Chicago >Food & Dining > Sweet Maple Cafe
1339 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL | Directions 6060741.869273 -87.660748
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Neighborhoods: University Village / Little Italy, West Side
Good, Not Great – Cozy little spot in Little Italy. The food isn't all that memorable, but the room is charming and the staff is really friendly. I recommend the french toast!
Most Wonderful Pancakes – My husband and I are the pancake snobs of the western suburbs. We seek out new and interesting sources for the traditional buttermilk pancake. This is our number one pick for a pancake and the omelettes and ambience are great too. When you first take a bite of your plain or blueberry pancake, its almost knee buckling. You use the whipped butter and warm Vermont maple syrup to top off the taste, but they are truly out of this world. The place is small and quaint. There's usually a wait on the weekends, but the line moves quickly and its worth being patient to try it out. If you go during the week, they have an eggand pancake combo that is a great deal and it comes with a giant homemade biscuit. Me, I stick with the best pancakes anywhere in Chicagoland. You won't be sorry you tried this place, but it will ruin all the other pancakes for you because they just don't compare.
Phenomenal Pancakes – I have experienced Sweet Maple several times and have never been disappointed. Their pancakes are the reason why I return. I can only eat one due to the large size. The batter itself is light and fluffy and infused with vanilla. The Salmon Cakes are tasty as are their delicious biscuits.
Not worth the wait time. – Brunch on 11/2/08: Arrived at 9:50AM, knowing there would be a wait...OK. Clipboard-guy notes a 45 minute wait...we were seated at 11:13, clearly beyond the wait time. Food arrived promptly, but service was lacking - actually, our waitress looked hung-over, tired, and the only word she spoke was "Coffee?" We ordered blueberry pancakes with a side of crispy bacon. The pancakes lacked flavor and the bacon was curled and soggy. The corn beef hash was cubed, not "hashed" and flavorless. For a "soul food" southern inspired cafe, the pedestrian nature of the biscuits (read Pillsbury is better) was disheartening. Not even a hint of seasoning. It was the third such unfortunate experience we have had there, which is what prompted this review. We will not return again and regret the $30 spent on a breakfast for two where 2/3 of the food was left...not even worth taking to go.
The best biscuits – This place is insanely crowded on the weekends, but if you can manage to get a table, you're in for one of the biggest and best breakfasts anywhere. The biscuits are made from scratch and are big enough to be a meal on their own. The eggs are fluffy and light. Pancakes are tender. I expected a little more from the maple syrup, since it is their namesake, but it's just as good as any other breakfast place. Get there early, or go during the week if possible, to avoid crowds.
Not worth the hype – I heard many good things about this restaurant, so I was eager to give it a try. Upon walking in, the decor was drag, and the floors resembled worn-out wood. The chairs were cramped together, and the place was moderately busy.
Service was okay, and not having ever been there, I asked what they recommended, and the server said pancakes. So, I got the pancakes, and they were aweful. Let me describe them:
chewy, cake-like, gummy texture with a doughy after taste. These pancakes were a cross between pizza dough and a dunking hines cake, all lathered with syrup.
Sorry, but I wouldn't recommend this place, and it's certainly NOT worth the hype.
Editorial Review – Serving breakfast and lunch every day, this cafe draws a hearty, hungry crowd of UIC students, teachers and downtown workers.
Great place for Breakfast! – I have yet to have a bad meal here after visiting numerous times. Personal favorites are the Banana Pancakes and the Corned Beef Hash. Probably the best I have ever had of each. Pancakes are a solid 8-9 inchs in diameter, so be careful not to order too many, but the flavor is outstanding. Corned Beef Hash has nice size chuncks of Corned Beef, not the mush you get from a can or most restaurants. The staff has been very friendly too which makes the meal that much more enjoyable. Only drawback is the size of the restaurant. It is small, and there is usually a wait, but it is well worth it. Do not pass this place up for breakfast!
Pancakes don't have any bizness being this good – Sweet Maple Cafe is outstanding. The biscuits are the amazing. The cornmeal-battered catfish and eggs special on Fridays is worth skipping work for. And above all,they make the best buttermilk pancakes you will ever taste. My family and I joke about how the menu never changes; the truth is we hope never does. Everything they do they do well. One thing: Sweet Maple has been getting great reviews for a couple years now - this place brings new meaning to the word crowded.
User review by mlanaux – Chicago take note... this is a place that needs to be cloned. The service is great, the biscuts are even better, and the owners make you feel like you are one of the family. The wait can be a little long... but aren't all great things worth their wait?
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