Upon being seated at Lulu Belle's Pancake House with two daughters, three piping hot cinnamon buns with vanilla icing arrived at our table unsolicited. If there is a better welcome to breakfast, I've yet to find it.
Just when I thought the morning couldn't get any better, it did: I spotted Cap'n Crunch coated French toast on the specials menu. And if it's not a crime to pass up something coated in Cap'n Crunch, it should be. French toast lovers will also love Lulu Belle's Famous French Toast touted in the menu as "sinfully deep fried southern style."
The crepes are not to be missed. Two of the best options are Belle's Taffy Apple, melted caramel over crisp apples sprinkled with nuts, and the Nutella Banana, a creamy hazelnut and cocoa masterpiece served with bananas.
Health enthusiasts need not worry. There is a Healthy Starts section on the menu with offerings such as steel cut oatmeal served with a side of raisins, milk and brown sugar; honey and yogurt; and granola cereal.
There are, of course, any type of pancakes one could imagine with a variety of toppings: powdered sugar, strawberry, blueberry, peach, apple-cinnamon, chocolate chip, bacon and pecan.
Not a breakfast kind of person? Lulu Belle's still has you covered. Since it's open until 3 p.m., there are gigantic salads like the chopped Cobb and sandwiches like the beef tenderloin steak or classic Reuben. There is a "shorty" menu with kid-sized portions for both breakfast and lunch.
One caveat: We visited on a weekday and were seated immediately, but lines go out the door and down the block most weekend mornings so plan accordingly.
Linda made it a goal to try out every kid-friendly venue in Chicago, which she chronicles in her Chicago Parent Good-to-Go column.
See more of Linda's stories here.