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How is that brunch can feel so urgent and yet the lines to sit down can be so hellishly long? Good thing there’s another way. May we present to you the ultimate in Chicago unicorns: Six brunch places that, miraculously, deliver the goods without the two-hour waits.

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Instead of Southport Grocer, try Kitsch’n on Roscoe

The homemade Pop-Tarts at Southport Grocer are a serious upgrade to our favorite childhood snack, and we love them, like, a lot. But when you need your nostalgia fix right away, look no further than Kitsch’n on Roscoe. Everything about Kitsch’n is inspired by the all-too-groovy ’70s, from the old-school Formica tables to the Twinkie tiramisu.

2005 W. Roscoe St.; 773-248-7372 or kitschn.com

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Instead of Dove’s Luncheonette, try The Handlebar

Just down the road from the always packed, always delicious Dove’s Luncheonette, The Handlebar is a fail-proof brunch spot for all sorts of eaters. With an extensive vegetarian menu (veggie chili cheese fries, anyone?) and plenty of options for the carnivores among us, everyone leaves happy. Plus: The patio is not only spacious; it’s also set up to feel like you’re hanging out in your coolest friend’s backyard.

2311 W. North Ave.; 773-384-9546 or handlebarchicago.com

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Instead of Lula Café, try Café Con Leche

What can we say about Lula Café that hasn’t already been said? Everyone knows the seasonal menu is bar none, which might just be the reason there’s almost always a wait. We’re not detectives, but hey, we call it like we see it. When you’re in Logan Square and you just can’t wait, head to Café Con Leche, a delicious counter service coffee and sandwich shop with a full breakfast menu. Nobody does chilaquiles better.

2714 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-289-4274 or dnochechicago.com

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Lauren F./Yelp

Instead of Dusek’s, try Three Aces

Dusek’s has a Michelin star, which means you’ll be hard-pressed to get a table without a reservation. Never fear, though, because just up the road there’s a place that will sate your hunger in record time. Three Aces is a big space with an even bigger brunch menu. Did you know breakfast poutine is a thing? And it comes with bacon Sriracha? Sign us up. 

1321 W. Taylor St.; 312-243-1577 or threeaceschicago.com

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Planet99

Instead of Elly’s Pancake House, try Nookies, too

Both Elly’s Pancake House and Nookies are Chicago institutions, thanks to their no-frills, hearty diner fare. Lucky for us, Nookies has a second outpost, appropriately named Nookies, Too. There, you’ll find all the corned beef hash and crunchy French toast of the other Nookies without the wait.

2114 N. Halsted St.; 773-327-1400 or nookieschicago.com

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Instead of a trendy brunch spot, try The Bad Apple

OK, so Bad Apple isn’t technically a brunch spot, but we’re not super into labels anyway. Here’s the important thing: The beloved burger bar opens at 11:30 a.m. on weekends, and that might be the only time you can sit down at Bad Apple without a wait. Repeat after us: Burgers are breakfast food.

4300 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-360-8406 or badapplebar.com

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