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America's Best Pancakes

Lula, Chicago

This hip Windy City café is another big supporter of fresh ingredients from regional markets and farmers. There’s always a “griddle cake” on the menu, but the ingredients change according to season and whim. In winter, they might be paired with stone fruit preserves, candied pumpkin seeds and maple sabayon; as summer arrives in the Heartland, you can expect grape jam, poached raisins, and spiced creme anglaise. Healthy breakfast standards (scrambled tofu with miso sauce, oatmeal studded with dried cherries) are served daily, but the weekend brunch menu is when the kitchen stops counting calories and indulges regulars with specials such as lemon and pistachio bread pudding with strawberry rhubarb preserves or a grilled pork sausage plate with focaccia, soft boiled egg, and Michigan ramps.

Best sides: Apple-maple-sage sausage and nitrate-free Gunthorp Farms bacon.

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