We’re lucky. We love Richard Branson and we now live down the street from his first foray into hospitality located in downtown Chicago, The Virgin Hotel. The property opened about a year and a half ago and, we’ll admit, they struggled a bit to find their way. Cocktails were too sweet and their wines were less than stellar. Since then, they’ve dug their heels in and are making vast improvements. Plus, their hotel rooms are well designed and offered at a great reasonable price. You can’t beat the location as a tourist either. You’re close to Millennium Park and all the great art museums, like The Art Institute.
One place that has been solid since inception has been their downstairs diner, Miss Ricky’s.
You don’t come here to diet (although I did eat the Dark Greens Salad – seen below), but you will find some perfect brunch and late night “I’ve had just enough drinks not to care” fare. I mean, will you look at those Chicken + Waffles and Tres Leches French Toast? They’re a sight to see. And, they were delicious. I’ve been to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, a famous spot for Chicken + Waffles and, although my California friends and purists might kill me when I say this… I like Miss Ricky’s more. The chicken they use tastes like a high quality chicken breast and the syrup is the perfect compliment because it’s not thick and heavy, but rather, a light and spicy Sriracha maple combo. To die for!
There are two things everyone likes. Tres Leches cake and French Toast. If you don’t, I don’t want to know you. So, when you combine the two it is obviously a winning combination.
Of course, since I have to try my share of fattening foods to write about them, I ordered and devoured the Dark Greens salad. The dressing was light and perfect and they chopped it finer for me since there’s nothing that bothers me more than a salad with big chunks of lettuce or kale. Momma likes it finely chopped and I’m pretty sure most of the world does too (why else would all those chopped salad places start popping up, right?).
What I like most about Miss Ricky’s, however, just might be the staff. They come by and ask you, genuinely, how things are. They want to make improvements. And they do. Typical of a company run by someone like Branson, they listen and they learn. So, for diner fare, I given them a solid thumb’s up for speed, quality, and gluttony. I think they need to continue to refine their cocktail menu to remove some of the sweetness and work on the current trends in the cocktail space (e.g. spice, tart, botanical, etc.)
With that in mind, we recommend Miss Ricky’s for a solidly delicious brunch or late night meal that you’re going to enjoy. You may have to get a room to sleep it off or hit the skate rink at Millennium Park to work it off, but it’s damn good.