Monday, November 7, 2016

Fave Five: Underrated brunch restaurants in Atlanta

Brunch is an institution in Atlanta. It is truly a Sunday tradition in our city. Certainly a must-do for tourists and visitors.

But precisely because it is so popular, it can be frustrating. Call me crazy, but I can’t bring myself to go wait for food for an hour first thing Sunday morning. I’m not going to name names, but dare I say restaurants like West Egg Cafe or Canoe have become overrated (IMHO)?

Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve never been to some of the most popular brunch restaurants in Atlanta, you have to go at least once! Just be prepared to wait. For more than an hour. Likely hungover...

If you’ve already done that and just want a place where you can gather with friends for delicious food and drink without getting irritated before taking your first sip of mimosa, I give you my favorite underrated  brunch spots in Atlanta.

1. The Lawrence (Midtown):
The Lawrence patio (c) Facebook/thelawrenceatlanta

If you’re looking for a no-fuss brunch with bottomless mimosas, this place is perfect. Beat the rush by getting here at noon instead of 12:30 and grab a seat on the adorable patio. The carafes of bottomless mimosas ($15/person) will be flowing before you know it, and the menu has all your favorite comfort foods but throws in a couple of tasty twists in case you’re up for something different. Yes, you could have a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, or you could try a croque madame. Both are available.

2. Hampton & Hudson (Inman Park):
Nitro coffee at Hampton & Hudson

Two words: Hangover fries. Get them when you come here. Other reasons to visit Hampton & Hudson: THE BEST nitro coffee I’ve ever had, Bloody Marys that come with a sidecar of Guinness, brunch sliders (hot chicken or ham & gravy), excellent atmosphere, lack of a long wait time, great service. I could go on and on, but what it boils down to is the restaurant’s owners, Jenn & Billy Streck, are geniuses. Go check it out for yourself!

3. General Muir (Emory Village):
Avenue A at the General Muir

You’ve likely seen this restaurant on multiple best-brunch-in-Atlanta lists, and there’s a good reason for it: The food is outstanding! Literally every item on the brunch menu is excellent, but my two favorites are the smoked hash and Avenue A, a bagel with nova, schmear, avocado, grapefruit, cucumber, onion and dill. I also highly recommend the Bloody Caesar for your morning beverage: It’s similar to a Bloody Mary but with house-made clamato juice blend. You will likely have to wait for a table, but the aforementioned Bloody Caesar or a tasty coffee will help the time fly by (and the wait is usually well under an hour).
4. Homegrown (Cabbagetown):
The comfy biscuit at Homegrown (c) Yelp/Homegrown

That comfy biscuit though… If you’ve never had it, get you one ASAP: A generous fried chicken biscuit served open-faced and “blanketed in sausage gravy” (verbatim from the Homegrown menu). In case you’re really hungry, add one pancake. It’s the size of a dinner plate, so plenty to share with the table, too, if you feel so inclined. Two recommendations here: Plan some physical activity before and/or after your meal at this retro diner (you’re going to want to work off that authentic Southern fare). And get here earrrrrrrly (like, 7 a.m.) if you don’t want to wait for a table.

5. Bantam & Biddy (Midtown, Buckhead, Avalon):
Breakfast scramble at Bantam & Biddy

This Shaun Doty restaurant never disappoints, and brunch is no exception. My favorite brunch item here is chicken and waffles. Confession: I don’t usually care for this dish, but Bantam & Biddy’s version comes on a cheddar waffle and isn’t super sweet or greasy. It is delicious! They also have great omelettes and sides. It’s an excellent place for a casual tasty fuel-up before you officially start your Sunday Funday. The Lenox location has an espresso bar, in case you want a cappuccino to go.

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