by Amy Cavanaugh
1840 West North Avenue
Hours: Tue-Fri, 5pm-2am; Sat, 11am-3am; Sun, 11am-2am; Closed Mondays
When your requirements for brunch are seriously good cocktails, dishes beyond eggs and pancakes, and football on TV, The Southern’s brunch delivers. The Wicker Park restaurant, which serves up, yes, Southern-tinged dishes, offers a well-edited menu of entrees and sides both weekend days.
The cocktail menu is stacked with warm sips for warding off the chill, like the Perky Pumpkin, made with pumpkin rum, Metropolis Coffee, and whipped cream; or Seedling Farms’ hot apple cider spiked with Sailor Jerry rum. For something cooler, the maple bacon Manhattan, garnished with a curved slice of bacon, is like breakfast in a glass. The beer list has a Southern theme, but you can get a Metropolitan Krankshaft on draft, or select from the extensive bourbon menu.
For entrees, you won’t go wrong with the shrimp and grits ($13), which boast five perfectly cooked shrimp in a pool of cheese grits, and accents of sweet roasted peppers and onions. There’s a faint kick of Frank’s Red Hot, but spice lovers can ask for an added shot of sauce in the form of Frank’s and Tabasco bottles on the side.
Other options include the Charleston Benedict ($12), which updates the classic eggs Benedict with crab cakes, apple, poached eggs, and mustard; the bananas foster French toast ($10), which features thick slices bread toped with caramel, maple syrup, and rum anglaise; and fried chicken and biscuits doused in gravy ($14). It’s not a light menu, by any means, but one that will warm you up.
While the Southern’s patio is an ideal spot for kicking back in the summer, head inside for a seat at the bar or get a table, and watch a game on one of the televisions scattered around the room. Watching football is rarely this delicious.