June 15, 2016 Edibles » Cover Story

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The Brunch Guide 

30 spots to check out in Charlotte

There's a lot to choose from when it comes to deciding on a spot to dine in for brunch. Do you want a fancy setting or just a simple but tasty meal? Are libations needed or are you fighting a hangover and in dire need of some eggs to break down those acetaldehydes? We've put together a list of 30 brunch spots in the greater Charlotte area with a variety of damn tasty offerings — including the sweet and the savory. Just a fair warning: This guide will make you hungry. So be prepared to arrange a brunch date for satisfying those mouth-watering urges.

300 East While the breakfast pizza is up at the top of the must-try items, there are plenty of other options. In the mood for grits? The Carolina Plantation grits bowl comes with your choice of four ingredients. Note: All the eggs are free range and sourced from local area farms. Also, they have beignets, too! Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 300 East Blvd. 704-332-6507. 300east.net.

The Asbury Located in the historic Dunhill Hotel, The Asbury provides a brunch filled with classy spins on the regular classics, not to mention farm-to-table freshness. The fried mac & cheese and sticky biscuits are crowd favorites. Wash it all down with mimosas or hit up the bloody mary bar with locally-sourced ingredients. Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 235 N. Tryon St. 704-342-1193. theasbury.com.

Bistro La Bon When Bistro La Bon first opened six years ago, it was no big deal to take reservations on a Sunday. Since then, the popularity of brunch in Plaza Midwood has made that an unreasonable expectation. Now, with Sunday morning being the most popular time for the restaurant, it's first-come, first-serve. Bistro serves brunch on Saturday with a set menu, while Sunday features an all-you-can-eat buffet. Both days feature menus that mix classics with international recipes from the chef, who was born in Iran and raised in Sweden. Even on buffet day, all eggs, waffles and French toast is made-to-order in the kitchen. The French toast is most popular, according to general manager John Sawyer, who took it off the menu for one Sunday only to face angry customers. "If we stopped serving French toast, we'd probably have to shut this restaurant down," Sawyer said. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 1322 Central Ave. 704-333-4646. bistrolabon.com.

Block and Grinder Known for its premium beef, organic meats and wild game, you might not think of this as an ideal spot to do brunch. And... you'd be wrong. The B&G grits dish comes with shrimp, smoked maple sausage and Anson Mills grits, but there's also duck hash, chicken and waffles, steak and eggs and brioche French toast. Wash it down with a libation (the Dead End Rye comes with coffee-infused rye bourbon) or coffee from the likes of Boquete Mountain Coffee. Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 2935 Providence Road.704-364-2100. blockandgrinder.com.

Boudreaux's Hurray for beignets! Brunch is the perfect time for these deep-fried, powdered sugar treats (Tip: don't wear black if you're going to order these). The New Orleans-inspired eatery also offers Cajun-inspired omelets, sandwiches (the Monte Cristo comes with cinnamon-battered Texas toast, ham, Swiss cheese and Melba sauce), pancakes, French toast, biscuits with gravy and more. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 501 E. 36th St. 704-331-9898. boudreauxsnoda.com.

Pastries from Cafe Monte. (Photo by Curahee Photography)
  • Pastries from Cafe Monte. (Photo by Curahee Photography)

Cafe Monte In addition to being gloriously delicious, French fare sounds so fancy that a simple meal will leave you brimming with pride for your sophisticated palate. Take the French brunch staple Croque Madame. It sounds fancy, but it's actually just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich smothered with oozy gruyere cheese and a fried egg (oh, and the name literally translates to "Mrs. Crunchy.") Styled after a traditional French cafe, this Fairview Road eatery offers plenty of tasty brunch options (sugar-dusted beignets, steak frites, and crêpes). Mimosas, bloody marys and a selection of bottled beers are available in addition to espresso beverages. Brunch served daily, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 6700 Fairview Road. 704-552-1116. cafemonte.net.

