surf globally, eat locally
June 17, 2012

2 Sparrows Fits the Breakfast Bill
By Marcia Frost

I am a huge fan of breakfast for two reasons. First, I work out in the morning so I’m usually more than ready to eat a full meal. Second, breakfast gives me an excuse to eat a plate of sweet things without feeling like I’m doing anything wrong. For these reasons I was thrilled when it was suggested that Cocktails and Joints publisher Dale Winespeare and I check out a new Chicago eatery that specializes in breakfast. And, to make the idea even sweeter, we were told that 2 Sparrows also makes amazing cocktails.

This is a very unique restaurant, but its owners are far from strangers to the business. Partners Gregory Ellis and Steve Fladung grew up together in the suburbs of Chicago, both honing their skills in the restaurant business. Along the way they developed a love of local and sustainable products, in food and drink. They decided to open this small dining room (60 seats) in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The name 2Sparrow represents the Greek mythology that “two sparrows pulled the chariot of Aphrodite.”

The concept of 2Sparrows is to provide what you’d like to eat from 8:00 am-3:00 pm each day. You can call it breakfast, lunch or brunch as the menu is filled with comfort foods from each category. Each item, though, has a unique twist that showcases the skills of Chef Ellis, who once worked the kitchen at Charlie Trotters.

As is my job, I didn’t walk away from 2Sparrows without sampling some of their specialties (which do change seasonally, depending on local ingredients available). It helped that I have a boss who was willing to help me out – especially with the cocktails.

Chef Gregory Ellis brought us samples of most of the drinks on the menu. The 553 was excellent, the perfect brunch mixture of North Shore Gin #6, St. Germain, blueberry, sage and ginger. Our other favorite was the Split Compliment, made from Moon Mountain Vodka, cherry, Sombra Mezcal, Sioux City Ginger Beer and lime.

I’m not big on meat in my cocktails, but Dale liked the Bloody Norseman, with North Shore Aquavit, house made bloody Mary mix, lime, beef jerky and a pickle. For those looking for something a bit lighter and more refreshing, there is a Black Heart 75 (Journeyman Distillery Gin, Santome Prosecco Rose and orange marmalade) and a St. Germain Cocktail (Zardetto Prosecco, St. Germain, soda and a lemon twist). The menu also includes a selection of artisan beers and spirits, as well as some unusual wines.

The lunch menu includes a small, but interesting selection of items such as a Salmon BLT, Veggie Burger with avocado and corn salsa and a Noodle Bowl with pork belly, bok choy and poached egg. We decided to order from the breakfast menu and were not disappointed.

We shared the first two dishes – doughnuts and Pop Tarts. After much deliberation, we settled on the Maple & Bacon Doughnuts (over Tiramisu) and the Nutella Pop Tarts with Raspberry Icing (instead of Foie Gras & Cherry Compote). The Pop Tarts were just incredible, not too sweet, but fully flavorful. The Doughnuts were also good, with a crunch of bacon and a strong maple syrup flavor.

For the main course, Dale played it fairly healthy with a Southwest Quiche (the quiche changes daily), served with fresh greens. I, of course, went for sweet over savory and had a most delicious helping of Buttermilk Pancakes with honey mascarpone, blueberry preserves and fresh maple syrup.

I have no doubt 2Sparrows has already become a favorite morning and afternoon eatery in the neighborhood. I hope to make it back sometime soon to try the Biscuits & Gravy (made with lamb sausage) or Corned Beef Hash (with banger, poached egg and fresh greens). It all sounds good – especially with a homemade Pop Tart on the side.

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