A beautiful and mild July day, we decided to invite friends to meet us for brunch before a block party. We ventured a little bit west to a Happy Hour favorite of ours, Zia’s Lago Vista, to see what their brunch had to offer.
Setting the Scene
The Cubs were at home for a night game, so it was a little bit of a gamble to head there, as they are frequent hosts for the Cubs-watching crowd. We walked through the giant wooden doors to a busy patio and restaurant area, but a quiet bar. After peppering our bartender Emmett with questions, we found out that it was, in fact, a quiet brunch. Most weekends, there is an extensive wait for tables and standing room only at the bar. We lucked out, as we had the bar to ourselves. Plenty of room for us and this week’s guest Brunch Baes, Meghan and Nichole.
Amenities and Accessibility
Zia’s has a gorgeous front patio that extends from the floor-to-ceiling retractible windows in the bar area. It is accessible from the sidewalk, with no steps to navigate. The 850 lb studded wood doors at the front entrance may prove a little difficult for some, but the restaurant is very well-staffed and accommodating to anyone in need. There is also valet parking available for $5 (cash only).
The women’s restroom is spacious, with three stalls and two entrances. The handicap stall was out of order during our visit, unfortunately.
Food and Drink
Zia’s brunch deal is unlimited mimosas or Bloody Mary bar for $12.00 with the purchase of a lunch or brunch item. In addition to the usual brunch line-up, they also have salads, burgers, and pasta dishes available for people who don’t care for brunch food and who clearly hate joy.
Jodie ordered the Chicken Sand sans egg and with cheese added. The fried chicken was tender and well-marinated. She was worried that the sandwich would be on the dry side, but this proved not to be the case. The side salad was lightly and perfectly dressed, a refreshing accent to the chicken. It also came with fries, but they seemed an under-seasoned afterthought. Given a choice, she would have just stuck with the salad. A rare miss for this restaurant.
Nichole made her omelette to order: egg whites with goat cheese, asparagus, and spinach, with toast and potatoes as her side. The omelette was light and fluffy and the richness of the goat cheese blended well with the veggies. The potatoes were amazing, in spite of her worries that the onions would be overwhelming. She also had a cappuccino, which was a perfect frothy delight.
Meg also got the Chicken Sand, but with no bacon. She also had the salad, and especially loved the arugula. She found that the salad was best eaten on the sandwich itself, as the balsamic dressing added some moisture and a pop of flavor to the chicken.
Becky decided on the breakfast pizza, minus the meats. On Emmett’s suggestion, she ordered a three cheese pizza, with caramelized onions and two baked eggs, instead of the pre-prepared breakfast pizza advertised on the menu. A formidable meal, the creamy cheeses were offset by sweet and tangy onions. The thin, crispy crust had an olive oil drizzle in place of a red sauce. Though thin, it supported the toppings well. The eggs were perfectly cooked, with crisp edges and a runny yolk. It was delicious and filling, with plenty leftover to make another meal at home. Becky would definitely order this entrée again.
Our bartender Emmett. He patiently answered our many questions graciously, had wonderful suggestions, and helped us make the most of the bottomless mimosas.
The people watching. From our perch at the corner of the bar, we were able to take in the vast array of clientele: the adorably awkward date on the patio, the charming child making friends with everyone, the dude-bros convening at the Bloody Mary bar to kick off their manly brunch. It was a feast for the eyes and imagination.
Complimentary bread and pickled veggies. Served only during the week with entrée orders, they are worth a second visit.
We give Zia’s an enthusiastic 8.5 out of 10. We have never had a bad meal or experience here, and today’s visit proved no exception. Emmett was exceptionally accommodating with our orders, worked with us to get the meals that we wanted and save us a little money in the process, and he kept our glasses full of bubbly goodness.
Pro Tips – Optimize Your Experience
- Take advantage of the valet. Metered and sticker only parking in the neighborhood is tight, and there is surge pricing for street meters during game and event days at Wrigley Field.
- Call ahead for reservations, even for a party of 2. We were lucky this time, but we now know better than to gamble on getting a seat.
- Stop by the bar for happy hour specials during the week. They change day to day, so be sure to check their website for daily specials.