As most brunch places I’ve been to, Orange does not take reservations. Since it opens at 9:30 am, we were not keen to the idea of getting there when it opened, despite having read about long waits. We arrived around 11:30 am and waited about a half hour (getting grumpier by the second… when I’m hungry, I’m cranky, and I was not the only one), which isn’t that terrible.
Immediately, Orange comes off as cutesy and fun; check the sign out! When you walk in, the walls are brightly colored (orange?) and the whole place is bustling. The noise of multiple blenders powering on and off, the smell of coffee and the sound of people chattering away fills you and makes you feel comfortable doing the same. The space is open, so we weren’t sitting on top of each other, which, if the place was in NYC, they definitely would have crammed more people into it.
The first thing we ordered was customized juices. The waitress indicated juice cards in buckets on the table, with small pencils to mark off our orders. You choose one from each of three columns and mix and match. The first two were fairly normal, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the last column (which added $1.50 or $2 to your drink price). I chose (pictured) watermelon as my base, and cantaloupe as my blended add-in. The juice was very fresh and light, and I didn’t really hear any complaints about the various juice combinations my friends made. I liked my juice, though next time, I’ll stick with straight up, fresh squeezed orange juice (perhaps with some champagne mixed in? Or Grey Goose? …but no, Orange does not serve alcohol, though you’re welcome to BYO).
The menu had a lot of items that we wanted to try, with many interesting items that just sounded delicious. In the end, we made our choices, which came out to five different dishes, and two sides:
1st row: ‘huevos rancheros’ – scrambled eggs over tortillas with salsa verde & refried beans + potatoes; french toast kebabs – grilled coconut french toast + fresh fruit; green eggs & ham – pesto scrambled eggs and pancetta
2nd row: jelly doughnut pancakes – there’s a whole center of raspberry jelly; flight of pancakes (pancakes 4 ways) – strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry
3rd row: applewood smoked bacon; citrus rosemary sausage
I ordered the huevos rancheros, and while mine were pretty good, I wouldn’t order it again… I did not like the salsa verde, and I was completely bloated and grossly overstuffed afterwards (put it this way- I didn’t eat again until 8 pm, and I was fine). The tortilla “chips” were not fried, and therefore not crispy, though good, but not exactly what I’d expect to contrast the texture of the beans and eggs.
My friends who ordered the french toast kebabs were horrified to discover that the larger slice of French toast underneath the kebabs wasn’t thoroughly cooked (salmonella, anyone?) but said the dish otherwise was very yummy and filling. The fruit sauces complemented the toast nicely- neither of them used the maple syrup provided.
I actually did not hear anything from the girls who ordered the green eggs and ham, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because if it was awful, I’d have heard about it immediately.
The jelly doughnut pancakes, though I did not try any, looked to be overflowing with raspberry jelly while they were eating them. The girls said it tasted pretty good, but I don’t think they’d order that again.
The flight of pancakes, which looks delicious, by the way, was cute and, according to the girls, very yummy and filling. I would definitely try that- apparently they change the theme every week, so check with your waitress for this week’s theme! (There’s also a bucket of cards on the table that describes the flight- I took one- I will change the above description to match it later when I get home, because the card is at home.)
The applewood smoked bacon was fairly standard; the rosemary citrus sausage was really good though. It had a light background of lemon permeating the meat, and the rosemary just went great with that.
We all left happy and full. Also, one of the girls had ordered an orange flavored coffee and really liked it; so much so that she bought a pound of coffee beans to bring home. Another girl followed suit, and while we walked around all day, it smelled really delicious.
Yvo says: I strongly recommend this place. I would definitely go back, and recommend it to everyone I know, for brunch, if it were in NYC. The place would fit right in here, but they’d probably have to raise their prices. If I recall correctly, prices were not expensive nor cheap, just right or what I’d expect to pay for what we got. Yummy!!! If you’re in Chicago, you should definitely check this place out. Try to go early if you want to avoid the lines.