“It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of canteloupe at the end.”
At least, that’s how an early episode of The Simpsons described it. But oh, brunch is so much more! Its popularity has only picked up since the early ’90s. Brunch has become more than a meal — it has become a social statement. Even more importantly, brunch has become a reason to drink cocktails at noon on a Sunday. A delicious reason.
There are thousands of brunch offerings in the U.S. alone — we won’t even begin to try to wrap our heads around the world — all ranging from exquisite to hole-in-the-walls and best-kept secrets. Oh, so many of them are worth our time. We’re sad to say we can’t visit them all, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few hot spots that are worth a special trip.
1. Foreign Cinema (San Francisco, CA)
Foreign Cinema (brunch menu here) is a staple of the San Francisco brunch scene. The eatery offers an outdoor seating option where diners can enjoy dishes like truffle omelets and balsamic fried eggs underneath projector screenings of foreign films. The restaurant captures an airy, light mood perfectly suited towards a casual, boozy meal among friends.
2. Brunch Club Madison (Madison, WI)
This list would be incomplete without an option highlighting the Midwestern tradition of hospitality and hearty fare. Brunch Club Madison offers up such inspired and homey delights as the Eggs Benedicto, featuring two poached eggs on a toasted English muffin with roasted tomatoes, Italian salsa verde, sun-dried tomato hollandaise, and — the kicker — crunchy candied prosciutto. We’ve never seen candied prosciutto, but we’d sure like to try it.
3. The Griddle Cafe (L.A.)
Truth be told, we were not expecting such a humble little eatery to be located on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Alas, that is what makes the Griddle Cafe such a destination for celebrities and hangover-havers from all walks of life! Oreo-filled flapjacks sound like an ideal pick-me-up treat, and … dare we attempt it? The Golden Ticket option serves up the Cafe’s signature brown sugar-baked “Banananana” pancakes filled with caramel, walnuts, and streusel, topped with whipped cream, caramel, and more streusel! This is by no means a brunch for amateurs.
4. Hominy Grill (Charleston, SC)
Hominy Grill is a humble outpost for Southern favorites. Try the signature Charleston Nasty Biscuit (fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and sausage gravy) or the sumptuous téed shrimp with scallions, mushrooms, and bacon over cheese grits.) You’ll be full until dinnertime.
5. Ria’s Bluebird (Atlanta, GA)
6. The Dutch (New York City)
It may come at a price, but The Dutch’s hot fried chicken — crisped to perfection — will transport you to distant worlds. Served with honey butter biscuits, this hearty and gargantuan meal is a great post-sleep, pre-afternoon nap foray into the world of fine dining.
7. Beatrice and Woodsley (Denver, CO)
This place had us hooked from the moment we saw the menu’s cryptic — or maybe not so cryptic — “Monkey Brains” listing with no further explanation. If Monkey Brains aren’t your brunch of choice, try the creative Pork Cheek Hash, or the Hoo-Weee Hot Brown with grilled smoked turkey, onion, and warm tomato smothered with sausage and crawfish fondue with easy egg. Enjoy alongside one of their impressive cocktails — the Impearment is served on the rocks with Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka, Old Overholt Rye, lemon and apple juice, and a ginger beer float.
8. Gigi (Miami, FL)
Gigi is a list standout for its altogether unique take on brunch (and on food in general.) Dishes are Asian-inspired and have a flair to them, well-suited to the adventurous brunch eaters among us. Menu highlights include chef-inspired eggs benedict, served with a chive biscuit, hollandaise, and absolutely mind-blowing, delicious sounding pork belly sweet potato hash. Yes, you read that right: Pork. Belly. Sweet. Potato. Hash.
9. Magnolia Pancake Haus (San Antonio, TX)
Bacon Stuffed Waffles. We shouldn’t need to say any more than that, but we will. The Magnolia menu packs in a dizzying array of sweet and savory options, each sounding as delicious as the next. If you’re not a bacon lover, try one of the many world famous pancakes, ranging from buttermilk to blueberry to bananas foster!
10. The Publican (Chicago, IL)
The Publican hits the sweet spot in a combination of funky, bierhaus-inspired décor and pictures of fat hogs adorning the walls, and no-bones-about-it great food with flair. We’re most taken with the red wine poached eggs over sourdough bread; they’re drizzled with béarnaise sauce served with ribbons of prosciutto. The Publican also offers a butt-kicking cocktail menu with multiple beer infusions. The list features inspired drinks with unforgettable names like “3 Days in a Cave” and “Player’s Pisco Punchout.”
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