I admit to an irrational fondness for New Year's Day pajama brunches. The idea of showing up for brunch in one's pjs has a certain quirky charm, and when the entire dining room, including staffers, is doing the same — let's just say that one year at Mon Ami Gabi, the one party that innocently showed up in normal attire looked quite abnormal indeed.
I'm not alone in this. Pajama brunches tend to be very popular, and several of them routinely sell out. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, for instance, only has very early and mid-afternoon seatings available.
Because of Chicago's frigid climate, the pajamas you'll observe will be heavy on the flannel, light on the lingerie. I just mention it so you don't get your hopes up.
For those not into the jammie thing (their loss), I've also included a good number of "regular" New Year's Day brunches.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba: This will be the 10th Pajama Brunch at Ba-Ba-Reeba, where pajama-clad guests will receive gift certificates equal to the price of their meal (tax and tip excluded), redeemable on a future visit. Serving 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 2024 N. Halsted St., 773-935-5000.
Francesca's Forno: Pajama brunch served 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Menu includes tomato-braised pork hash, Amaretto french toast, Glazed & Infused doughnut trio. 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-770-0184.
Kitsch'n On Roscoe: The Hangover Brunch here has been a tradition since 1998. Pajama attire qualifies guests for door prizes, and there will be hangover awards, bowl games on TV, music and more. Menu highlights include coconut-crusted french toast and the "Levanta los muertos" (raise the dead) chilaquiles; a "bottomless brunch bar" of chipotle bloody marys and mimosas is $16. Serving 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 2005 W. Roscoe St., 773-248-7372.
Mindy's Hot Chocolate: Mindy Segal's annual pajama brunch usually sells out, so don't delay. Wonderful sweets make this a brunch not to miss. Serving 10 a.m.-2 p.m.. 1747 N. Damen Ave., 773-489-1747.
Mon Ami Gabi: The Oak Brook location of this french-bistro concept sells out its pajama brunch every year. (I can't believe no other west-suburban restaurants are trying this.) French-accented brunch menu, build-your-own bloody mary bar, mimosas from the rolling champagne cart — and guests in pajamas will receive a gift certificate equivalent to their bill (tax and tip excluded), redeemble on a future visit. Serving 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 260 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-472-1900.
Slurping Turtle: Back for a second year, Slurping Turtle's pajama brunch will be served 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Pajama-clad guests will receive a gift certificate equal to half their bill. 11 W. Hubbard St., 312-464-0466.
Brunches for the street-clothed
Bub City: Country brunch (items such as fried chicken and waffles with jalapeno-bacon honey) served 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 435 N. Clark St., 312-610-4200.
City Tavern: A la carte brunch served 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Entree with bottomless champagne or mimosas, $25. Bloody mary bar, $5. 1416 S. Michigan Ave., 312-663-1278.
Delish: Open 8 a.m-8 p.m. Special omelets for $8.95, including Hangover Relief omelet and New Year Resolution Veggie omelet. 2018 W. Division St., 773-276-5200.
Frontier: Brunch served 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; regular dinner service follows. 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-772-4322.
Hub 51: Buffet brunch served 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; $6 bloody marys and River North mimosas. $30, $15 ages 12 and younger. 51 W. Hubbard St., 312-828-0051.
Jake Melnick's Corner Tap: Annual Hangover Brunch includes chorizo and egg nachos, Epic Hangover burger. Serving 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 41 E. Superior St., 312-266-0400.
Kanela's: Brunch specials include french-toast flight ($10), Tallgrass beef breakfast burger ($10) and hangover-relief cocktails ($8). Bottomless mimosas $18 with food purchase. 3231 N. Clark St., 773-248-1622.
JW Marriott Chicago: Special New Year's Day breakfast menu and bloody mary bar. Serving 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 151 W. Adams St., 312-660-8200.
Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club: A la carte brunch served 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; add bottomless cocktails for $10. 3700 N. Halsted St., 773-525-1111.
Lockwood: Serving breakfast and lunch New Year's Day. Hangover-cure specials include the Ugly Burger, A double stack of Slagel Farms beef with two cheeses, bacon, chili and a fried egg ($16); and chilaquiles with poached egg and queso fresco ($14). 17 E. Monroe St., 312-917-3404.
Luxbar: Brunch served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. A la carte menu. 1031 N. Rush St., 312-642-3400.
Mercadito: Ultimate Hangover Cure Brunch includes three items from the brunch menu, plus a cocktail, for $19.50. Open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 108 W. Kinzie St., 312-329-9555.
Municipal Bar + Dining Co: Brunch, $40, includes bottomless mimosas or bloody mary bar. 216 E. Ohio St., 312-951-2125.
Perennial Virant: A la carte brunch with $5 bloody marys and mimosas. Serving 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 1800 N. Lincoln Ave., 312-981-7070.
R.J. Grunts: Buffet brunch served 10 a.m.-3 p.m., $15.95. $3 bloody marys. 2056 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-929-5363.
Shaw's Crab House: Seafood-rich buffet brunch with sweet table, $55; children younger than 12 eat free (limit two per paying adult). Serving 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Regular menu also available 4:30-9 p.m.; half-priced oysters 4-6 p.m. in oyster bar. 21 E. Hubbard St., 312-527-2722.
Shaw's Crab House Schaumburg: Buffet brunch served 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $52; children younger than 12 eat free (limit two per paying adult). Regular menu available noon-9 p.m.; 50-cent oyster hour 5-6 p.m. in the oyster bar. 1900 E. Higgins Rd., Schaumburg, 847-517-2722.
Standard Market Grill: Lincoln Park location will serve brunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Beverage specials include $4 craft beers, $4 bloody marys and $15 mimosa buckets. Regular menu served 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 444 W. Fullerton Parkway, 773-857-3080.
Tavern on Rush: A la carte brunch served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1031 N. Rush St., 312-664-9600.
Timothy O'Toole's Pub: Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Brunch, lunch and dinner menus served., along with bottomless bloody mary bar ($20) and mimosa bar ($16). 622 N. Fairbanks Court, 312-642-0700.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun