Restaurant Review – Ann Sather

For nearly 70 years, Ann Sather Restaurant in Lakeview has been serving up Swedish delicacies such as delicate Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, Swedish meatballs, Swedish fruit soup and Swedish potato sausage.

The Ann Sather story began In the 1940s, when, according to their website, a vivacious career woman named Ann Sather decided that what she really wanted to do was own and run a restaurant. Her restaurant. A place where people could come for generous homemade meals, warm hospitality and know the moment they came in the door they went from being a customer to becoming a friend, with a special side dish of gästfrihet (hospitality).

For 30 years, Ann ran the diner herself. In 1981, after searching for a successor who would meet her stringent demands for quality and remain devoted to her patrons, Ann sold the restaurant to Tom Tunney– then a 24-year-old graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel and Restaurant Management– and now, Alderman of Chicago’s 44th Ward.

But ask any Chicagoan what Ann Sather means to them, and the most likely answer is “cinnamon rolls!”

Pre-Cinnabon, Ann Sather cinnamon rolls have been the pre-eminent Swedish ambassadors to the city. Freshly made, oozing cinnamon and sweet icing goodness, and available any time of the day, they grace the breakfast and lunch menus. According to several sources, cinnamon rolls were invented when Roman spice traders introduced the Sri Lankan cinnamon spice to Europeans, and Swedes used the new spice to make kanelbulle (cinnamon buns) and adding cardamom to the dough to give it a distinctive flavor.

But Ann Sather is about so much more than their mouth-watering cinnamon rolls. They are known for enormous portions, fresh meats, vegetables and their welcoming spirit. They are also known for breakfast! Go native and have a Swedish Breakfast Sampler, which includes one Swedish pancake, a Swedish meatball, Swedish potato sausage and one egg. Lighter appetites will enjoy Ann’s Darling-hot oatmeal with rice porridge and granola, topped with dried apricots, raisins, cranberries and pecans. Other choices include crepe-like Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, served with Swedish meatballs if you like. Or, try a Swedish waffle!

All egg entrées, including specialty Eggs Benedicts and omelets, are served with your choice of two sides, including two homemade cinnamon rolls, two hot biscuits & honey, one sweet muffin, toast, hash browns, fresh fruit, sliced tomatoes (in season), applesauce, or low-fat cottage cheese.

Lunch starters are worth the ala carte price, particularly the chilled Swedish fruit soup, homemade soup of the day, and pickled herring, followed by a Swedish Sampler, a platter of roasted duck with lingonberry glaze, Swedish meatball, Swedish potato sausage, spaetzle, sauerkraut and Swedish brown beans.

While Ann Sather is BYOB, they do offer fixings for Mimosas and Bloody Marys, as well as assorted juices. 

Ann Sather has three locations on the North Side of Chicago. All locations are open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, pick-up and delivery from 7 am to 3 pm. No reservations are taken. For more information, click here.