10 Unbeatable Brunch Spots

Published in Gourmet Live 05.09.12
In our monthly collaboration with BlogHer, we’re treating Mom to a memorable meal with locals’ picks for the nation’s best Benedicts, beignets, omelets, and more

Albany, New York: New World Bistro Bar

From ropa vieja eggs Benedict to scrambled egg and Korean pork belly burritos, the locally sourced, globally inspired enormous menu at New World Bistro Bar is sure to have something to please every palate (including gluten-free and vegan options). The restaurant is located in a brick-walled building that dates back to 1910 and features a gleaming mahogany bar. If you’re in the mood for something savory, chef Ric Orlando’s spicy Cajun pan-blackened green bean appetizer with mustard Creole remoulade can’t be missed!

Anchorage, Alaska: Snow City Cafe

Snow City Cafe is a bright and whimsical brunch hot spot in downtown Anchorage that offers a diverse menu of fresh and hearty Alaskan fare, plus an expansive bakery counter and full espresso bar. Favorites include the Kodiak Benedict with king crab cakes and the stuffed French toast with mandarin orange cream cheese and walnuts, both best served with a side of Alaskan reindeer sausage. Call ahead for reservations, as it’s always bursting at the seams, and don’t forget to grab a bag of homemade granola to take home.

Cambridge, Massachusetts: Veggie Galaxy

As someone who eats a mostly vegan diet, I find it can be tricky to find egg- and dairy-free options on most brunch menus. Not only does Veggie Galaxy cater to my food preferences with tasty dishes like vegetable tofu scrambles, tempeh bacon, and vegan banana-nut-stuffed French toast, but it also offers traditional vegetarian omelets, pancakes, and waffles using cage-free eggs, organic ingredients, and your choice of gluten-free breads. There is truly something for everyone at this fun, space-themed, retro-style diner.

Dallas: Parigi

While cosmopolitan in decor, Parigi embodies a cozy charm with an open kitchen that allows you to feel the energy of the staff as you eagerly anticipate the arrival of your meal. The restaurant focuses on fresh, locally grown ingredients and offers a brunch menu with favorites like chilaquiles, lemon pound cake French toast, and a deconstructed California roll. Apart from the diverse selection, the real draw here is the consistent excellence of the seasonal fare, warm service, and intimate ambiance.

Grand Rapids: Real Food Cafe

When it comes to brunch in Grand Rapids, Real Food Cafe is without a doubt the local favorite. The food is plentiful, the service is quick and friendly, and I’ve never left without absolutely raving about my meal. My go-to breakfast is the veggie-filled garden omelet, and my husband always orders the decadent French toast stuffed with strawberries and cream cheese. The wait time to be seated can seem daunting, but the quality and reasonable pricing of the food make it well worth the anticipation.

Jacksonville, Florida: Metro Diner

Metro Diner first opened its doors in 1938, and it hasn’t changed much since its early days as a popular soda shop. Grab a seat at the bar or snag a table outside under the shade of the big oak trees, then take your pick of classic diner favorites like eggs Benedict or a grilled three-cheese sandwich. For a real treat, try the house special Yo Hala on the Square, a thick slice of challah bread stuffed with bananas sautéed in Frangelica and blended with cream cheese. It’s a gourmet take on classic French toast, complete with fresh blueberry-strawberry compote.

Manatou Springs, Colorado: The Craftwood Inn

A 100-year-old Tudor mansion is home to one of Colorado’s quintessential restaurants, the Craftwood Inn, nestled in the hills just outside Colorado Springs. The inn’s holiday brunch buffet is an experience far beyond traditional carved roasts and waffle bars. Pile your plate high with your choice of game, including elk, antelope, ostrich, wild boar, and lamb, all prepared in creative combinations, such as pan-seared pecan-crusted venison. The quaint hillside perch tucked into the serene beauty of the mountains is the perfect place to treat Mom to the best brunch ever this Mother’s Day.

Oakland: Picán

Bay Area families dressed to the nines flock to Picán on any given Sunday morning for a truly memorable brunch. Founder Michael LeBlanc and chef Dean Dupuis have created a menu of top-notch, Southern-inspired dishes, including the popular beef-braised collard greens—you’ll want to order extra to take home. Other favorites include the classic flaky biscuits and gravy, the fried chicken Benedict, and the ultimate sweet finale: pillowy Picán beignets tossed with cane sugar and cinnamon.

Seattle: Café Campagne

Located in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, Café Campagne is a cozy spot decorated with vintage French art and wine-bottle lamp stands that create the comfortable atmosphere of a bustling Parisian hangout. The menu is certain to satisfy every member of your family with can’t-miss favorites like brioche French toast that bring out the kid in me, and a juicy lamb burger that satisfies my inner carnivore.

Worcester, Massachusetts: Armsby Abbey

As a New England native, I look forward to spring, not only for milder weather, but to see local produce making a comeback on my favorite menus. It’s a real treat to get the first taste of the season’s bounty at Armsby Abbey, where produce is sourced directly from nearby farms. The restaurant’s menu changes weekly according to the chef’s desires and which fruits and vegetables are ready for picking, but diners can always count on hearty quiches prepared with farm-fresh eggs, stuffed French toast made with bread baked on-site, and breakfast pizzas and hashes showcasing a variety of local meats. Washing it all down with a craft brew—or a creative cocktail featuring small-batch specialty liquors—is the icing on the cake!

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