Essay: We Don’t Need Another Breakfast Place

Hailey Gates talks about overabundance of breakfast places around Loyola in light of Bulldog Ale House closing.

It’s a Sunday morning, and I’m hungry. 

I walk down West Granville Avenue to Metropolis Coffee Company where I eat an egg and cheese hand pie to satiate my stomach. As I continue down Granville, I bump into Ann Sather’s and decide to grab a cinnamon roll for the road. I resume my stroll and turn onto West Devon Avenue, where I decide to indulge in a coffee and a pain au chocolat from Rivers and Roads Cafe

Maybe I’ll make a morning of it — go further west down Devon to have a classic continental breakfast at Cozy Corner Restaurant. I could even hop on the train and head just north off the Morse stop to The Common Cup for a slice of quiche or, if it’s early enough in the semester, to the Glenwood Sunday Market for a breakfast burrito. 

When I return to North Sheridan Road, however, I am forced to confront one question — what am I going to eat for lunch?  

Now, when I turn to my right, I see Honey Berry Cafe. 

But we didn’t need another breakfast place. 

The area around Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus is oversaturated with breakfast choices. Sweet or savory, sit-down or stop-in, costly or college-kid-friendly — if I want something to eat between the hours of 5:00 or 11:00 a.m., there are a plethora of options at my disposal. 

If I want something to eat between noon and 10, it’s a different story. 

Yes, there’s Raising Canes, Flacos Tacos, Potbelly Sandwich Works or Blaze Pizza. But if I am looking for a classic sit-down experience where I pay four dollars for Sprite and apologize profusely to the waiter, that is no longer an option in Loyola’s corners of Rogers Park and Edgewater. 

This is, of course, partially due to the fact that Bulldog Ale House recently closed its doors and was replaced by Honey Berry Cafe, The Phoenix previously reported

I have nothing against breakfast places — I am both a victim and a proprietor of the Sunday brunch phenomenon that has swept the nation. My issue is not so much that a new breakfast place has opened up but that it has replaced a restaurant unlike any other in the area. 

Was Bulldog’s perfect? Not by a long-shot — but there was no other place near campus quite like it. It was where my friends and I would go for a celebratory birthday dinner or when one of our parents was in town and wanted to treat us to a non-fast food meal. It was the quintessential college fine-dining experience — a decently priced bar and restaurant that feels like it has a Michelin star simply because a host seats you and the waiter brings you your check at the end. 

This isn’t by any means meant to slight other sit-down restaurants in the area. Nori sushi and Awash Ethiopian Restaurant are some of my favorite places to splurge. But where am I going to eat when my picky little brother wants a burger, my mom wants a salad and my dad wants a beer? Where am I going to take my raw-vegan grandparents when they want to eat dinner and watch the Ramblers game? 

Bulldog’s  didn’t cater to a particular dining niche. While this may have been one reason for its downfall, I would argue it was actually its greatest strength. It was frequently chosen not for its quality, but for its versatility — my brother could eat his bacon cheeseburger at the same table as my grandparents and their avocado toast. 

This is my particular issue. Bulldog’s, a champion of the Americana dedication to a mediocre yet varied menu, has been replaced by a genre of restaurant that is disproportionately represented in Edgewater and Rogers Park. 

Although I’m sure Honey Berry is a delicious addition to the lake front area, finding a breakfast restaurant that has something for everyone has never been an issue here. The same can’t be said for afternoon meals. 

I just think if Bulldog’s had to close its doors, another breakfast restaurant isn’t going to cover the gap in the market it will leave behind. As it stands now, Loyola students will be eating pancakes for breakfast, eggs for lunch and a leftover Ann Sather’s cinnamon roll for dinner. 

Yet, maybe breakfast is what the people want. Just the other day as I was walking down Sheridan Road I looked through the window of a building under renovation and saw a neon sign in the shape of a fried egg. 

Are there really so few people going out to dinner?

The addition of Honey Berry isn’t the issue here — the issue is the destruction of something unique to make way for something we already had.

Feature image by Daphne Kraushaar / The Phoenix

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