Your donation will support the student journalists of the Evanstonian. We are planning a big trip to the Journalism Educators Association conference in Boston in November 2022, and any support will go towards making that trip a reality. Contributions will appear as a charge from SNOSite. Donations are NOT tax-deductible.
Evanston’s Best Breakfast
January 27, 2023
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s important that it tastes great and fills you up. Whether you crave crispy hash browns, freshly squeezed orange juice, or perfectly fluffy pancakes, one of Evanston’s many breakfast restaurants can appease your appetite. Each one has a unique atmosphere and a menu packed with signature items that delight their customers. We asked ETHS students what their favorite Evanston breakfast restaurants were, here are the top three.
Winner: Walker Bros.
The ideal spot for morning meals, Walker Brothers doesn’t just flip the perfect pancake. If you ever find yourself looking for a to-die-for spot for a family breakfast or large gathering, Walker Brothers Pancake House is the place for you! Located on the border of Evanston and Wilmette on Green Bay sits a classic family-friendly breakfast restaurant.
Serving breakfast since 1960, Walker Bros’ has been open for almost 63 years! While the building is located on one of Evanston’s busiest streets, the restaurant manages to keep a warm and cozy atmosphere with stained glass light fixtures and comfy booths arranged with wooden tables. The inviting ambiance attracts many residents of both Evanston and Wilmette and has been chosen as a favorite by many ETHS students.
Sophomore Serena Jones chose this Walker Bro’s as her favorite because of “its close proximity.”
“I like having breakfast with my family there because of their welcoming environment,” senior Stella Ward adds. Walker Bro’s is a clear winner when it comes to location and atmosphere.
It’s safe to say Walker Bros’ has mastered the art of flipping pancakes, butpancakes aren’t the only star items on the menu. Walker Bros’ offers a wide range of delicious dishes from pancakes to waffles, french toast, omelets and breakfast meats.
Many students have voted the Apple Pancakes as their go-to order, however, senior Amanda Nelson says, “My favorite thing to order are the hash browns”. So whether it is a savory or sweet breakfast dish you are craving, Walker Bros’ has you covered.
Service also plays a big role in its overall rating. Walker Bros’ service receives ratings that are off the charts. No one likes waiting hours for their food to come. Thankfully, the servers there get the job done—the food arrives fast and hot!
Well, what makes their service great? Junior Elise Pollack explains, “My food always comes pretty quick, I never have to wait much longer than 15-20 minutes.”
As sophomore Esther Mueller says, “it is the best breakfast place in the area.”
Be sure to stop by next time you’re looking for a bite.
Runner-Up: Ovo Frito Cafe
Located just a few blocks north of downtown Evanston on Maple Avenue, Ovo Frito Cafe’s bright atmosphere, five-star service and extensive menu make it the perfect spot to enjoy an early or mid-morning meal.
Ovo Frito “started as a dream for an American dream,” as co-founders Roberto Flores and Zinnia Iglesias put it on the website. The husband and wife team worked a combined three jobs for over 13 years before finally opening their cafe in July of 2017—it immediately took off.
The menu is, no doubt, the main factor in Ovo Frito’s success. The sheer size of it is sure to have you struggling between a “delicious craving” (something sweet), a classic omelet (perhaps what they’re most known for) or maybe something from the “breakfast eggsquisities” section. The many unique American and Mexican-influenced dishes range from cinnamon pancakes to chorizo to equally delicious vegetarian and vegan options.
“One of my favorite things to order at Ovo Frito is the Zarzamora French Toast,” freshman Chloe Von Hoff says. “It’s french toast filled with pastry cream and has blackberries on the top.” She also recommends washing it down with a steaming cup of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
I took Chloe’s advice and tried the Zarzamora French Toast for myself. If you have a sweet tooth, this dish is made for you. A river of sweet cream and fresh blackberries sit sandwiched between two pieces of brioche french toast. Topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream, every flavor present in the Zarzamora French Toast perfectly compliment each other to create a great experience for your taste buds.
From what I’ve heard, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Freshman Ethan Martin agrees.“Everyone’s meal at the table was delicious and paired well together.”
Aside from the menu, the bright, welcoming environment contributes to the restaurant’s success as well. Translating to “fried egg” in Portuguese, Ovo Frito takes inspiration directly from their name for their decorations. Stepping into Ovo Frito is like stepping into the yolk of a fried egg. From the sharp yellow of the walls to the eggshell hanging lights to the egg-inspired art all around the restaurant, the whole atmosphere is one that is sure to have you smiling all through your meal.
Ovo Frito has never disappointed, so next time you’re in the mood for a morning meal, head down Maple to the perfect little brunch spot—Ovo Frito.
Third Place: Le Peep
When reminiscing upon my childhood in Evanston, few things bring back as many happy memories as the bright lights and warm smiles of Le Peep. Years later, I can still remember the Sunday brunches I spent perched by the restaurant’s large, open-glass windows, waving to pedestrians passing by. I would chug down glass after glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice—usually leaving me with a mustache of orangey goodness. Once I had licked the residue off of the top of my lip, my attention would soon turn to the plate in front of me: some form of pancakes, usually with a side of potatoes. I never once left Le Peep unhappy, even after waiting in a line spanning outside of the popular spot’s doors; it was a staple of my youth.
Now, a junior in high school, the joy that had defined Le Peep for me as a child remains heavily ingrained in the building’s walls. As people of all different ages and backgrounds gather at clustered tables, connections are built, memories are made and most importantly, bellies are filled.
“In middle school, I used to go to Le Peep once a week after swim practice with a friend. It would be about seven in the morning, [and] we’d both be exhausted, but I never felt that way when we left. It’s the perfect brunch spot, and everything about the place is happy,” junior Chloe Wagner reflects. “For me, my love for Le Peep is less about the food, and more about the ambiance and kind people, though the food is delicious. They seriously have the best pancakes in Evanston.”
Although Evanston is home to just one of the dozens of Le Peeps across the nation, it could be argued that the Church St. Location is distinct in its ability to bring people together. Whether a regular bruncher or first-time customer, nearly every patron of Le Peep looks back at their experience with fond memories of gleeful chatter and mouth-watering cuisine.
One of those regulars, ETHS sophomore Georgia Balasis, has been dining at Le Peep for as long as she can remember.
“Before COVID hit, me and my mom went there for breakfast almost every Sunday. I would order chocolate chip pancakes every time, but their omelets are also really good. It was like our own special spot,” Balasis says. “When restaurants were closed and everything, we ordered takeout a few times I think, [but] it wasn’t the same. We didn’t get to do this thing we always did where we clink our coffee cups by the window or drink a whole liter of orange juice. It wasn’t the same Le Peep.”
In addition to the student-favorite pancakes, Le Peep offers everything else you could dream of from a breakfast place—omelets, skillets, crepes, waffles, oatmeal, sandwiches, eggs benedict, french toast and more. Many ETHS students have also relished in the delights of Le Peep at a place they least expect it: Wildkit Academy. Twice a month on Saturday, before students are met with stacks of assignments and peer support in the hub, teenagers funnel into west cafeteria for a taste of Le Peep’s signature pancakes and golden-brown potatoes.
“I only go to session one of Wildkit academy so that I can get the Le Peep food. Otherwise, I would sleep in and wait until session two,” Balasis concludes. “Those pancakes are the only thing worth waking up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday for.”