would be frowned upon at Over Easy? Some places don't care, some make a stink, but are better with kids...just wondering what the vibe is there and if it was kid-friendly?
    Thanks!
    liz
  • Post #10 - April 3rd, 2006, 8:19 am
    Post #10 - April 3rd, 2006, 8:19 am Post #10 - April 3rd, 2006, 8:19 am
    Seemed perfectly kid friendly to me. I never saw any place object to a small child with a sippy cup-- they may well assume you have formula or something special in it anyway-- but my kids are old enough that I can't do that any more.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #11 - April 20th, 2006, 2:06 pm
    Post #11 - April 20th, 2006, 2:06 pm Post #11 - April 20th, 2006, 2:06 pm
    Had breakfast there last weekend... boy, Mike, were you ever right about the upside-down apple pancake. Man! You know what I thought the best part was? For me? It was the pancake's edge, how the caramel sort of pooled around the edge and got thick and hard and just slightly burnt-- caramelized. (Sort of like a pastry version of Pequod's crust?) Anyway. Man. Good call. Thank you.
  • Post #12 - April 23rd, 2006, 9:54 pm
    Post #12 - April 23rd, 2006, 9:54 pm Post #12 - April 23rd, 2006, 9:54 pm
    We went this morning and I have to add to the general praise. In particular, for a place that's up to its eyeballs in positive buzz, they are really holding up extraordinarily well. We arrived at 9:30 -- 3 adults, 2 kids. The wait was already an estimated 40 min. They had a coffee urn set up at the entrance and were giving out shots along with muffin and pastry bits to those in line. Though the place was full and the kitchen was cranking as fast as it could, the servers showed no strain whatever. The wait list was being well maintained, everyone working was as polite and smiley and friendly as could be. Nor was anyone occupying a table being rushed.

    And, once we were seated, neither the service, nor the plates showed any signs of having been rushed. Things came out in good time, in good order. Coffee was refilled, we were checked in with after the initial drop, and even an extra order of toast, ordered mid-meal, arrived in time to accompany the rest of the main platter.

    My Sassy Eggs were indeed sassy, with a very nice bit of heat from the chorizo hash underneath. The pancake (there is a kid's order of 1 to be had), was a very nice fluffy cakey style, and my wife very much enjoyed the corn cake, goat cheese, etc. thing. (Though she had expected a corn meal cake, something arepoid, from the menu description. In fact, it's a regular flour item, with corn in and on it. Still good.)

    Yup-scale breakfast has its virtues, and they are well represented here. Not to mention the location benefit of Winnemac park a half block away for working off some of the indulgence on a gorgeous day.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #13 - June 22nd, 2006, 12:41 pm
    Post #13 - June 22nd, 2006, 12:41 pm Post #13 - June 22nd, 2006, 12:41 pm
    My mother is in town next week and we are thinking of having lunch--not breakfast--there during the week. Has anyone had their non-breakfast items? Thanks.
  • Post #14 - July 27th, 2006, 11:58 am
    Post #14 - July 27th, 2006, 11:58 am Post #14 - July 27th, 2006, 11:58 am
    I ate breakfast at Over Easy yesterday. I ordered a special - the strawberry-rhubarb french toast with lemon creme anglaise sauce and granola. From the description, this dish sounded delicious but I was a little disappointed in the execution. Specifically, there was a strong alcohol aftertaste as if the lemon creme anglaise had some brandy added to it and it hadn't cooked off completely. It was very distracting from the rest of the flavors in the dish and obliterated the lemon in the creme anglaise sauce. This was disappointing as the french toast and strawberry-rhubarb compote were delicious.
  • Post #15 - August 7th, 2006, 12:21 pm
    Post #15 - August 7th, 2006, 12:21 pm Post #15 - August 7th, 2006, 12:21 pm
    Finally, hubby and I went here for breakfast Saturday morning. It was great - immediate seating and the food ordered was pretty good.

    Mr. Foodie ordered the Sassy Eggs and I ordered the Strawberry french toast.