Dandelion Market Despite taking its name from a public market opened in Dublin in the '70s, you won't find traditional Irish fare on Dandelion Market's brunch menu. Taking the place of Irish mystery meat pudding, you'll find dressed up southern favorites (low country hash loaded with andouille sausage and okra, crab cake eggs benedict) in addition to omelettes and sandwiches. Breakfast staples (eggs, bacon, French toast sticks) are available à la carte, and bloody mary fans will rejoice at the make-your-own bar, which is well-stocked with toppings. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 118 W. 5th St. 704-333-7989. dandelionmarketcharlotte.com.

A brunch cocktail from Davidson Street Public House. (Photo courtesy of Davidson Street Public House)
  • A brunch cocktail from Davidson Street Public House. (Photo courtesy of Davidson Street Public House)

Davidson Street Public House Executive chef Clayton Sanders uses his grandmother's gravy recipe for DSPH's sausage biscuits but adds bacon fat for an extra kick of flavor. The hillbilly skillet with pimento cheese is one of the most popular brunch items along with the eggs Davidson, a crab salad with a sriracha hollandaise topped with eggs. Davidson Street Public House has been open for about a year and a half now, and has plans for an expansion of its brunch hours and brunch cocktails. In-house mixologist Frances Jones created a line of new drinks that take classic brunch mixes up a notch — the mimosas come with Earl Gray and Prosecco. Sunday, 12 p.m.-3 p.m. 3220 N. Davidson St. 980-209-9992. davidsonspub.com.

Dilworth Grill For the folks who can't decide on what they want to eat, Dilworth Grill is your spot. The buffet includes French toast, eggs benedict, grits, biscuits with gravy, salmon, cereal (if the wee ones are being picky) and more. Each week features a special (sometimes there's even ribs and wings) and there's a build-your-own omelette station, too. Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dilworth Grill, 911 E. Morehead St. 704-377-3808. neighborhoodgrille.com.

Eddie's Place Restaurant & Bar The cool thing about Eddie's is that there's something for everyone. While it features some usual — and tasty — brunch suspects, its daily specials merit food envy 99 percent of the time. That being said, if you're in the mood for "something different" and delicious, it only makes sense to opt for one of those selections. You'll clear your plate in no time. Open daily for breakfast and brunch. 617 S. Sharon Amity Road. 704-442-0147. eddiesplacerestaurant.com.

Famous Toastery This chain's continuous growth speaks for itself. The menu is full of breakfast items — eggs however you want them (poached, scrambled, on a sandwich, on a burrito, etc.) and griddle items like flapjacks (plain or packed with the flavorings of your choice) and French toast. The omelettes come in quite a few varieties (Greek, tofu, boursin, Southwestern and more). Breakfast/brunch daily. 2400 Park Road. 704-215-4166; 8933 JM Keynes Drive, Suite 2. 704-503-9599; 8430 Rea Road. 980 613-8343; For more locations, visit famoustoastery.com.

Flying Biscuit Café "Southern flare" is an expression that comes up a lot when speaking with Christopher Soto with Flying Biscuit Café. Whether speaking about the homey atmosphere or the country take on brunch classics, the chain puts an emphasis on being regional. That's what makes its Southern-style biscuit benedict such a favorite; a classic eggs benedict but with an added layer of pimento cheese and a biscuit in place of an English muffin. The Flying Biscuit offers plenty of vegan options, including its popular Tofu Scramble. Saturday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Two locations: 4241 Park Road. 704-714-3400. 7930-A Rea Road. 704-295-4440. flyingbiscuit.com.

From Scratch This new spot in a big historic home in Cornelius features food made from scratch by Chef Gigi. The brunch menu is simple with four basic combination dishes to choose from. But there's also a section for "lagniappe" (French for "a little something extra"), which includes beignets. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 19901 S. Main St., Cornelius. 704-237-3495. fromscratchbychefgigi.com.

