These days, the phrase “Let’s get brunch” is basically a euphemism for “Let’s get drunk before noon.” People be lovin' brunch, amiright? It’s a Bacchanalian breakfast celebration that doubles as an excuse to mainline mimosas and stuff bacon into foods where it does not belong.
The brunch zeitgeist of the new millennium is real. There are mood boards dedicated to what to wear to brunch, restaurants with strictly brunch menus, brunch-only Instagram feeds (@bitcheswhobrunch, @brunchboys) and we have an entire event devoted to it (Brunched: June 23 @ the American Sign Museum).
Why do Americans love a meal that doubles as breakfast and lunch and basically turns into an ongoing commitment to day drinking? Is it part of the self-care indulgence movement? A genius marketing campaign by egg companies or the avocado illuminati? Whatever the reason, our country is literally obsessed with brunch, so CityBeat dining writers made a list of their favorite places to drink and dine on the weekends for all types of moods. Here are four of our favorite buffets. Find more brunch destinations here.
The Grille at Palm Court
Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sundays
If you’re feeling fancy (and like you can eat $39.95-worth of crab legs), head to the Hilton Netherland Plaza for Sunday brunch at Palm Court. The giant display takes over the stunning Art Deco bar and grill space in the hotel with carved roasted meats, made-to-order omelets, salads, seafood, some version of eggs benedict, potatoes, breakfast meats, pastries, fancy cheeses, plenty of shrimp and crab claws and a 20-foot dessert spread. The offerings change weekly, but it’s always seasonally inspired, super fresh and real classy. Must Try: You don’t have to pick just one thing here — it’s literally a room-sized buffet — but recent reports suggest the appearance of delicious fried fish cakes. If you see one of those, grab it. And a serving of warm bread pudding (you pour the creme anglaise on top yourself). 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, hilton.com.
Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday
This iconic Glendale eatery serves up tons of nostalgia — and nostalgic dishes — any time of day. Open for more than four decades, the people-pleasing menu is locally famous for both its homemade dessert options, which range from a creamy key lime pie in a hazelnut crust to bananas foster and cherries jubilee, and broad brunch buffet. The buffet highlights restaurant hits with a sampling of crepes, crunchy fried chicken livers, eggs, breakfast meats, biscuits and gravy, hot cinnamon apples, chicken a la king and a spread of Grand Finale desserts. Must Try: The Bubbling Ruby breakfast cocktail with grapefruit juice, sloe gin and sparkling rosé. Effervescent and fresh, it’s a fun upgrade from a typical mimosa — especially for fans of both pink grapefruit and pink wine. 3 E. Sharon Road, Glendale, grandfinale.info.
Brunch: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; Buffet 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
The Greyhound Tavern has offered down-home comfort food to Northern Kentuckians since the 1920s. The atmosphere is pleasantly country-fied, with wood paneling, vinyl tablecloths and multiple fireplaces, and so is the menu. The tavern is known for its herbed secret-recipe fried chicken, available daily with family-style specials on Mondays and Tuesdays and a starring role on the Sunday brunch buffet, which also features a carving station, casseroles, goetta, biscuits, mashed potatoes and other hearty fare. The Greyhound’s Saturday non-buffet brunch menu is more streamlined, with a focus on house favorites (chicken livers, fried green tomatoes), breakfast items, salads and sandwiches, plus a nice menu of cocktails: a Kentucky sunrise with Bulleit bourbon and orange juice, a pitcher of mimosas or bellinis, spiked coffee and a bloody mary with garnishes like pickled asparagus and bacon. Must Try: The Breakfast Hotbrown. This morning take on a Southern staple features a base of biscuits topped with sausage gravy and sausage links, scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon and a tomato. It’s served in a skillet with a side of grits or delicious, crispy potato wedges. 2500 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell, greyhoundtavern.com.
Brunch: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; Buffet 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Parkside Café is like the BMV of brunch spots, and I mean that in the best way possible. The assortment of folks seated in the low booths of this repurposed Frisch’s ranges widely, from a group of large-hatted church ladies to a cop eating a steak on his lunch break to an older couple patiently trekking toward the outrageously inexpensive weekend breakfast buffet ($7.99) to the Cheers-reminiscent gang of best married friends. The menu ranges widely, too. You want pancakes? Walnut Hills Pancake Stack, coming right up. Steak and eggs? Check. Delightfully varied omelets? Southern-style biscuits and gravy? Parkside has you covered (for lunch, too, but I always get breakfast). The service and the restaurant are uber-chill, sometimes to the point of negligence, but the overall lack of pretension, quirky charm (it has a drive-thru!) and inexpensive nature of this little eatery is enough to cut through almost anything. Must Try: Parkside Breakfast: two eggs; bacon, sausage, goetta or ham; toast; and your choice of Parkside potatoes or tater tots for FIVE DOLLARS. Are you kidding me? And, trust me, the tots should be your potato of choice. 1024 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills, parksidecafe.info.