Starex Smith, aka “The Hungry Black Man,” toured many great Black-owned Chicago eateries with his team from Miami.
My favorite brunch spot in all of Chicago, the incomparable Batter and Berries, is located at 2748 N Lincoln Ave. Eater and other ratings publications, except for some odd reason ZAGAT, have all recognized the value of this delicious eatery by ranking it in the top 5 brunch spots in Chicago.
At Batter and Berries, I started with their Cluck & Gravy ($9), house made biscuits served with a southern homemade chicken sausage gravy, coleslaw and an egg. The gravy is on the sweeter rather than salty side, with the biscuit delivering needed salt flavor in addition to being soft and buttery. I recommend this dish for the true biscuit lover. You may want to skip the gravy and simply get the biscuit with your meal and some jelly or preserves.
My next order was a gastronomic masterpiece– their version of chicken and waffles. The Cluck-N-Gaufre (Goof) ($13) is a chicken-stuffed sweet potato waffle topped with a delicious fried chicken breast, drizzled in a nutmeg hot sauce and finally topped with a sweet maple butter. Lord, give me strength! This creation was EVERYTHING! If you are a true foodie, this entree will satisfy every ounce of your being. Savory, sweet, hot, and a hint of spice from the nutmeg provides the taste buds with just about every sensation the good Lord provides.
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There is a specific way you MUST eat this dish to truly enjoy it, so be sure to ask the server how it’s done! Since returning home to Miami I have craved this waffle several times, wondering if Uber Eats would drive there and back.
Up next was yet another winner! I wanted to try each one of Batter and Berries’ French Toast dishes. One order was only $10, so here we go! First up was the Blueberry French Toast, a brioche bread dipped in house made blueberry batter and topped with fresh blueberries. Father God, help me for I have committed the sin of lust! I felt dirty eating such an indulgent and decadent French Toast, only to be topped by the Lemon French Toast, a brioche bread dipped in house made lemon batter, topped with lemon zest, house-candied walnuts.
Get behind me Satan! My stomach will not continue to grow, but yield abs for the summer! Nope, not today as my fork dove into the Caramel French Toast, a brioche bread dipped in house made caramel batter, topped with house-candied walnuts, caramel sauce and their signature maple butter. Nearing the end of my pathetic attempt to reject the Devil and his temptations, I fully committed to devouring these irresistible slices of taste bud bliss with the last (but not least) French Toast, the Strawberry French Toast, a brioche bread dipped in house made strawberry batter and topped with fresh strawberries.
I thought this orgy of gastronomic pleasure had subsided until I realized there was one more piece of French Toast left. Their weekly special was some supernatural concoction including goodness drizzled all over with cinnamon toast crunch bits throughout. I honestly blacked out from the amazing flavor so you’ll have to ask them about that one. I just know it is sinful and unlike any other French Toast in these parts.
Attempting to regain my soul, I ordered something a little more traditional to get my mind right. As a foodie, we can’t push the envelope too far, or there will be no turning back. I settled for the 2748 Steak Sandwich ($14), a rib eye steak with grilled onions, mushrooms, pepper jack cheese and romesco sauce served with a side of fries. Each nostalgic bite bought me back to my hometown of Miami and eating with my friends at the small Cuban spots ordering a steak sandwich. This is a MUST HAVE for sure.
I couldn’t help myself. I just couldn’t leave this place and not try the pancakes. We put in an order of their delicious pancakes and had absolutely no regrets. Fluffy, buttery, and hearty, these pancakes are no frills, and should be drizzled sparingly with hot syrup as not to take away from its amazing flavor. It’s not one of those flavorless pancakes you need a lot of syrup on so remember sparingly! And ask for your syrup to be heated in order to get a true heightened pancakes experience…you’re welcome!
Batter and Berries was worth two visits from me; one to simply dine in and try the place, and the second for my review. That’s usually my method, but ladies and gentleman, I made a third visit simply because the food was outstanding.
Centrally located and super close to downtown Chicago made this place not only convenient but trendy. As a Black-owned establishment, I felt proud to see experienced chefs, managers, hostess, and servers delivering quality service to an extremely diverse clientele. This will definitely go down as one of my favorite brunch spots in the entire nation. It certainly gets the HUNGRY BLACK MAN’S approval and a 10 out of 10. You can check out our second visit for our Facebook live review below. Reach Batter and Berries by phone at (773) 248-7710.
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