Summer has arrived in Chicago, with searing temps and cute dogs everywhere. We were sweltering as we walked to DS Tequila, but the people and dog watching was 10/10. Summers in Chicago are truly the best.
Setting the Scene
We arrived around 1:15 to be greeted by a friendly staff, including some familiar faces. We got plenty of hugs as we headed to the empty bar. The patio and tables were decently full, but with Midsommarfest in Andersonville and festivals happening all over the city, the slow crowd during the prime brunch hours wasn’t surprising to us.
The crowd was young and festive, clad in beach attire. We observed what appeared to be new transplants to the city taking their parents to brunch. An odd choice for such a party atmosphere, with dance music thumping and margaritas flowing, but we try not to judge.
Amenities and Accessibility
The venue is 21+, with the host checking IDs at the door. The entrance has a narrow sidewalk and two steps up to the door of the restaurant. There is a lift that goes from the main dining area to the bathrooms and patio, but we’re not sure about accessibility via the front door. We would appreciate any feedback on this from our readers.
Food and Drink
The menu has a variety of options, ranging from brunch-oriented egg dishes, to fried apps and burgers and their signature tacos. The variety is a plus for those who might not want a brunch-style meal. For the brunch drink special, they offer a mimosa mug for $16, which is limited to one bottle of champagne per person. Bloody Marys are also $5, with a bar to customize your own. More on the drinks later.
Becky ordered the breakfast sandwich, which consisted of three eggs over easy on a jumbo homemade biscuit, topped with cheddar cheese and grape jelly. It normally comes with bacon as well, which she got on the side for Jodie to snack on (it was cooked to perfection). The sandwich is served with breakfast potatoes or fruit. It sounded pretty basic, and it really was. The potatoes were dry and under seasoned (we were not experimenting with fruit at this place). The biscuit was jumbo as advertised, but dry, even with the perfectly cooked eggs, cheese and jelly on top. It was also under seasoned and underwhelming. Even adding hot sauce, salt and pepper did not help very much. It is clearly not made for the enjoyment of epicureans, but as sustenance for the heavy drinking crowd.
Jodie had the breakfast tostadas with chicken, which were passably good. The tostadas were crispy, even under the ponderous load of toppings. The standout flavor-wise was, surprisingly, the pico de gallo. It was a flash of jalapeño spice and refreshing tomato acidity which countered the density of the refried beans and chicken. The egg, advertised as being cooked over-easy, was served over hard. Jodie didn’t have a problem with this, as a runny yolk would have proved precarious and sloppy to eat. She had trouble finishing the meal, as three tostadas seemed a bit much for her appetite. This dish might be more manageable with two tostadas and a side of fruit or potatoes.
Now, back to the drinks, which were the most disappointing aspect of our visit.
Our first thoughts upon recollection – what, gross, and yikes.
We saw a 5-gallon plastic bucket that was filled with a pre-made mix of J. Roget champagne and orange juice, into which the bartender dunked an empty pitcher to fill the plastic mugs that served as the bar’s chosen vehicle for their mimosas. The mug was then filled with ice and topped with more orange juice from the gun. Luckily, we didn’t see all of this until we were half-way through our iced-down, mournfully under-fizzied “mimosas.”
When we asked for our refill (again, the table service seemed to be better at this, as we witnessed servers just re-filling any mugs at their tables that were low), the bartender at least had the decency to fill our mugs directly from the bottle of champagne before adding ice (cringe) and orange juice.
The ice was perplexing to us. In the searing heat of the day, the ice did nothing to cool the drinks, but everything to water down what was already flat and unpalatable. Jodie almost switched to beer halfway through her first drink, in spite of the $16 already spent.
A free lap dance from the oblivious girl sitting next to us at the bar. Kudos for your absence of spatial awareness, but we’re deducting points for your lack of style. And for elbowing Becky in the boob.
Bonus treat of getting out of our typical brunch comfort zone. We’re equal opportunity brunch denizens, but not all brunches are created equal. It is essential to have perspective.
We’re sad to say, this brunch experience was a 4/10, food-wise. The staff was friendly and attentive, but they couldn’t make up for the disappointing food and drink execution.
Planning and preparation for volume shouldn’t come at the cost of quality. We were perplexed and more than a little disgusted with the mimosa preparation. We’re not sure we’ll be back, unless it’s for a beer and a taco during the week.
Pro Tips – Optimize Your Experience
- It’s not about the food, it’s about the party. If you need sustenance for a raging Sunday Funday of summer debauchery, this is the place for you.
- Table service may be more attentive for groups, as they only had one bartender on duty. Sit at a table for quicker (and fresher) mimosa refills.
- We’re not sure what the crowd is like on non-game days, but it felt more like a Wrigleyville bar than a Boystown one. We’ve been to gayer straight bars. We didn’t feel unwelcome, but it was a different vibe than we were used to.
- Try the bloody mary bar over the mimosa package. It seems to us to be the better deal, and at the very least, you’ll have more control over the quality of your drink.