7 Brunch Trends You Need to Know
From global fare to large-format cocktails, this is what diners crave right now.
Some people enjoy lounging at home in their PJs, eating a bowl of cereal, while reading the Sunday paper, but so many more obsess over going out for hearty weekend brunch. Bloody Marys and mimosas served alongside a short stack of pancakes and bacon are great, but with kitchens and bars getting more creative, brunch diners have come to look for a bit more. Here are seven trends happening across the country.
Family style/more options
Picking just one option at brunch can sometimes prove difficult. At FARM in Bluffton, S.C., chef Brandon Carter offers a $16 per person “chef’s choice,” family-style brunch tasting menu. There is also the regular “brunch and three” menu, where diners choose from five changing main dishes like huevos rancheros or seafood shakshuka, and the add three sides from a list of about 10 items (think sherry-gastrique braised bacon or cheddar cheese grits).
Whether Indian, Middle Eastern, Mexican or others, global flavors continue to push forward, so why not at brunch? Ema in Chicago offers lamb shakshuka with spicy harissa. Saffron Indian Bistro, in San Carlos, Calif., launched the Jugaad Café brunch, featuring a variety of Indian-inspired dishes, including an Indian-spiced fried chicken and Belgian waffle entrée. And in New York, Añejo offers morning tacos with scrambled eggs, braised pork, chorizo hash, salsa verde, pico de gallo, cotija cheese and cilantro, while chef Floyd Cardoz has “tiffin brunch” at Bombay Bread Bar, where two to three people can share an Indian dim sum-style brunch.
In-house bread programs
Making your own fresh pastries, bagels and breads like they do at Milwaukee’s Birch + Butcher and Boston’s Oak + Rowan, where they have a rotating selection of pastries at brunch, makes all the difference in flavor for toasts, sandwiches and more.
You know weekend brunch, but daily brunch? Chicago’s Pizzeria Bebu, whose focus is super thin crust pizzas, offers brunch daily until 3 p.m. with dishes like a market frittata and the Bagel Smuggler, a “bagel” pizza with everything spice, caramelized onion, house-cured pancetta and eggs. And Detroit’s Folk, open daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., serves all-day seasonal brunch with items like Kobe beef pastrami with white cheddar and sauerkraut; and an almond flour Belgian waffle with salted pistachio citrus butter. Last, Le Moo in Lexington, Ky., has a massive daily brunch menu with everything from thick-cut bacon and a classic burger to biscuits and gravy—and even $1 mimosas. Who doesn’t want that?
More plant-based options
Breakfast often features some sort of egg dish, but that doesn’t work for people who prefer plant-based diets. More establishments, like New York’s Dirt Candy, offer dishes like zucchini pancakes with squash blossom butter, and True Food Kitchen, with locations throughout the country, features a few things like the vegan chorizo bowl with jicama slaw, Anasazi beans and avocado. Don’t forget to include plant-based milks, like oat and coconut, for coffee.
Brunch cocktail options/large-format brunch cocktails
Brunch-goers are no longer relegated to simple bloodies and mimosas as bartenders offer more inventive drinks and sharable punches like New York spot Bar Fiori’s twist on a mimosa that combines Campari and OJ. Nashville’s etc. has the Woke Up Asleep, comprising two spirits from local Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery: Belle Meade bourbon and Louisa’s Coffee Caramel Pecan Liqueur along with cold brew coffee and bitters. Chicago’s The Delta offers large-format drinks sharable by two to three people, including its Brunch Bouquet with vodka, elderflower liqueur, OJ and bubbles.
Kid-friendly buffet stations
Don’t forget the little ones! A kids’ menu is great, but when you have a buffet, higher tables don’t always let them in on the action. Vernon’s First Coast Kitchen, at the Sawgrass Marriott in Florida, sets up a lower-level kid’s station where kids survey options and ultimately make their own meals.