Chicago >Food & Dining > Cafe Penelope & Penny's Pizza
230 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6060741.877953 -87.666894
Neighborhoods: Near West Side, West Side
Bad food, bad service, avoid like the plague. – I have no idea how this dumpy place could be voted "Best Brunch in Chicago." Possibly the worst in the city. On Sunday morning, there was nobody there (kinda odd). I was given a dinner menu, and had to ask for the breakfast one. The "special item" was chai french toast, so I decided to try it. Unfortunately, it was smothered in gobs of butter that were inedible. I asked for some milk with my coffee, but they said they had no milk delivered that week?! My brunch buddy ordered a "breakfast sandwich", which I could've made at home by taking 2 pieces of wheat bread and spreading avocado all over. For $20, I was ripped off. Please don't waste your time at Penelope, and don't embarrass yourself by taking a date there!
Worst Brunch in Chicago... – I never EVER write reviews; but felt compelled after an unbelievably horrendous brunch experience at Penelope's. So unlike the other 2 reviewers who hated this place, I did not have high expectations (I later found out this place was voted "best audience brunch 2007 of chicago). What a JOKE! We arrived at 11am on a gorgeous Sunday morning. There was no line at all, which I thought was odd, because every other decent-to-average brunch place has about a 20-40 minute wait. We got sat down immediately which was nice. Problem number 2 - the service was horrible. Our waiter (who may have been the busboy), poured us water and said, "let me give you a couple of minutes to decide on what you want." He promptly left before I could ask him to get me any coffee. Oh well, no big deal, i'll just order it when we order our meals. The menu was really small (single page, really large font), which I actually don't mind. I prefer places that just have a few items they do REALLY well...rather than a restaraunt that has alot of items in which several of them are bad. So I ordered pancakes with cranberriesand my gf ordered caprese egg benedict. I also ordered a 2 eggs over-easy. So the server comes back after 10 minutes just to make sure he got my order correctly. So there were literally only 2 other tables at the whole restaurant and it took a good half an hour for our food to be ready. The coffee came in the meantime and it was just average. Our food finally arrived and my pancakes came with strawberries, not cranberries. No big deal, I'll just eat it...and my eggs came later...sunny side up...I had ordered over-easy. Whatever, no big deal. Then I realized that 2 of my 3 pancakes were burnt...and by this moment I was getting upset. My Gf's meal was also luke-warm. The table across from us got mad too 'cuz one of their orders was messed up and their "hot tea" came cold. STAY AWAY! DON'T EVER EAT HERE! Instead, Go to Sweet Maple on Taylor St.
great brunch, fantastic pizza! – Penelope's is THE spot we go to anytime we're in the mood for brunch. My boyfriend and I stumbled upon it one morning, and have completely forgotten about the possibility of eating brunch anywhere else. I absolutely LOVE the crabcakes benedict with the potatoes (although the broccoli hash is an interesting alternative), and my bf usually gets one of the huge omlettes. We're usually so stuffed afterwards that we don't look at food until way past our normal dinner time. Ulike other reviewers, we have never had to wait more than 10 minutes from the time we sit down till the time our waitress brings the food piping hot to our table. Another notable aspect of Penelope's menu is the pizza. I used to be a deep-dish fan until I had Penny's pizza. It's a light, crispy crust, and they offer a variety of toppings, most of which I had not seen before. I personally still find the classic sausage and mushroom to be the best. Friday nights they also have drink specials, like $1.99 margaritas and even cheaper beer! The only thing I would improve is their weekend hours. We have tried to come in for a pizza on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon/evening and they were closed! Sad! The hours had been removed from the window sign, and the website said they were open. Overall, this little restaurant has a big taste to offer, and I highly recommend it!
We have added some new items to the brunch menu recently, which I hope that you will like..Chai Latte French Toast and Caprese Pesto Benedict.
After years of neglect our fabulous landlord has finally agreed to fixing the building so that it will retain heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. We are expecting a new insulated roof, as well as doors that open and close and windows that dont leak.
After the big remodeling project, we will staff up and be open more weekend hours.
Awful – Cafe Penelope was highly rated on CitySearch, so I suggested that my friends meet me there for brunch before a game at the United Center this weekend. We arrived at 9:30 (gametime 11:00). After about 10 minutes, our waitress took our order. Shortly after, we received our coffee and juice. Fifty minutes later, we STILL hadn't received our breakfast, so we inquired about our order. Our waitress told us that the chef was beginning to prepare our order now - everyone else in the restaurant had been served. We decided not to wait and were expected to pay for our drinks. I have no idea about the quality of food, because we never ate, but I would not recommend this restaurant, nor will I return for a second try. Very disappointing!
Very Disappointed with Brunch – We set out for a Sunday Brunch based solely on the rave reviews on Citysearch. I must tell you that "underwhelmed" is a nice description. The restaurant was not busy but we waited for a table to be cleaned. Once we sat down, we waited five minutes for the bus boy to bring us small wine glasses of lukewarm tap water. Coffee was not available because it "needed to be brewed." For breakfast, you might expect coffee to be plentiful and fresh. Most of our meals arrived cold and needed to be returned. The Hollandaise sauce on the Eggs Benedict lacked in taste. The eggs were not prepared as requested and we had to request butter for the French Toast. When we reached for sugar and sweet n' low for our coffee, we mysteriously found it missing. When we querried our server, we were told that the sugar caddie was needed at another table.
Overall, it was a very average to poor breakfast. I must admit that the restaurant suffered due to our high expectations. I suspect that the place has taken a turn for the worse in recent times or it mounted a highly successful e-mail campaign to get its rating up.
The Verdict: I will meet you there ONLY if you insist AND intend on buying. Otherwise, not much better than The Hollywood Grill.
A great spot for a quick dinner before a show or game at the nearby United Center. – In Short
In a gritty neighborhood on the near West Side, this sunny, homey storefront cafe has peach walls, pastel table coverings and green plants in the windows. For breakfast, there are omelettes, skillets, whole-wheat pancakes and Belgian waffles. The lunch menu includes brown-bag lunches (sandwiches served with fruit and a cookie), plus hearty rotating specials like meat loaf. Dinner highlights include thin-crust pizza and a grilled rib eye steak sandwich.
Yummy Brunch!!! – Upon a recommendation from a friend that lives in this up and coming west loop area near the united center, I tried out Penelope's last weekend. I'll definitely be back!!! It doesn't shock me that they won best of citysearch brunch. Everything tasted delicious and homemade - something that is a rarity in the city. I loved the quaint dining atmosphere too...awesome time!
Next time you come in ask to join our Birthday Club and Rewards Program. We will send you a birthday card with a certificate for a FREE meal during your birthday month and also notify you of specials and events during the year.
Wonderful brunch, excellent pizza, wonderfully prepared, cared about, food preparation. – Cafe Penelope is my favorite, favorite restaurant in Chicago. All of Penelope food is cooked to order, natural, tasy, nutritious, and, yes, delicious. I have never had a better Pizza. Thin, crisp, wonderful ingredients, not overloaded and soggy. Brunch is a real treat. Again, the food is prepared to order, the service is excellent, the atmosphere is casual and easy. I feel like I have come home to a "lover". Wonderful food, wonderful people, easy, comfortable.
Do not expect a waiting line. Cafe Penelope is a hidden treasure. Discover your new retreat with good people and wonderful, wonderful, food.
Best Homemade Soup – I order Penny's for lunch frequently in the winter. They make a Chicken with Vegetable Soup that tastes just like your grandmother did when you were a kid. In addition, they also make homemade bread daily. Great comfort food, especially for when you are sick.
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