Brunch can make or break a weekend. When eaten after a long night out it can cure any pain you’re going through, when eaten after a workout it can revive you, and when eaten with bottomless bloody mary’s it can set the tone for Sunday Funday. But the best brunches have three things in common: great food, awesome atmosphere and killer drinks. Saint Lou’s Assembly has all three.
Saint Lou’s, known for their meat N three lunches and dinners, specializes in creative takes on old-school, customizable comfort-food platters. If you opt in for the meat N three menu you choose from multiple options such as skirt steak, duck confit, seared scallops or tikka masala roasted chicken, and then pick three sides to accompany your meal. The sides range from red curry lentils to brown butter sunchokes to a simple green salad, with my favorite being their mac and cheese. It is to die for. You can also opt for just 5 sides, a meal in itself.
Along with the meat n three options you can also choose from a variety of appetizers, sandwiches or salads, all sounding just as great as the meat n three options.
For brunch, they elevate the idea of meat n three to a whole new level—by making a bloody mary out of it. Along with their standard drink options, served at all hours, they have a bloody mary + 3 option. You receive a small sheet of paper with bloody mary options, including the type of liquor and the option to pick three garnishes to accompany your drink. My personal favorite: a vodka bloody mary + cornichon, olive and pickled carrot.
Disclaimer: I typically HATE bloody marys. I know, unthinkable right? I’m not a big fan of tomato juice, so I’ve never really gotten aboard the whole bloody mary thing. There are about 3 places in Chicago where I can say I always get and enjoy (that’s the key, I usually order it and then have buyer’s remorse) a bloody mary, and Saint Lou’s is one.
To keep the “N Three” love going, Saint Lou’s also offers a brunch n three option – my go-to order. All of the options are delicious and more food than anyone should eat in a day all packed into a delicious brunch. The options for your brunch include: chicken fried steak with sausage gravy, buttermilk bisquit and gravy, summer vegetable quiche, fried chicken, pancakes, and french toast. For you three sides you get to choose from a fruit cup, yogurt parfait, potatoes, sausage patty, blintz, bacon, green salad, mac and cheese, and two eggs.
Too much for you to chose from? Similarly to dinner, they offer a few non “n three” menu options as well. For brunch you can choose from different sandwich and omelette options, and a few daily specials offered. I once went when there was a smoked salmon benedict brunch special and it was amazing. Perfectly poached eggs, delicious smoked salmon, and a heaping portion of potatoes on the side. There was an apple slaw on top that wasn’t my jam, but it was easy to pull to the side and enjoy everything around.
But the ultimate brunch option is the brunch n three. The choices are all deliciously flavorful and you end up with too much food to know what to do with. The last time I went I opted for the french toast with the yogurt parfait, mac and cheese, and potatoes. It may be my favorite brunch I’ve found to date.
The french toast came with two huge pieces or perfectly battered french toast. There is nothing I find more disappointing then thin-cut french toast, so I was elated when my plate arrived with thick-cut slices that melted in my mouth. You also get small dishes of butter and syrup if you’d like to use them. The syrup was a delicious addition.
The potatoes are a great pair to any n three menu option. The larger pieces are perfectly softened, while smaller, crispy pieces also make their way onto your plate adding a welcomed crunch into the mix. They’re a great counter-balance to the thick hunks of potato and the soft french toast.
The yogurt parfait served as a nice, lighter option to my plate of carbs, cheese and potatoes. It was very refreshing, although sweeter than I’d expected. It reminded me of a fruit cobbler, which, while tasty, was not what I expected while ordering.
The mac and cheese was the true star of my meal. Their mac and cheese is heaven in a bowl. The noodles they use pick up the cheese well and hold up to it without becoming mushy, something that can destroy even the greatest mac and cheese dishes. The cheese on top bakes wonderfully, while underneath it is thick and gooey. It’s so rich that it is hard to finish in one sitting, especially considering everything else you get with your meal, but reheats wonderfully. If you’re going to take any leftovers I recommend saving some mac and cheese. It travels the best and I can guarantee that the day after Saint Lou’s you’ll be craving more of it.
If you have room after any meal, they have soft serve ice cream – a perfect treat to end a meal at any time of day.
As if the food wasn’t enough to sway you to head over to Saint Lou’s, the space itself is wonderfully inviting. When you enter, you are transported to a retro-style diner that looks like a counter-service restaurant. Instead you are greeted and offered a spot to sit either inside, outside, or inside-outside. My personal favorite is the inside-outside.
If you choose inside, you are seated in the main dining area where you first walk in. It’s a cozy area that makes you forget you’re right next to the expressway.
If you pick the inside-outside seating you head towards to back to an area filled with picnic tables and a few hi-tops. This seating offers you the chance to feel like you’re outdoors while still having a roof over your head and a warm, enclosed space. It’s like having the best of both worlds.
Their backyard (outside) is also a great option. It’s dog-friendly so you can bring your furry friend out for a trip to Lou’s too. One of my favorite reason’s to sit there or inside-outside is so I can see all the pups out back. The patio space is enclosed so you don’t have to see all the traffic from the expressway or people walking by, or worry about your dog barking at everyone walking by on the sidewalk. You can sit at a table, or if you’re just there to enjoy some sunshine and beers you can hangout and play some bocce ball. They’re constantly hosting events out there when the weather is nice, including Cubs World Series games watch-parties, dog Halloween costume contests, bocce parties and more, so be sure to check back in on their events in the spring.
Overall, Saint Lou’s Assembly offers a wide-variety of brunch options in a low-key environment. For the neighborhood you can’t be the prices or the laid-back diner style. If you’re looking for a great place to brunch you have to check it out.