Review: Honey Berry Cafe gets an Instagram like from me

By Paige Barnes, Audience Engagement Editor

The “Signature Honeyberry” pancakes are topped with colorful berry mascarpone filling, fresh berries, vanilla crème anglaise over a spread of blackberry coulis. Camilla Forte

Stack two thick pancakes, add a substantial amount of vanilla crème anglaise and hot pink berry mascarpone filling, top it off with an assortment of fresh berries and you will have an #InstaWorthy, #NoFilterNeeded sweet taste of Honey Berry Cafe.

Honey Berry Pancakes and Cafe, 901 S. State St., is the newest and trendiest South Loop breakfast and brunch place. The small breakfast chain officially opened Sept. 21, replacing Bulldog Ale House.

Since the sports bar chain closed in July, the location has received a David Tutera-esque makeover, from the rustic white dinner tables inside to the gargantuan artificial hedges against the wall that screams, “Take a brunch selfie in front of me.”

The menu caters to those with a sweet tooth or in need of something savory and warm for the cooler weather. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are also available.

Its “Signature Honeyberry” pancakes are slightly denser than angel food cake and lighter than the texture of a Bundt cake, but the toppings are what make this signature pancake worthwhile for $13.

The drizzled berry mascarpone filling looks like a mixture of hot pink Silly String and freshly-dressed fondant. Together, the mélange of tastes mixes perfectly with the vanilla crème anglaise and the blackberry coulis.

It was hard to eat the pancakes in one sitting due to the generous portion and how saccharine the combination was.

Remember when Buddy the Elf from “Elf” makes his candied spaghetti breakfast? That was how I felt looking at the layers upon layers of syrupy goodness.

I will remember next time to use my spoon to scoop half of the Silly String off the pancakes and, of course, hold the syrup. This dessert pancake—if there is such a thing—is fine without any additional sugar.

Honeyberry offers a variety of espresso drinks, alongside other breakfast staples, which can be customized with different milks and flavors to fit dietary restrictions. Camilla Forte

If that was not enough sweet excitement, Honey Berry also offers coffee for $3.50 and lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos with vanilla, cinnamon, caramel or mocha flavor for $5.50, including the optional flavoring.

Again, the very treacly flavorings made it hard to get away from the sweetness of it all.

When the “Veggie Skillet” was placed on my table, I was ready to give my sweet tooth a rest and try something on the savory side.

The saying is true—you do eat with your eyes first.

The two eggs of your choice sizzled on an assemblage of hash browns, cheese, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, onions, tomatoes and broccoli and comprised a hearty entrée for $16.

The restaurant’s large selection of skillets are a favorite for patrons who prefer a savory breakfast. Camilla Forte

It comes with your choice of toast or regular pancakes, but for $3 extra, you can substitute the standard pancakes for specialty pancakes, like the “Signature Honeyberry.”

This will save a college student a few extra dollars while still providing the chance to try what is promised in the cafe’s name.

A short stack of specialty pancakes is $6.

Most of the vegetables work in tandem with each other, and only the asparagus stood out for its sharply bitter taste. Although a little bit of salt, pepper and hot sauce masks it, no problem.

Currently, there is no student discount in place—only a discount for those living in NEMA, 1210 S. Indiana Ave., and Astoria Tower, 8 E. 9th St.

However, Tiffany Frederick, general manager of Honey Berry Cafe, said if there is student interest, she would be open to discussing the possibility of a discount with the cafe’s owners.

She said there are also tentative plans to use indoor seating following coronavirus safety guidelines during the winter as patio dining becomes more challenging and less desirable. However, the indoor seating is limited.

My high expectations for a place with “berries” and “pancakes” in the name were met by the service and cuisine. It was an elevated version of Yolk while still meeting the expectations of an overrated Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe.

When I finish my box of leftovers, you will be sure to see me again at Honey Berry Pancakes and Cafe.