    I thought it was a little pricey but it was pretty good. Despite the great breakfast, I don't think we will return due to the high prices.
  • Post #16 - August 29th, 2006, 5:39 am
    Post #16 - August 29th, 2006, 5:39 am Post #16 - August 29th, 2006, 5:39 am
    Just an FYI, my partner called me yesterday saying there seemed to be a fire either at Over Easy or the tv-repair (or whatever it is) store next door. We literally live right behind Over Easy thru the alley. Fire was confirmed this morning as I walked the dog—the windows and doors are boarded up. I didn't see a sign of closure, but it absolutely looks as though they're not going to be open until further notice.
  • Post #17 - August 29th, 2006, 8:07 am
    Post #17 - August 29th, 2006, 8:07 am Post #17 - August 29th, 2006, 8:07 am
    That's really sad to hear about a relatively new business just getting off the ground and doing well. Hope everyone is covered.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #18 - September 4th, 2006, 11:57 am
    Post #18 - September 4th, 2006, 11:57 am Post #18 - September 4th, 2006, 11:57 am
    Ms. Corydalus and I walked past Over Easy last night. There are now signs posted by the owner. It was indeed a fire. From the looks of things, it was in the restaurant; the stores on either side seem unscathed.

    The signs say that they will re-open ASAP.

    I only got to eat there once and quite enjoyed it. I hope they can recover quickly.
  • Post #19 - October 1st, 2006, 7:43 pm
    Post #19 - October 1st, 2006, 7:43 pm Post #19 - October 1st, 2006, 7:43 pm
    haven't been down there in a bit -- any update on their reopening?
  • Post #20 - October 1st, 2006, 11:15 pm
    Post #20 - October 1st, 2006, 11:15 pm Post #20 - October 1st, 2006, 11:15 pm
    It's still boarded up and there is no update on the sign.
  • Post #21 - November 22nd, 2006, 1:58 pm
    Post #21 - November 22nd, 2006, 1:58 pm Post #21 - November 22nd, 2006, 1:58 pm
    2 months now. anyone hv news?
  • Post #22 - November 22nd, 2006, 3:07 pm
    Post #22 - November 22nd, 2006, 3:07 pm Post #22 - November 22nd, 2006, 3:07 pm
    Well, there looks to be activity inside, so it looks like they are finally starting the rebuilding process. No word on when they will be up and running again.
  • Post #23 - December 11th, 2006, 8:22 am
    Post #23 - December 11th, 2006, 8:22 am Post #23 - December 11th, 2006, 8:22 am
    Just heard from the chef and owner of Over Easy. The plans are to re-open in January. Good news for me. And more importantly, for him!
    It isn't that I'm not full...
  • Post #24 - January 13th, 2007, 11:21 am
    Post #24 - January 13th, 2007, 11:21 am Post #24 - January 13th, 2007, 11:21 am
    I noticed a Grand Opening sign on the window of Over Easy this morning. I believe it said January 21. Great news!
  • Post #25 - January 16th, 2007, 11:55 am
    Post #25 - January 16th, 2007, 11:55 am Post #25 - January 16th, 2007, 11:55 am
    I believe it's Jan. 21 as well. I was not impressed with this place and think it's way overpriced. There were 3 of us and we were squeezed at a table for 2. They said that's how they seat tables of 3. I ordered an egg entree and it came with one slice of rye toast. I remember thinking it was odd that I only got one slice but didn't mention it to the server. My husband ordered an egg dish that he said was ok. Our friend ordered french toast. It looked good but at $12 I thought it was overpriced. We went to M. Henry recently and I think it's so much better and less expensive. I wouldn't go back to Over Easy--there are much better options in my opinion.
  • Post #26 - January 17th, 2007, 8:28 am
    Post #26 - January 17th, 2007, 8:28 am Post #26 - January 17th, 2007, 8:28 am
    Rudy,

    Sorry to hear you had a bad time there. Was the $12 french toast a special? As far as I can remember, the regular banana and strawberry french toast options were a few dollars less than that. I've always thought the food here was excellent, and though the service was not the best when it first opened, I think it got better after they were open a couple months. It does get crowded, though, so if you're averse to crowds it's better to go during the week. Personally, I'd prefer to squeeze in at a table than to wait longer to be seated more comfortably.

