A Quick Word:
For UIC students, Sweet Maple Cafe fits right in with some of the best brunch places in Chicago. Not only for location, but for the home-cooked-style meals that college students crave. When walking into the restaurant, you are greeted by walls painted to resemble an older country-style residence. After waiting for a table, you are seated in a cramped restaurant and hurried a little more than I would like. The tables are longer than usual, making you feel far away from whoever you came with... it is sort of awkward. But once the food arrives, you forget about these minor imperfections, and focus on one of the best brunches you can have. Definitely order their sweet milk biscuits--the main reason for Sweet Maple Cafes existence... yes, they are that good. Because of the small dining area and each of the dishes missing that memorable experience... I decided to give them a 4.5 rating (for now).
What We Ate:
Bacon and Corn Pancakes
My friend decided on the pancake special. Bacon and corn in pancakes sounded like an interesting but potentially amazing creation. And it was. It came with two huge pancakes that were extremely soft and fluffy. A generous amount of bacon and corn was mixed directly into the batter so that each bite had a little of each. Add just a little of the butter and a good amount of maple syrup to the top. This combination brings salty and sweet to the next level. The bacon is surprisingly crispy and the corn plump. I was expecting soggy and mushy... thankfully, it wasn't!
(After enjoying most of the pancakes, my friend decided to flip them over and painstakingly pick out every piece of bacon mixed into the pancake. It was a hilarious to watch, but I do applaud her because I would have down the same.)
Chick'n Egg and Cheeser
After thoroughly reading the menu, I knew this biscuit sandwich was my choice. A fried chicken breast (grilled also an option) is topped with a egg cooked over easy and cheddar cheese. It is served on one of their famous sweet milk biscuits and accompanied with a side of fresh apple sauce. All I can say is WOW. The fried chicken breast is fried to order making the breading have an amazing crispiness. And I choose an over easy egg so the yolk could act as a rich, creamy sauce. Other cheese options are available, but cheddar is seemed to be the best fit. The biscuit is without question the best vessel for this sandwich and would be the best for essentially any sandwich. You could put a shoe in between and I would probably still eat it. Anyway, the overall meal was a little on the smaller side and the apple sauce was an embarrassment when sitting next to such a great sandwich. I wish they had a sausage gravy to act more like a sauce... maybe as a side option?
Sweet Milk Biscuit
The sweet milk biscuit is what put Sweet Maple Cafe on the map. And out of all the biscuits I have eaten, this one comes in second (narrowly beaten out by my all time favorite... Bang Bang Pie Shop). The biscuit is oddly shaped and more dense than biscuits most people are used to. It has an underlying sweetness that is amplified by adding a little whipped butter. The outer layer has a harder consistency, while the center is as fluffy as can be. I love them so much I order usually one for my meal and two "to go." Whenever I have a craving for biscuits, Sweet Maple is always a front runner.
Hot Caramel Apple Cider
This is an excellent Winter time drink. The apple cider is served piping hot so be careful. They top it with a little caramel for added sweetness and a cinnamon stick for garnish. I really enjoyed the couple sips that I tried. Reminded me example of fresh baked apple pie. Definitely something to try.
The coffee is typical restaurant breakfast coffee. Made in bulk and hopefully kept somewhat warm in a thermos the waitress carries around. It wasn't burnt at all which was nice. Free refills on a $2.50 cup.
- Come on Friday! They have a Fried Catfish and Eggs special only offered on Fridays... and it is my favorite breakfast in the city! Sorry no picture because I had this before I started my blog.
- The wait tends to be minimum of 30 minutes. I have found that it usually is 5 to 10 minutes faster than what they estimate.
- Must order biscuits.
- Don't be scared off by the huge line outside. There is not much room to wait on the inside of Sweet Maple, so a lot of people just hang around outside the door. I have been fooled several times.
How far would I walk for this food?