RAVENSWOOD — It's tough enough to get out of bed on New Year's Day, much less dress for brunch, which is one reason Angel Food Bakery encourages customers to dine in their pajamas on Jan. 1.
Owner Stephanie Samuels even offers free donuts to patrons who brave the cold in their jammies.
"It's a big bonus," said Kristin Riehl, 24, who enjoyed Angel Food's Hangover Brunch with Andy Karrick, 34.
"It's comfy," she said, as the two pondered the menu all snug in their bathrobes. "We have no shame."
Kimberly Beatty, 27, and Daniel Kenis, 30, have made the brunch an annual tradition.
"It's nicer than thinking about what to put on," said Beatty of the uber-casual dress code.
"I would dress in pajamas every day if I could," added her companion, whose sleepwear looked suspiciously like sweats.
Dale Estes, 62, an Angel Food regular and long-time friend of Samuels, was more modest and opted for jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt.
"I'm too embarrassed," he said as he tucked into a bowl of soup, though he appreciates the courage of those less formally attired.
"It's just a good time, it's nice to see people come out," said Estes, who remained confident he would receive a serving of donuts, PJs or not.
"I'll sweet talk her [Samuels] out of it."
Samuels, sporting pajama bottoms herself, inaugurated the Hangover Brunch in 2009 partly as an excuse to fry up donuts, which her kitchen isn't large enough to accommodate on a regular basis — "Possibly I could be coerced into it," she said — but mostly as a way to drum up business on a day the bakery, 1636 W. Montrose Ave., would otherwise close.
"I saw other places were open and thought it might be a nice day for us, a way to start the year with a bang," she said as she took a breather from kitchen duty. "Of course, you know you want a hook to get people in."
The idea proved a hit with the neighborhood's families and singles alike.
"We had our big family rush right at nine o'clock," said Samuels, who expected a second wave of customers in the early afternoon.
She was prepared to continue cranking out donuts until 3 p.m., giving the truly hungover plenty of time to roust themselves out of bed — but not their pajamas.