Looking for dessert pancakes and gourmet omelets? Skip Savoy. Looking for diner-style skillets and eggs? Then pull up a chair at this bar and grill, located on the ground floor of the Essex Inn
in the South Loop. Simple pancakes, French toast and Belgium waffles are offered, as well as omelets made to order, but much of the breakfast menu is devoted to Savoy's specialty, the skillet, made of soft shredded hash browns cooked with vegetables, meats, two eggs and a heap of cheese. Try the Savoy skillet, with ham and three types of cheese, the Kayiana skillet, with feta, tomatoes and peppers, or the Butcher Shop skillet, with bacon, ham and sausage. For dinner the menu branches out to Greek, Italian and Mexican dishes, as well as ribs, roast sirloin and fried shrimp.
You can also enjoy a drink at the large bar that dominates the front room of the restaurant, regularly serving those staying at the hotel upstairs. The back room is lined with vinyl booths and wooden tables, and music memorabilia covers the walls. Look for the original mural that charts the history of jazz in Chicago.
The wait staff is wry and quick and the atmosphere is more relaxed that you'd imagine given the bustling sidewalk outside. During the warmer months, grab a seat at a table on the outdoor patio and people-watch while you savor your skillet.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Rockwood