Heist Brewery Heist provides multiple specials, including the $19 buffet special. There's also a full libation menu — and the drinks are so good. Check out its sideboard and a la carte menu, featuring gravy & biscuits and "drunken" mussels. Sunday, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 2909 N. Davidson St., Suite 200. 704-375-8260. heistbrewery.com.

JackBeagle's Despite a new doghouse makeover recently painted onto the storefront of JackBeagle's, the brunch menu still contains the same classics that have been attracting folks from inside and outside the NoDa neighborhood for a few years now. The Shit on a Shingle doesn't sound so appealing, but the sliced ribeye steak grilled up with onions and served on Texas toast with sausage gravy is no shitty way to start a day. Also check out the Waco Eggs Benedict, similar to the classic but served over two large slabs of Texas toast. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 3213 N. Davidson St. 704-334-5140. jackbeagles.com.

Crepe from Hazelnuts Creperie. (Photo courtesy of Hazelnuts Creperie)
  • Crepe from Hazelnuts Creperie. (Photo courtesy of Hazelnuts Creperie)

Hazelnuts Crêperie Since first opening in the lobby of 200 South Tryon in 2012, Hazelnuts Crêperie's multi-cultural menu of sweet and savory crêpes has garnered a loyal following. When owner Asi Agajan brought the crêperie to the 7th Street Public Market, fans followed. In addition to a breakfast-all-day menu with Greek and Mexican inspired offerings, brunchers can dine on fan favorites (the curry chicken crêpe is highly recommended) or indulge their sweet tooth with made-to-order sweet crêpes. Booze isn't on the menu, but you can find the next best thing at the neighboring Not Just Coffee, where handcrafted espresso drinks are served in Insta-worthy glass mason jars. Breakfast served all day: Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Two locations: 224 East 7th St. (7th Street Public Market). 704-919-0963. 200 S. Tryon St. (located in the 200 South Tryon lobby) 704-910-0782. hzlnts.com.

French toast from Imani’s Fusion Cafe. (Courtesy of Imani’s Fusion Cafe)
  • French toast from Imani’s Fusion Cafe. (Courtesy of Imani’s Fusion Cafe)

Imani's Fusion Cafe Executive chef and owner Imani Colclough had soul food in mind when he created the brunch menu at his namesake Elizabeth eatery. A throwback to his family's roots in Trinidad and Jamaica, Imani's Fusion Cafe offers traditional southern brunch fare with a Caribbean spin. Options range from butterscotch French toast to sautéed curry chicken served over yellow rice and fried plantains to salmon croquettes. Tropical cocktails (the pineapple upside-down cake martini) are offered alongside mimosas and bloody marys. Save room for dessert: Chef Imani's bread pudding, made from a secret family recipe and served with Jamaican rum sauce, is a must. Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 3535 Randolph Road. 704-365-0647. imanisfusioncafe.com.

Eggs Salchicha at Letty’s. (Photo by Anita Overcash)
  • Eggs Salchicha at Letty’s. (Photo by Anita Overcash)

Letty's It's safe to call this a hidden gem of Shamrock Drive. Owner Letty Ketner (years back she served as catering manager for Hotel Charlotte in Cotswold) opened this spot in December of 2012. The atmosphere is homey and casual with lots of funky cat art and posters from Biltmore Village's Art & Craft Fair hanging on the walls. On the menu you'll find creative oddities like Eggs Salchicha, two poached or fried eggs on a biscuit topped with sausage patties and gravy with grits or potatoes. "It looks like puke on a plate, but it sure tastes good," says Ketner. There's also the delicious salmon cakes and egg scramble. And, for the veg heads and non-veg heads alike, the fried green tomato benedict, which includes two fried green tomatoes and soysage topped with two poached eggs smothered with creole sauce and served with grits or potatoes, is a tempting selection. Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2121 Shamrock Drive. 704-817-8702. lettysonshamrock.com.