    The prices are not cheap, as it's not a greasy spoon breakfast place, but I think it serves good food at reasonable prices, and it fills a need in its location, as the crowds would indicate.

    It's interesting you mention M. Henry, as the chef used to work there before he opened his own place.

    Love,
    John
    It isn't that I'm not full...
  • Post #27 - January 17th, 2007, 12:30 pm
    Post #27 - January 17th, 2007, 12:30 pm Post #27 - January 17th, 2007, 12:30 pm
    drove by this morning, the sign says Jan 23rd.
    Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses, he knowses his toeses aren't roses, as Moses supposes his toeses to be.
  • Post #28 - January 28th, 2007, 11:57 am
    Post #28 - January 28th, 2007, 11:57 am Post #28 - January 28th, 2007, 11:57 am
    Image

    Pleased to report that Over Easy is back in business and looks and acts almost exactly like it was before the fire. (The only difference is new photos on the walls, I believe-- I seem to remember some urban scenes before, now it's closeups of fruits and vegetables.) First son had the thing we've been waiting for all these months, the upside-down apple pancake:

    Image

    It's even bigger than it looks, all of us had bites and even so it didn't get finished. Second and, this morning, hammier son had "Emily's Favorite Pancakes," with rasp- and blackberries:

    Image

    Dad had conservative, but undeniably photogenic, salmon benedict:

    Image

    A few getting-back-into-the-groove glitches, nothing major, potatoes were on the underdone side (somehow I suspect a half hour later that complaint took care of itself), Emily's pancakes a little too fluffy-dry, service slightly out of practice in trying to fill my coffee cup every time I took a sip-- another week or two and such minor quibbles will probably be gone, since the previous staff reportedly all came back after the five months' hiatus (I recognized a couple of them) and when it was at its height of land-office business last summer or fall it was a well-run machine. (This morning, the place was full briefly at 8:45 but tables opened up regularly; I wouldn't be surprised if lines were forming later this morning, though, as they used to even before 9 am on Sunday.)

    Owner-chef Jon Cignarale came out to tell another patron that something was on its way and I congratulated him on coming back. "I'm just glad to be cooking instead of dealing with paperwork," he said, and then added, referring to the business of building out a restaurant, "If insanity is doing the same twice...."
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #29 - January 28th, 2007, 2:17 pm
    Post #29 - January 28th, 2007, 2:17 pm Post #29 - January 28th, 2007, 2:17 pm
    Mike G wrote:(The only difference is new photos on the walls, I believe-- I seem to remember some urban scenes before, now it's closeups of fruits and vegetables.)


    Nope - that's what it was before. I remember trying to play "guess that fruit/vegetable" during my meal.
  • Post #30 - March 25th, 2007, 10:06 am
    Post #30 - March 25th, 2007, 10:06 am Post #30 - March 25th, 2007, 10:06 am
    Beef and Cheddar Benedict

    I don't think on paper it sounds especially good, perhaps something the good folks at Arby's dreamt up, but it is one fine dish.

    Instead of ham or canadian bacon, it's meltingly tender hunks of braised beef that has the texture and flavor of short ribs, but may have been a very well marbled shoulder-- with crispy bits along the edges where the fat had carmelized during the reheating process. The beef sits on top of a modest bed of sauteed spinach which sits on top of a toasted and buttered English muffin. The Hollandaise is replaced with a mornay sauce made with a sharp cheddar. The sauce is judiciously spooned over the perfectly poached eggs. A couple bits of tomato and fresh herbs garnish this genius benedict. It's served with new potato hash browns and for $12, I think it's a steal.

    Good coffee (Julius Meinl), great service. We got there around 8am on a Sunday morning and the room was about 1/4 full. By the time we left, there was a line forming, and for good reason...

    The place is good.

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