I am UIC: Sunday brunch in West Loop
On lazy Sunday mornings, UIC students can enjoy a late start to their day with the ubiquitous meal of brunch. Although many freshmen who dorm in JST enjoy the convenience of the nearby Hashbrown’s location, in-the-know upperclassmen head to the West Loop. Indeed, it is only a short trip north on the No. 8 bus. It’s a weekend tradition to lunch and brunch on Randolph Street. Strolling down Randolph Street is just as much of a culinary experience as it is an exercise in social observing. Students mingle with young professionals and middle-aged parents. It’s a cycle of desire for what you want to be and nostalgia for what you’ve already been that fuels this street.
Once you’ve gotten to Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner, a left turn on Green Street takes you to a faster, trendier and even younger locale. You’ve arrived at The Allis at the Soho House. Although Soho House is an exclusive, members-only community of (mostly young) artists and other creative souls, the Allis is open to the general public. Going to the Allis for either brunch or afternoon tea is almost a rite of passage for many UIC students; it is an entry into the real world, where people make reservations and follow through on grownup plans.
The food at the Allis is fancy — just as one would expect. The atmosphere, however, is certainly the main attraction. This kind of calm sophistication is hard to find (at an affordable price) elsewhere in Chicago. The easy joy that the Allis brings, along with the hipness of Green Street and strangely cohesive adventure of Randolph Street, make for a lovely morning away from the stress that typifies college.