Our team has eaten at 511 Black owned eateries across the country and Lizzy J Cafe has earned a spot in our top 5 brunch venues. Fans of Chef Sammy Davis Jr.’s Atlanta brunch post at The Real Milk and Honey or Chef Chris William’s, Lucille’s in Houston, and of course Chef Rohani Foulkes’ FOLK in Detroit will love Chef Jamie Gilmore’s Lizzy J’s as she is among Black Brunch Royalty!
Located at 2205 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, the food is so delicious you think about it for days, smiling involuntarily as you reminisce. The catfish and grits were so good I had to double back for another order before returning to Miami.
Lizzy J Café totally captures the nostalgia of Chicago’s food scene. Chef Jamie Gilmore and her Sous chef, Chef “Biggs” have outdone themselves with nearly every entrée on their menu. Her sauces and gravies are exquisite, and the line of teas are flat out delicious.
The Catfish and Grits is a good place to start. This plate was pure perfection. The grits were incredibly flavorful with an aged white cheddar cheese nestled at the bottom of the fluffy grits then kissed with a rim of chef’s in house created sweet-hot sauce. The grits interacted agreeably with a perfectly seasoned, golden brown fried floured catfish. You need to get each component on your fork to completely understand the Southern excellence captured in this dish’s out-of-this world flavor. Chef’s catfish is the best fish and grits combo I’ve had in Chicago to date, and it is not to be missed.
Following the Catfish and Grits, we had the French toast. Now, this is not your average French toast because it could easily dub as a dessert, given its amazingly decadent sweet and tasty white bread soaked in a cream cheese Grand Marnier sauce topped with fresh orange slices. Using this cognac liquor was intelligent, innovative, and nostalgic. Because I have a sweet tooth out of this world, this is now one of my favorites. Unless you’re a fan of sweet French toast varieties, you might want to skip this decadent dish that needs no syrup because the delicious cream sauce does the trick.
Going back to the savory side of things, we had the lamb chops with eggs and hash browns. Like the catfish and grits, this entrée was PERFECT! With a distinct grassy taste, the lamb was so tender we didn’t need a knife. It was smothered in savory gravy that had me licking my fingers. I thoroughly enjoyed the sides, especially the hash.
Despite nationwide popularity of Chicken and Waffles, there was nothing ubiquitous about this Lizzy J’s version because it packed such a flavorful punch that it will remain on your mind long after your last bite. The waffle has white cheddar and a hint of sweet ginger spice that pairs beautifully with the maple syrup for a deliciously unique flavor explosion. Served with glazed sticky fried chicken with notes of a garlicy sweet-hot elevated Siracha like sauce, combine the waffle, the syrup, and the chicken for maximum flavor.
Chef Jamie and Chef Biggs are not playing games with no damn body. This is probably the best brunch in Chicago. I am literally salivating writing this review, so you know I’m happy to be returning tomorrow to complete our Top 25 Black Chicago Restaurant list. It goes without saying that I’ll be paying Chef Jamie and Chef Biggs at Lizzy J’s!
You will not regret visiting this amazing space. Black Chicago has something to be proud of with its food scene, one of my favorites in the nation. You can reach Lizzy J’s at (773) 739-9044.
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