Byline: Kristen Carr

“Toast” is a deceptively simple name for a trio of restaurants that specializes in baroque breakfast creations. Take the eggs Benedict, made with prosciutto instead of Canadian bacon, and topped with a white-truffle-spiked hollandaise sauce. Or if that’s not rich enough for you, there’s a filet mignon version that, the menu warns, is “not for the fainthearted.”
For those whose morning isn’t complete without a vast intake of carbohydrates, there’s the aptly named Pancake Orgy ($6.25) — one each of a strawberry, banana-pecan and blueberry buckwheat pancake topped with granola, a dollop of yogurt and honey.
“It’s not quite as much fun as it sounds, but you very well might need a nap afterward,” conceded owner Jeanne Antic.
Its close cousin, the Waffle Orgy, features a “log” of french toast stuffed with marscapone cheese and strawberry puree, again topped with the granola-yogurt-honey combo. Another favorite is a deeply cheesey omelet — plump with Amish blue, gruyere and cheddar — served with a side of, what else, toast.
Toast now boasts three Chicago locations, each with the same clean, pared-down design: honey-colored birchwood walls adorned with loopy swirls, egg-shape lighting fixtures, and a collection of brightly colored antique toasters to liven things up.
But the crowd varies heavily with the neighborhood. The Lincoln Park Toast caters to the mom-and-stroller set.
Business types looking to “eat it and beat it” frequent Toast’s River North outpost. In fashionably boho Bucktown, interior designers, boutique owners and the odd purple-haired tattoo artist can be spotted taking in Toast’s spruced-up a.m. standards.
All three restaurants serve lunch as well, featuring a selection of crepes, panini and grilled sandwiches. At 746 West Webster, (773) 935-5600; 228 West Chicago, (312) 944-7023, and 2046 North Damen, (773) 772-5600.

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