By The Black Foodies
Since its 2012 opening, Batter & Berries, located at 2748 North Lincoln Avenue in the Lincoln Park Neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side, has grown to be the standard for breakfast and brunch in Chicagoland. The Black Foodies were hearing countless rave reviews for so long that we decided to make our way over to see what all the hype was about. Upon arrival, we were impressed by the royal colors on the exterior of the place – purple and gold – and we wondered if there was a connection with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and, sure enough, Co-owner, Craig Richardson, is a proud member. He told us, though, that the color scheme chosen for the restaurant was pure coincidence. Inside, the space was packed and vibrant, and we were promptly seated and given menus.
I started things off with the “We’re Movin’ On Up” Executive from the breakfast menu. It consisted of a 7 oz. Angus rib-eye steak, smothered with grilled onions and mushrooms, in a Cabernet sauce. The Cabernet sauce is made from the Love Cork Screw line of wines by Chrishon Lampley. It also came with two eggs cooked to order, along with Batter & Berries’ cheese-crusted hash browns. This was one of the best breakfast plates I had eaten in a long time. The rib-eye was flawlessly executed! It was super tender with some charring on the fat marbling that added those extra notes of smokiness that I really appreciate. The sautéed onions and mushrooms were perfect companions for the steak. The onions provided a slight sweetness, while the mushrooms brought an earthiness to the dish that bode well with a Cabernet sauce, tying everything together. The hash browns were, in one word . . . delicious! Cheddar cheese was gently folded into the hash browns, while some of the cheese was melted and some caramelized, creating a contrast in the cheddar’s texture and taste. Lightly dusted with salt, the end result was an amazing bite. My eggs were sunny-side-up and very well prepared, with shredded cheddar sprinkled on top. Needless to say, I ate every morsel!
Miss Coretta had the Super French Toast Flight which included a strawberry, lemon, caramel with candied walnuts, blueberry, and an Oreo stuffed French toast. While all of the different flavors are certainly crowd-pleasers, two from the Super French Toast Flight really stood out to her. The stuffed Oreo and the caramel with candied walnuts stole the show. The caramel was creamy and satisfying and the candied walnuts were like small nuggets of goodness atop the French toast. That being said, the star of the show was the French toast itself. The brioche proved to be a wonderful vessel for soaking up the custard mixture and was prepared in a manner that left the inside moist and the exterior crusty, making for a very special dish. Yummy! If you are an Oreo cookie fan, then the stuffed Oreo French toast is certainly for you. This creation just screamed overindulgence. The chocolate and whipped cream combination, with bits of Oreo cookies, really worked well together and had a cookies and cream vibe going on. This dish also comes with maple butter. Caution use at your own risk. It may just send you into unbridled ecstasy. FYI the stuffed Oreo cookie French toast is a specialty item not always on the menu.
Next, we decided to venture into the sandwich section of the menu, and I ordered the Grown Up Grilled Cheese & Tomato. As a child, I loved grilled cheese sandwiches, and this version did not disappoint. It was a triple-decker sandwich with four different cheeses: cheddar, jack, smoked Gouda and American. Made with a pan Italiano bread, it also had caramelized onions, with crushed tomato relish on the side. When I bit into this sandwich, a warm and comforting feeling settled within me. I was transported back to my childhood, back to the days when grilled cheese reigned supreme. This sandwich had all the components for a successful grilled cheese – buttery bread, housing not one but four delicious melted cheeses, stacked high with sweet onions layered throughout. But, what took this sandwich to the next level was the tomato relish. OMG! This spin on marinara sauce was slightly sweet, with a back note of heat and a full punch of flavor. Man, this was some good stuff and when eaten with the grilled cheese, it had me looking around for my mommy. It took me back to 1976 . . . eating grilled cheese sandwiches and watching Scooby-Doo. What a beautiful time in my life.
Miss Coretta tried the Delilah’s-8000th Tequila Chicken Sandwich. It consisted of an Ancho-lime grilled chicken breast, fresh tomato with cheddar cheese, pickled red onions and a tequila barbecue sauce on pan Italiano bread. This sandwich was good but – for our pallets – lacked balance. The chicken breast itself was moist and well prepared; however, the tequila barbecue sauce with the pickled onions – while tasty – overwhelmed the sandwich. Being lime-a-holics, we really missed tasting the citrus notes of the Ancho-lime flavor we expected. But, overall, it was an above average bite.
Owners of Batter & Berries, husband and wife Craig and Dr. Tanya Richardson, have put together a destination restaurant to be proud of. Any time south siders regularly make the pilgrimage to Chicago’s north side, you know something is being done right. The food was outstanding and the service attentive and friendly (our server was an absolute hoot!). Speaking with Mr. Richardson, I got the sense that he is not only proud of the aforementioned but also proud of the fact that he hires people from the community, and for that I applaud this dynamic duo. So, yes, you can believe the hype. Batter & Berries is “all that,” and they made me feel like a kid again. Thanks, Mr. and Dr. Richardson!
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three…four, with five being the best. Batter & Berries receives 4 1/2 kisses. Check out the video of our review https://youtu.be/i0S1_VL6UiQ
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 26 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review Black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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