Hash from Little Spoon. (Courtesy of Courtney Mihocik)
  • Hash from Little Spoon. (Courtesy of Courtney Mihocik)

The Little Spoon Little Spoon in Myers Park blares old-school hip hop all day, every day, and it even influences their cuisine. Executive chef Ryan Allen describes their food as "simple in a new-age way." With locally sourced dishes like the hash or ricotta bowl, it's hard to look over the breakfast menu and decide what to order. If you order a coffee, prepare to use two hands to sip on it as it comes in a bowl. The crowning brunch item that has patrons flocking to this location is the chicken biscuit; the perfectly portioned, CheerWine brined, crispy chicken servings on a biscuit with house-made pickles and garlic aioli will slide right into your favorite brunch dishes to revisit. They also make their own bloody mary mix from scratch. Tuesday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Serve breakfast all day. 2820 Selwyn Ave. 704-496-9908. littlespooneatery.com.

Local Loaf Local Loaf is a restaurant, patisserie and bakery, and with all those roles working together, the crew there is able to churn out some pretty amazing brunch options. They recently stopped serving pancakes, but the more creative menu items will have you forgetting all about flapjacks. The ingredients that make up the Monte Cristo, for one, sound like something the most interesting man in the world from those commercials would order for brunch; with thick-cut French toast, sweet & smoky ham duo, cinnamon fried ice cream, Jack Daniels maple syrup and brandy cherry jam. There are some harder hitting menu items as well for those without a sweet tooth, including duck 'n' waffles and tamales that feature a Birdsong Jalapeno Ale Bloody Mary ranchero. Breakfast available all day. 224 E. 7th St. 704-503-9484. localloafcharlotte.com.

Mimosa Grill This fine-dining brunch spot in Uptown refers to its menu options as "global cuisine with a unique southern twist." Mimosa Grill features, among other items, an "Original Grits Bar" that's near impossible to find anywhere else. The buffet is lined with chorizo, bacon, cheddar cheese, and pimento cheese to top NC stone ground grits. For those with a sophisticated but simple sweet tooth, their pecan-crusted French toast with powdered sugar and maple syrup will satisfy those sugary brunch cravings. There's also hand-crafted bloody marys — and they're a little spicy. Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 327 S. Tryon St. 704-343-0700. harpersgroup.com/mimosa.asp.

Nan and Byron's Imagine an inviting, classic dining atmosphere mixed with rustic, countryside comforts and you've got Nan and Byron's. The buffet breakfast includes either a mimosa or a fresh, house-made bloody mary. If that doesn't sound appealing, there's always bottomless coffee and tea to sip on while scarfing down classic pancakes, home fries, eggs and bacon. Off the buffet line, Nan and Byron's offers plated dishes, including its own takes on eggs benedict, the South End Benedict or the popular salmon benedict with seared-grilled salmon and charred onion hollandaise. There's shrimp and grits, too. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 1714 South Blvd. 980-224-7492. nanandbyrons.com.

Ri Ra Those looking for a European experience will find one at Ri Ra, where the servers are part of an exchange program from Ireland and you can find things like bangers, rashers and black & white pudding on the menu (all of which are included in the Irish breakfast). According to manager Emmet Powers, the most popular item on the brunch menu is the Irish Benedict, which substitutes Irish potato cake for an English muffin. While meatier choices do attract a crowd, Powers has seen an increase in people ordering healthier options like the strawberry rhubarb parfait. Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 208 N. Tryon St. 704-333-5554. rira.com/charlotte/.

Huevos rancheros at Summit Coffee’s Outpost. (Photo by Anita Overcash)
  • Huevos rancheros at Summit Coffee’s Outpost. (Photo by Anita Overcash)

Summit Coffee Outpost An old frat house turned coffee spot, this is a spin-off of a longtime favorite for locals in Davidson called Summit Coffee. Though it's still largely under the radar, it has a full kitchen and have just launched a brunch menu with breakfast skillets (choose either sweet potatoes or stone ground grits, a choice of vegetables, a protein, cheese, and egg), egg sandwiches and burritos (including the big oak burrito with grass-fed beef and maple aioli), huevos rancheros, and homemade biscuits with honey butter. Chef Courtney Spear (former manager of Davidson Farmers' Market) runs the show, using her former vendor contacts to source local-ingredients. Sundays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 120 Patterson Court Circle. 704-894-4009. summitcoffee.com.

