Whether you’re fretting about where to take that cutie you’ve been crushing on in chem for a casual coffee date or looking for a romantic anniversary dinner locale, we’ve got all the details here. We hope you enjoy reading about these date destinations as much as we enjoy writing about them, and that you’ll give some of them a taste.
So, in the spirit of this selection: chow for now!
Address: 5707 N. Clark St., Chicago
Hours: Tues.-Fri. 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. (closed Monday)
Getting there: A less than ten-minute walk from the Bryn Mawr stop on the Red Line
Not every day does one discover such a wonderful restaurant as m.henry. The blend of well presented, five-star quality food and an open, quaint atmosphere makes m.henry appealing for couples and groups alike. The only downside to this very popular breakfast and lunch locale is the seemingly endless crowds that flock to Andersonville to take advantage of this jewel.
easy to decide where to begin with m.henry’s cuisine; I say cuisine because I don’t feel comfortable describing it merely as food. At m.henry, it would seem that presentation holds almost as much importance as quality. Everything on the menu looks beautiful (a glance around the room during Sunday brunch hours is evidence enough of that), and the best part is that it tastes even better than it looks. I had the Lemon Crab & Shrimp Cake Benedict, which consisted of grade-A eggs benedict with the crab and shrimp cake in place of ham. I’ve had the superb combination of crustacean and egg before in the form of a crab omelet at Carlsbad, Calif.’s Daily News Café, so I had high hopes upon ordering my dish. My expectations were thoroughly surpassed: The flavors of the seafood and egg meld perfectly with the steamed spinach and m.henry’s expert hollandaise. The meal came with a salad that I, while I’m not generally a fan of salad, found refreshing and tasty. I also recommend getting orange juice with your meal — it’s reasonably priced for fresh-squeezed ($2.75) and well worth the money.
m.henry’s service gets the job done. Once seated, we were seen to quickly and regularly and our food made it to the table in record time. Getting to the table, however, was the problem. m.henry is a popular place on weekend mornings, when brunch is served, so a crowd is to be expected. The hostess assured us that our wait would be half as long as it ultimately was. She told us it would be 30 to 35 minutes, but we waited for more than an hour. This may seem like a petty complaint, but when you’re hungry and can see tables of diners happily eating beautiful food, it weighs heavily on your opinion.
m.henry seems, from the outside, to be a fairly average café. The crowd around the door waiting to be seated for Sunday brunch is the first hint that this is not the case. Inside, m.henry is tastefully decorated in a style that is part Midwestern farm charm and part Parisian corner bistro. It’s well-decorated and fun, with landscape paintings on the wall and old French doors suspended from the ceiling to cordon off different eating areas. Big windows provide lots of light and give the restaurant an airy feel.
Date Factor (4/5)
In my opinion, m.henry is a good date destination for couples that have already gone on a few dates together. It’s a little bit on the pricier side of things (though well worth the cost) and is a solid 20 to 30 minute train ride from campus. Also, I’d imagine the wait lines could be a bit trying for those on first dates. Otherwise, m.henry satisfies every qualification of a good date spot: It’s got a bright, lively atmosphere and delicious food to share and talk over.
Unlike Walker Bros., the coffee at
m.henry is definitely worth its $2.50 price tag. I’m no coffee connoisseur, but the rich and bold flavors of their bottomless cup are quite a statement to start off your breakfast experience. I ordered the Mango & Sour Cherry Cinnamon Roll French Toast, a dish that deserves a score as high as its name is long. A delicious cinnamon roll baked on-site is sliced and prepared as French toast; its layers are then stacked back together, alternating with a sweet cream. The tart acidity of the cherries cuts nicely through the richness of the dish, and the mangoes add a lighter, fruity sweetness to the combination. As a textural contrast to the soft cinnamon roll and baked fruit, m.henry partners a crisp granola garnish with their sweetbread masterpiece. Both John’s and my menu items are on the autumn seasonal menu, but m.henry has a sufficiently delicious-looking non-seasonal menu as well. The non-seasonal menu consists of “breakfast all day” and lunch portions, but the lunch menu is not served on Sundays.
Although service was surprisingly speedy once John and I secured a table, the process of obtaining a table was no quick feat. Be prepared to wait much longer to be seated than the hostess leads you to believe. Remember that delightful coffee I was raving about? I highly recommend getting a cup of it from the bakery counter to begin drinking while you wait for your table. The service while dining is efficient but somewhat sparse. Waiters have many patrons to serve, so don’t feel slighted by the lack of attention that a less bustling restaurant might provide.
If olfactory stimulation is your thing, then you’ll love m.henry. Walking in the front door, John and I were confronted with a wave of phenomenal scents (which only make the wait all the more agonizing). The entire restaurant is reminiscent of a mishmash of Easter brunch, grandma’s 1940s kitchen and a European bakery. If Julia Child were outfitting a modern Chicago bistro, the result would likely look like m.henry.
Date Factor (4.5/5)
m.henry is somewhat expensive for a brunch date, but the quality and value of its food is unparalleled. This destination is a bit more comfortable for established couples because of the unpredictable wait times and jaunt to northern Chicago. I would highly recommend m.henry as a classy but casual eatery to bridge the gap between your (potentially new) significant other and your folks this Family Weekend. During Reading Week, m.henry is also a fantastic brunch date location to catch up with your sweetie after Thanksgiving break or provide a much-needed diversion from studying.
m.henry is probably our favorite place that we’ve eaten so far. It combines many of the things we both love about restaurants and food in general: a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful and delicious food and a relatively reasonable price tag. If you get the chance to show off m.henry to your parents, your date or your date’s parents, especially during Family Weekend or Reading Week, we highly recommend taking it. We’re sure they’ll be as impressed as we are.