GRUB GUIDE To What’s Hot . . .new fall brunch-focused spots

Morso’s “Scotch Egg” made of duck sausage, chard slaw and tomato remoulade. (Photo: jamco new media)

With the arrival of fall comes a slew of new brunch-focused spots serving homey and filling fare, but none is more exciting than Lincoln Park’s Morso, an ambitious project from Gaztro-wagon’s Matt Maroni. Made famous for his tireless efforts behind Chicago’s food truck movement, Maroni already has a strong foodie following for a rotating menu of naan-wiches.

And we suspect that he already has a hit on his hands with the just-opened resto located next door to the Park West. Seats in the upstairs lounge are going to be especially hard to get once the chill hits, and that’s specifically because there’s a wood-burning fireplace at the center of the room.

The menu should also keep customers warm. Dishes like the “Scotch Egg” made of duck sausage, chard slaw and tomato remoulade; “Biscuits & Gravy” with quail breast, swiss chard, house-made biscuits and duck sausage gravy topped with mushroom dust; carrot cake French toast with pineapple syrup and candied walnuts; and ricotta beignets with spiced honey and nutmeg sugar are certain to be mega hits.

But what will particularly win over Chicago’s fickle brunch crowd is the best drink deal in the city: $30 for all-you-can-handle cocktails. And these aren’t just your average mimosas and Bloodys. House mixologist Matthew "Choo" Lipsky has whipped up three signature sippers for the occasion. His spicy rendition of the Bloody includes tomato vodka, roasted bell pepper, chipotle, avocado, lemon and black pepper. The Choo Choo Cable Car is a concoction of spiced rum, orange, cinnamon and lemon. And his Mimosa is certain to go down smoothly with Prosecco, orange, bitters and a dash of cognac. Yum.

Waffles’ Chicken & Bacon Waffle. (Photo: Waffles)

Also be on the lookout for 2Sparrows. The seasonally driven eatery features contemporary American comfort fare from Charlie Trotter's alums Gregory Ellis (chef) and Steven Fladung (GM). Many items on the opening brunch menu are a throwback to childhood, from foie gras “Pop Tarts” to bread pudding French toast. Yes, please!

We’re equally excited about Brunch, in River North, which also pays homage to classic dishes. Look for a tea-braised chicken and egg sandwich, breakfast sliders and apple-infused pancakes on the menu. The restaurant caters to neighborhood crowds as well as business types, offering shoe shine service, Wi-Fi, a private meeting room equipped with a teleconference system and more.

West Loopers can enjoy laid-back brunch at Ethyl’s, where Executive Chef Jaysen Euler’s star dish is the mini white cheddar & bacon waffles drizzled in a tangy chipotle syrup. Since they’re so tiny, you won’t feel guilty adding the $20 all-you-can-drink Mimosas to your tab.

And over in the South Loop Waffles offers more than just waffles, but who cares when the menu looks this good! Highlights include a Mexican Hot Chocolate waffle with orange Anglaise and spicy cocoa powder; cheddar and short rib; Red Velvet with cherry compote and whipped cream; and Green Tea with a lemon ginger Chantilly cream topped with ground pistachio, powdered sugar and candied violet. Of course you couldn’t have a waffle-oriented restaurant and not have chicken and waffles on the menu. Here you’ll find a bacon-infused waffle that comes with fried chicken topped with spicy maple syrup.