Breakfast is to brunch as a power walk is to a leisurely stroll.
Breakfast is two eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns, and toast swabbed with those sad jelly packets, washed down with coffee.
Brunch is eggs Benedict, or pork belly hash, consumed languidly, accompanied by mimosas or carefully constructed Bloody Marys. Brunch is served until well into the afternoon, so you don’t have to rise with the sun to get your pancake fix.
Since you likely won’t be getting much done after your little day-drinking excursion, brunch is usually reserved for the weekend. But some restaurants have discovered there’s a demand for a civilized morning meal every day of the week.
Next time you just can’t face heading to work on Monday, or want to celebrate hump day, these places will welcome you with open arms and uncorked bottles.
Tongue in Cheek
This Payne Avenue restaurant has developed a devoted following with its weekend #HowWeBrunch package, which includes an Eye Opener cocktail (or non-alcoholic equivalent), two “teasers,” an entrée, and coffee, for $25. And they've just added brunch service on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays as well.
The teasers are just what they sound like, little bites that are big on flavor to get your mouth revved up for the main event. They might include pork belly with sesame and peanut, or a dollop of whipped burrata amped up with everything bagel spices. The main course includes customer favorites like the Weekend at Bennie’s, with gravlax, poached eggs, and avocado topped with chipotle Hollandaise, along with a few new dishes like Here’s Johnny, a pork rillettes eggs Benedict. The creative morning cocktails include the house Bloody, with horseradish vodka, clam juice, and house mix, and the Cosmonaut Jack with sparkling wine, vodka, and ginger.
889 Payne Ave., St. Paul
Brunch served Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Since it opened in 2012, the Kenwood has been the home of the civilized brunch, available every single day. The cozy dining room evokes a clubhouse feel, inviting you to sit and stay awhile, and the menu, which takes full advantage of what’s fresh and at its peak, offers familiar favorites as well as a rotating cast of seasonal options. The well-cultivated wine list includes a couple of sparklings to enjoy on their own or, if you must, mixed with orange juice.
If you’re a purist, order the scrambled eggs. They're a revelation if you’ve never had them prepared in the classic, creamy manner. They come with rosemary potatoes that are nicely browned on the outside and still fluffy on the inside. If you're looking for something new, the Kenwood regularly changes up its brunch offerings. Right now you can enjoy Korean-style shrimp and grits with greens, shiitakes, and poached eggs. The simple-sounding pancakes with black walnut butter are a neighborhood favorite, and always on the menu.
2115 W. 21st St., Minneapolis
Brunch served 10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily
This Uptown stalwart serves brunch daily until 5 p.m. – no need to rush out of bed to get your eggs. Along with an a.m. cocktail, the quirky interior is a mood booster, what with its mirrored tiles and slightly disheveled but lovable and lived-in look (not unlike you when you roll out of bed).
The daily quiche is always a good bet, featuring a generous slice of seasonal ingredients packed into a flaky crust. The Croque-Monsieur is a hearty and comforting combination of ham and Gruyere, dunked in egg batter and fried. And because you need to eat your greens, most brunch entrees come with a classic salad, simply dressed with vinaigrette. Instead of a mimosa, opt for a Bellini, which swaps in peach puree for orange juice, or try the Bloody Beer, which tastes a lot better than it sounds.
1600 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
Brunch served 11 a.m.–5 p.m. daily
The Mill Northeast
You may know it as the former Porky’s, but that building on Central Avenue is now home to a menu that focuses on local and seasonal ingredients, with some worldly flair thrown in for good measure. Case in point: the Ecuadorean baked eggs, a lively dish that combines two eggs, mole-spiced black beans, queso fresco, white Cheddar, avocado crème, and salsa verde served with a llapangacho, a fried potato cake. If you’re arriving late and feel a bit more like lunch, try the Cubano Central, a substantial sandwich of smoked pork, Beeler’s ham, provolone, pickled chilies, spicy pickles, and mustard on a pressed ciabatta roll.
Travel back to the '70s and enjoy a Harvey Wallbanger with your meal. It’s like the best mimosa made even better with a bit of Galliano liquor thrown in for good measure. For something on the spicy side, try the Korean Bloody Mary, which includes a long list of tongue-tingling ingredients, including Ssamjang, rice wine vinegar, pineapple, fish sauce, Graham’s Black Bottle scotch, pickled daikon, and carrot.
1851 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Brunch served 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily
Linden Hills has an embarrassment of riches restaurant-wise, including Harriet Brasserie, located in the former Fire House 28. The menu is American, but influenced by world cuisines, as well as what’s available seasonally. The sunny space and friendly service will encourage lingering as you peruse the daily paper – or your cell phone screen.
Scones and gravy offers a twist on the classic biscuits and gravy: soft poached eggs served on a scone with sausage and Hen of the Woods mushrooms, accompanied by parsnip crisps. Or try the lamb hash, a mélange of carrots, celery, sweet potato, corn, and onion topped with poached eggs, all enlivened with mint dressing and Hollandaise. To drink, try the Eye Opener, a combination of dark porter beer and cold press coffee, a match made in heaven.
2724 W. 43rd St., Minneapolis
Brunch served Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.