Beyond Bouquets and Bonbons: A Chicago Guide for a Special Mother’s Day Celebration

Tobias Roberts, May 8, 2018


Every year, Americans collectively spend over 21 billion dollars to lavish their mothers with gifts during the second Sunday in May. While that might seem like lot of cash, all of us know that the special women in our lives deserve so much more than that. Regrettably, the vast majority of the gifts that we give as a token of our appreciation and respect fall into the category of: “it’s the thought that counts.” While most of our mothers would never admit it, those obscure kitchen gadgets, unseasonable bouquets of flowers, and bargain-basement priced supermarket chocolates are probably not what she was hoping for.

While Mother’s Day has become a commercial success for florists, retail shops, and the restaurant industry, the origins of the celebration of the mother figure in the United States date back to 1870 when Julia Ward Howe summoned women to come together to fight against war and oppression.  Howe envisioned Mother´s Day thus: “As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel… whereby the great human family can live in peace.”

Even if your mother isn’t the symbol of a warrior for justice and peace, the history of this widely celebrated holiday beckons us to reflect on the true importance of the day that celebrates the infinite contributions of motherhood, both to us individually and to the wider world.

If you are struggling to come up with a unique Mother’s Day celebration plan that goes beyond the customary and expected bouquet of Begonias and breakfast at Bob Evans, we have five unrivaled celebration ideas that will leave your mother feeling genuinely cherished.

Brunch at Acadia and a Walk to Promontory Point

Chef Ryan McCaskey has created an absolutely brilliant restaurant on the South Loop called Acadia. This premier dining venue is opening its doors for mothers around the city as it is hosting an exceptional brunch special on Mother’s Day from 11 am to 2 pm. For $55 per person, you and the special women in your life can enjoy a three course meal with a variety of options to choose from including cured salmon, Maine lobster eggs benedict, and rhubarb sorbet. The complimentary cinnamon rolls and croissants will make it well worth your while to hold off on breakfast. If your mother used to read Dr. Seuss to you at bedtime, the “green eggs and ham” special will certainly be of interest. Reservations are by Opentable or by phone and demand is sure to by high, so reserve your spot today.

While you’re on the South Side, consider taking a trip to Promontory Point just south of Hyde Park. This beautiful park on the lake offers great views of the city skyline and is a great spot to simply and relax and spend some time with mom.

Address and Contact Info for Acadia:

1639 S Wabash Ave

(312) 360-9500

Bohemian House Brunch Followed by River Walk

If you want to head straight into downtown, the Bohemian House offers a great European atmosphere on West Illinois Street. They are also putting on a three course brunch menu from 10 am until 3 pm in buffet style so that the special woman (or women) in your life can choose amongst the best European-inspired cuisine the city has to offer. A live acoustic performance by Mike Jansen makes the $35 per person price well worth it, and all mothers will be treated to a sweet treat takeaway at the end of the meal.

From the Bohemian House, it is only a couple blocks to the Riverwalk where you can find some of the best green spaces in the city to sit, relax, and chat. The City Winery is located right on the Riverwalk and is a great way to treat your mother to a relaxing afternoon after a splendid meal.

Address and Contact Info for the Bohemian House:

11 W Illinois St

(312) 955-0439

Pizza, Dessert, and Drinks at Forno Rosso and The Aviary

It’s hard to go wrong with pizza and wine for any occasion, and Forno Rosso is an authentic Napoletana Pizzeria located in the West Loop. Their Sunday morning brunch from 11 am to 3 pm will allow mom to choose from some original Italian cookery including wood-fired Panini, asparagus frittata, or a breakfast pizza featuring baby asparagus, grape tomatoes, and cage-free eggs. If you dine in, mom will also get treated to a complimentary dessert and a glass of Prosecco (lunch and dinner reservations only).

If you want to treat mother to a little bit of Chicago nightlife, the Aviary is located only a few blocks north of Forno Rosso. You can reserve a special 5-Course Cocktail Tasting Menu with paired delicious food treats for $135 per person.

Address and Contact Info for Forno Rosso:

1048 Randolph Street

(312) 243-6000

Brunch and Play Day at Cindy’s

If you plan to bring small kids with you for your Mother’s Day celebration, Cindy’s is a great rooftop restaurant that offers breathtaking views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan from their open-air terrace above the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Their award-winning chefs offer classic meals for brunch and bio-dynamic wines to sip while enjoying the lake view.

After brunch, served from 9 am to 2 pm, you can take the kids to Millennium Park. Weather permitting, the fountains should be turned on to let the kids burn off some energy in the water while you and the special women in your life relax in Chicago’s best family park.

Address and Contact Info for Cindy’s:

12 S. Michigan Ave.,


Discover Your Own Hidden Chef

If mom prefers a relaxing morning at home to commemorate her special day, you can still make it an exceptional festivity to celebrate her life. Northern Fork is a Chicago-based catering and events company that willingly shares their culinary expertise with their clients. This video they provide offers step-by-step instructions to help you prepare a Mother’s Day feast of quiche, crème brulee French toast muffins, and mimosa bellinis.

If, however, you burn the quiche, destroy the French toast muffins, and cannot find the champagne glasses for the mimosa, Northern Fork also offers quality catering services with a quick delivery window that will allow you to celebrate in style.