Never mind Saturday night at the club -- the real action starts the next morning. Some of Cleveland's best Sunday brunches are found not in upscale restaurants or fancy hotels, but in the city's taverns, bars, and grills. Granted, service was notably lethargic on our visits to three of the area's best bar brunches (presumably, Sunday staffers need extra time to wake up, too); but as long as you aren't in a hurry, you're likely to enjoy these spots:
The Grovewood Tavern & Wine Bar, 17105 Grovewood Avenue; 216-531-4900. You probably shouldn't come here in your jammies, though the dreamy vibe and homey food could make it tempting. Small windows let subdued daylight waft into the cozy dining room (a fine thing, when you're still recovering from last night's excesses), and mellow jukebox faves help pave the path back to Monday. To eat, golden biscuits floating on an ocean of thick sausage gravy ($6.50), massive wedges of portobello frittata with savory fried potatoes and bacon ($6.50), and warm chocolate crêpes ($5) stuffed with cream cheese and strawberries are some of the kitchen's best riffs. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; wine and spirits are available after one.
Fat Fish Blue, 21 Prospect Avenue; 216-875-6000. If the promise of brie-and-blueberry-stuffed French toast ($7.99), crunchy Southern Fried Chicken ($10.99), and Champagne Eggs, topped with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and caviar ($8.99) isn't enough to get you out of bed, check your pulse: You may already be moribund. Beyond the expansive menu of flavorful dishes, mimosas are available all day, hurricanes strike after 1 p.m., and live entertainment -- anything from jazz combos to Christian rockers -- begins at two. And while snowy Prospect Avenue won't soon be mistaken for Bourbon Street, the ambiance at Fat Fish is reliably festive and fun. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Waterstreet Grill, 1265 West Ninth Street; 216-619-1600. The neighborly atmosphere and airy interior make this a handsome addition to the Warehouse District, as well as a good spot for scoring some reasonably priced food before disappearing between the pages of The New York Times. Best bets include the zesty Waterstreet Omelet ($6.95), with feta, bacon, and caramelized onion; and the Scrambled Wrap ($7.95), with eggs, cheddar, and bacon tucked into tender flatbread. Mimosas are served all day, and the "make your own Bloody Mary" bar opens at 1 p.m. Brunch hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.