Waffles with peaches and cream
  • Jessica Cohn
  • Waffles with (mushy overripe) peaches and cream

Restaurant Beatrix, a Lettuce Entertain You spot that opened in late June, came touted as a “coffeehouse and neighborhood restaurant” despite its location in the new River North hotel Aloft. There, just off the lobby, it tries to supply a tourist or business traveler’s every need, from eye-opener to nightcap. But could it really please the neighbors?

The good doc

Suspecting that, at the very least, the place would be a good option for River North professionals, a colleague and I staged a mock business meeting here to see if our hypothesis held water. It did, and more—it held juice. In fact, the fresh house-made juices were the highlight of our meal. The Dr. Defense—with apple, cinnamon, and black pepper—was a cidery intro to fall flavors, while my companion’s Blue Boost (blueberry juice, white grape juice, and basil) distilled the last of summer. Between the two, we felt like we were drinking in Indian summer.

The dishes we had weren’t quite so satisfactory. Mealy overripe peaches marred the otherwise outstanding waffles with vanilla syrup and whipped cream. The so-called Spicy Chicken Tinga wasn’t spicy and lacked any note of contrast to the soft chicken, over-easy eggs, and corn tortillas. How about at least a squeeze of lime or some piquant cabbage slaw?

The (not) Spicy Chicken Tinga
  • Jessica Cohn
  • The (not) Spicy Chicken Tinga

Our best choice was the also the least expensive—a $6.95 breakfast sandwich of pot roast and egg on rosemary focaccia, the chewy, lightly toasted bread an excellent foil to the tenderness of the meat. A side of very spicy jalapeño relish livened things up considerably. For kicks we took to spreading it on the underwhelming tinga.

Pot roast for breakfast!
  • Jessica Cohn
  • Pot roast for breakfast!

Another good bet is coffee to go and a baked good or sweet item from the pastry case. A not-too-sweet giant house-made graham cracker was a welcome midafternoon snack, and an indulgent peanut butter cookie was big enough to share. I’d come back for a side of the “brown sugared bacon” and a cup of the malted freddo when the weather turns.

But what about that “business meeting”? The ladies at the table next to us were able to conduct a lengthy legitimate one with minimal interruptions from the friendly, considerate staff. Seats began to fill up around lunchtime—for best results shoot for the lull between morning and afternoon service.

Restaurant Beatrix, 519 N. Clark, 312-284-1377, restaurantbeatrix.com