Terrace Café With choices of original, strawberry, banana pecan and lemon poppy seed, the French toast menu alone at Terrace Café is enough to attract anybody to stop by for brunch. But there's also much more to choose from. As with Trio (listed below), Terrace rotates different types of quiche onto its menu weekly. It features southern classics like fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and made-from-scratch biscuits with sausage gravy, but the more adventurous may want to try the berry split, a banana split covered with low-fat vanilla yogurt, berries, granola and honey and served with a piece of coffee cake. Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m; Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Two locations: 14815 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 150. 704-369-5190. 4615 Piedmont Row Drive, Suite 105. 704-554-6177. terracerestaurants.com.

Trio Restaurant: Brunch-goers can expect a rotating menu each week when they show up at Trio, but there's one constant they can be comfortable with: muffins. Complimentary fresh-baked muffins — almond poppy seed, sweet potato pecan, banana nut — await each customer as they sit down for brunch. The chefs feature a different pancake and quiche of the week each Sunday, using seasonal ingredients. "Fall could be apple pecan [pancakes], summertime strawberry, blueberries, they do a lot of different things," said Gary Robinson, owner of Trio. Other favorites include the fillo-wrapped sausage and cheese and chicken and waffles. Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 10709 McMullen Creek Parkway. 704-541-8000. trio-charlotte.com.

Tupelo Honey Cafe Sticking to its Asheville roots, Tupelo Honey Cafe cites "the spirit of the Appalachian mountains" as the backbone for their strictly southern menu. This South End establishment could write the book on brunch: fan favorites include "shoo mercy" pancakes (topped with buttermilk fried chicken and apple cider bacon) and chicken and biscuits smothered in milk gravy. The mountain spirit carries over to the eclectic drink menu, which is headlined by the Queen Mary (a 20-ounce bloody mary mixed with Jalapeño-Poblano-infused moonshine and topped with pickled okra, pimento cheese stuffed olives, and maple-peppered bacon). Tip: skip long wait times on the weekend by making a brunch reservation. Brunch served daily, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. 1800 South Blvd. 980-225-9175. tupelohoneycafe.com.

The Yolk With a location in Rock Hill, a sister eatery @Dawn that just opened in Ayrsley, and more Yolk locations on the way, this breakfast/brunch spot is growing and offers "a love affair with breakfast." It's manned by Chef Collier who serves the expected and the unexpected – including "Moe Jo Hash," a coffee-rubbed steak and sweet potato hash topped with over-medium eggs and scallion pesto. 1912 Mount Gallant Road, Suite 108. 803-792-4449. theyolkcafe.com.

Upstream This South Park area restaurant offers brunch with a seafood spin. There's egg benedict, smoked fish tacos, banana bread French toast, Belgian waffles, pecan crusted trout, steak and eggs and scallop risotto. Wash it down with a house-made bloody mary or mimosa. Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 6902 Phillips Place. 704-556-7730. harpersgroup.com/upstream.asp.

Zada Jane's This beachfront-esque property in Plaza Midwood that hosts shuffleboards also boasts an all-day breakfast menu. There's an extensive spread to choose from, including the popular bunny rancheros or Booker T's east side hasher with choices of different sausages or "soysage." Eggs are "happy," meaning they're sourced from free-range farmers. Veggie dishes and carnivore dishes are cooked on completely different grill sets and the menu has a variety of vegan and gluten-free dishes. The crew also cranks out specialty coffees like "frappebeanos" and macchiatos all day — what every early bird needs during the week and weekend. Open daily. 1601 Central Ave.704-332-3663. zadajanes.com.

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