Where to dine when your kids wake at the crack of dawn

When you become a parent, you can kiss goodbye the lazy weekend days where you roll out of bed and go out for brunch past 11 a.m. Thanks to the screwed up internal alarm clocks of children, weekend mornings often start at the crack of dawn. If your kiddo insists on staying up, here are some breakfast spots that cater to early risers (and provide coffee for over-tired parents).

Blueberry Hill Breakfast Cafe

Opens: 6 a.m. daily

Where: Aurora, Darien, Homer Glen, LaGrange, Oakbrook, Plainfield & Tinley Park

This breakfast spot with 7 Chicagoland locations will cater to any early morning sweet tooth thanks to dishes like Red Velvet Pancakes, Peanut Butter Crepes and Blueberry Crunch Waffles. We’re also big fans of their freshly squeezed orange juice. Insider tip: Coupons are frequently available on Blueberry Hill’s website

Butterfield’s Pancake House & Restaurant

Opens: 6 a.m. daily

Where: Naperville, Northbrook, Oakbrook Terrace and Wheaton 

You can always count on fresh ingredients at Butterfield’s. Whether its veggies in a hearty skillet, apples for Taffy Apple French Toast, or freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, Butterfield serves up plenty of options if you want to eat healthy. A special heart-healthy menu includes Caramelized Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal, a Lox Platter, Veggie Hash and more.

Cozy Corner Restaurant & Pancake House

Opens: 6 a.m. daily

Where: Chicago (4 locations)

No matter what you’re craving, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in Cozy Corner’s extensive menu.

Popular dishes include OMG Omelets, Mexican breakfast (chilaquiles, huevos rancheros), and decadent French toasts (Stuffed Cheesecake, Tres Leches). Kids can order pancakes, waffles or French toast with just about anything their little heart desires.


Opens: 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. daily (Check times for each location)

Where: Chicago, Bannockburn, Mount Prospect, Park Ridge 

Whether you’re hungry for a traditional bacon and egg breakfast, or looking for something more unique like breakfast chilaquiles, Eggsperience has a large menu to please even the pickiest of eaters. Kids will especially love the Pinterest-worthy Mickey Mouse pancakes.

Once Upon a Bagel

Opens: 6 a.m. daily

Where: Highland Park, Winnetka 

Known for its namesake item—bagels—here, you can find tons of flavor variations (pumpernickel, egg, garlic) and delicious schmears (cucumber, strawberry, jalapeno). Watching your weight? They’ve even got skinny bagels with part of the middle cut out. The North Shore restaurant also serves up traditional Jewish breakfast fare like blintzes, fried matzo and lox.

Walker Bros. The Original Pancake House

Opens: 6:30 a.m. daily

Where: Arlington Heights, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Zurich, Lincolnshire, Schaumburg, Wilmette 

With locations literally all over the Chicagoland area, Walker Bros. is a beloved restaurant that’s been around for nearly 60 years. If you’re headed there, make sure to go early … people have been known to line up before opening just to be one of the first to eat the famous Apple Pancake (which you can also buy frozen to take home and bake).

Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe

Opens: 6:30 am daily

Where: Chicago, Libertyville, Schaumburg 

Named “One of the best places to eat pancakes in America” by “Travel + Leisure,” Wildberry is arguably Chicagoland’s best gourmet pancake establishment. With specialty pancake options like Oreo, Cinnamon Roll and Blackberry Key Lime Pie, even if you aren’t awake, your taste buds will be.

Valois Restaurant

Opens: 5:30 a.m. daily

Where: Chicago (Hyde Park) 

Eat like the first family with your little one at this Hyde Park diner, which also happens to be the Obama family’s favorite Chicago eatery. A pretty standard diner offering eggs, bacon and pancakes, the super-fast service and extra early open time is what sets this place apart from others.

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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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