Ann Sather calls itself a Swedish restaurant and there are indeed a handful of items on the menu that are Swedish-themed; but most Chicagoans know it as a breakfast place. The cinnamon rolls are legendary: two big fluffy ones per order, each blanketed in sweet sugar glaze. There are seven versions of eggs benedict, made with steak, turkey, smoked salmon, creamed spinach, crab cakes, fresh tomato or the traditional way, with ham. There are omelets aplenty; there are biscuits, pecan rolls, muffins and toast made from your choice of breads, including Swedish limpa rye.
We are particularly fond of the Swedish pancakes, which are folded-over crepes with a lace edge and fine, steamy-sweet flavor. They are available with a cup of lingonberry sauce, with a side of eggs or with a couple of meatballs. The potato pancakes are superb, as is the French toast with peach compote. But the item that rivets our attention is the waffle, two waffles to be exact, Swedish waffles, the menu says. We’re not exactly sure what makes them Swedish, but we do know that they are not big fat Belgians. They are thin, crisp and aromatic waffles, baked in an iron that gives them a fetching scalloped shape and served two to an order. As we’ve noted in previous Roadfood reviews, elegant thin waffles are becoming an endangered breakfast food; we celebrate these good, old-style thin ones.
Ann Sather opens at seven in the morning and closes mid-afternoon; it does a brisk lunch business, too: sandwiches, excellent vegetarian chili and meal-size salads. The hot pork sandwich, served with mashed potatoes and gravy, is down-home delish. And the Swedish meatballs are exemplary.
In addition to the location on Belmont in Lakeview, there are Ann Sather restaurants in Andersonville, Southport, and Broadway.