Dining » Food Features

Where to Go to Brunch? It Depends on What You Need


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The weekend has arrived and you're in need of sustenance. And some booze. Definitely some food though. And stat. Maybe the evening wore on, the bars closed and everyone agreed the party needed to keep going. Maybe the hangover you woke up with is in need of a soothing elixir. Maybe your head's as a clear as the bright blue sky but, hell, if you're going to tackle the errands or face down Monday morning, you're going to need a belly full of bliss to do so.

Whatever the motivation, Cleveland's bar stools and tables are filled on Sunday (and, increasingly, Saturday) mornings and early afternoons. In a city that loves its food, it's quickly becoming the favorite meal.

But where to go? The options are endless, but the destination depends on the motivation. Here are a few suggestions to make the decision easier.

For the Fashion-Challenged

If the thought of picking out an actual outfit physically hurts your brain, the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com) is for you. Along with chunky sweaters and flannel shirts, the most fashion-forward article of clothing one's likely to spot here is a Members Only jacket, circa 1983. The expansive brunch menu might be the most indulgent around, offering to make almost any dish vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. To make the smoky biscuits and gravy vegetarian, for example, simply swap the sausage gravy for one made with mushrooms. A panko crust on the fried chicken manages to lighten up chicken and waffles.

The "Morning After" Date

You didn't wake up alone, that much is clear. But who? A quick turn of the neck reveals — thank god! —the cute friend of a friend you had your eye on all night. Fan the flames of desire by taking him or her to Le Petit Triangle Café (1881 Fulton Rd., 216-281-1881, lepetittrianglecafe.com), a deal-closingly adorable French bistro in Ohio City. Toast the budding relationship over bubbly mimosas while you steal glances at the tantalizing menu. Oh-so-sweet crepes like the aptly named Chocolate Lovers (dark chocolate, whipped cream and strawberry preserves) join savory fold-overs filled with smoked salmon, Boursin and fresh dill. If things are really going well, you can always grab a couple slices of the quiche du jour and head back to your place.

With the 'Rents

Dedicated solely to the service of lunch and brunch, Dante Next Door (2247 Professor Ave., 216-274-1201, nextdoor.danteboccuzzi.com) has a Tremont setting that couldn't be more urbane. Plus, where else can you surprise the folks with a breakfast pizza? The Everything Bagel is what happens when a Jew and an Italian have one too many drinks. Topped with house-cured lox, hard-boiled eggs, capers, onions, cream cheese and fresh dill, this pie is practically kosher. Start with tasteful and gentle-handed peach Bellinis, and order the pork sausage patties for the table — unless you keep kosher.

Pre-Browns Brunch

One thousand steps — give or take a few — separate Urban Farmer (777 St. Clair Ave., 216-771-7707, urbanfarmercleveland.com) from Browns Stadium, making this high-end eatery a wise choice for pre-game brunching. Located in the swanky Westin Downtown, this farm-to-table concept nails everything from steak dinners to eggy breakfasts. So why not get both? The steak and eggs pairs farm-fresh eggs with grilled flat-iron steak, sausage gravy and breakfast potatoes. Eggs Bennies get a boost from shaved local ham and house-baked muffins. The craft beer here is likely cheaper than at the game, so load up.

For the Clinically Hung-Over

The biscuits and sausage gravy at Big Al's Diner (12600 Larchmere Blvd., 216-791-8550) have been known to salvage entire days. Those magical muffins topped with pork-studded gravy, two over-easy eggs and onion-laced hash browns can undo a day-ruining hangover simply by being eaten. Also proven to lessen the severity and effects of the tippler's flu is the corned beef hash, sauteed with potatoes and green peppers and topped with a pair of sunny-side up hen fruit. There's no booze here so you won't even be tempted.

Gang Is Back Together

So everybody managed to roll out of bed and now you've got a crowd on your hands. Sure, you could go to the diner and wait until dinner for brunch, but why not go somewhere built for crowds? Emperor's Palace (2136 Rockwell Ave., 216-861-9998, emperorspalacecleveland.com) feeds hundreds of folks for dim sum each Sunday, and the selection and quality rank up there with the best. Commandeer a 10-top and feast on shumai, BBQ pork buns, turnip cakes, chicken feet, ribs in black bean sauce, and pots of calming tea. The food is so exciting you'll forget all about that blinding pain in your noggin.

Gang Is Still Together

Wait, that clock can't be right. You mean to tell me that we've been rolling clear through til sunrise? Birds don't lie, bro. Birds don't lie. If you can somehow manage to make it to 10:30 a.m., you're golden, because that's when the South Side (2207 West 11th St., 216-937-2288, southsidecleveland.com) in Tremont starts pouring its legendary Bloody Marys and dishing out its heavenly chicken and waffles. Of course, when it comes to mopping up last night's mess, nothing does the job better than fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits buried beneath creamy sausage gravy. Also on tap: crab cake Benedict, chicken enchiladas topped with sunny-side up eggs, and a breakfast pizza.

For the Non-Meat Eaters

Bacon, bacon, bacon. Judging by everybody's Instagram feed, you'd think that brunch could not exist without bacon. Hell, the delicious meat candy even finds its way into our Bloody Marys. While that doesn't pose a problem to most brunchers, it's kryptonite to vegans and vegetarians, who, contrary to popular opinion, have a right to enjoy brunch too. That's why TownHall (1909 West 25th St., 216-344-9400, townhallohiocity.com) has become the meeting place of choice for meat-averse diners. On the V-friendly bill of fare are fresh juices, vegan build-your-own crepes filled with non-GMO fruit, vegan buttermilk biscuits with fresh Ohio preserves and honey butter, plus a host of healthy bowls filled with granola and yogurt, greens and grains, and a grilled cheese and soup combo that comes with (or without) bacon.

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