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March 18, 2008

Top Ten Places for Brunch You Might Not Have Thought Of


Everybody knows about the elaborate brunch buffets at Baltimore's hotels. I want to suggest some restaurants you might not have thought of. (You'll find more under the Brunch category to the right.)

N.B.: When we decided on brunches for today's Top Ten, I forgot that this next Sunday is Easter, so the information may not be accurate for the holiday version of brunch. (I know it isn't for the John Eager Howard Room, pictured.)

I also wanted to mention Evil Hamster's suggestion of the Mill Valley Garden Center in case you missed it. I didn't include it on the list because it seems to be breakfast not brunch, but here's the link.

Here's my list: ...

*Alexander's Tavern in Fells Point. Readers have given this place mixed reviews since I ate there, but I had a good meal. Brunch includes eggs Chesapeake (the local take on eggs Benedict), steak and eggs, homemade biscuits and gravy, french toast. A la carte menu. $6-$14. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

* Bonaparte Breads (903 S. Ann St., 410-342-4000) in Fells Point. They don't call it brunch, but this Parisian-style cafe serves buttery croissants, other pastries, quiches, specialty coffees, juices and so on as well as sandwiches. You can eat outside soon. Good suggestion, Matt. Hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

* Christopher Daniel in Lutherville. The buffet includes shrimp, prime rib, bacon, sausage, pasta, salads, eggs made to order, muffins, cakes and all-you-can-drink drinks for $18.95. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Last seating is at 1:30 p.m.

* Copra in downtown Baltimore. Breakfast buffet with omelets made to order, assorted muffins, chocolate fountain with fresh fruit, bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas. All for $14.95. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations highly recommended, they told me when I called.

* John Eager Howard Room in the Belvedere (from the Owl Bar kitchen). This is a brand-new brunch buffet, with six stations or so, including omelets, in what was once the most beautiful dining room in Baltimore. The cost is $14.95, and it's served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

* Open Door Cafe in Bel Air. This is a sweet little place with a moderately priced menu of breakfast and lunch items. It has creamed chip beef (OK, not a favorite of mine, but not something you can get everywhere either) and also croissants, homemade granola and crab and asparagus omelets. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

* Orchard Market & Cafe in Towson. They call it Sunday brunch; but if you want breakfast foods, you're out of luck. Still, the Persian food is excellent. The Web site lists the hours for the buffet, which costs $13.95, as 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; but when I called, the woman told me 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. (a la carte menu till 4:00 p.m.)

* Tersiguel's in Ellicott City. This French restaurant doesn't call its Sunday midday hours brunch, but there are crepes and omelets on the menu, and there are always several brunch specials, like last Sunday's french toast with maple syrup, persimmon and strawberries. 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

* Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia. I loved the homemade biscuits when I ate there. The a la carte menu includes an English breakfast (hefty), lamb hash and cinnamon french toast. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

* Waterfront Hotel in Fells Point.  Brunch in an 18-century tavern. The a la carte menu runs around $8-$14. and for $10 you get all-you-can-drink mimosas, Bloody Marys and screwdrivers. Thanks to Brian for reminding me of this. Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.  

(Photo of the John Eager Howard Room courtesy of Truffles Catering)


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:04 AM | | Comments (40)


What about Red Star? They have an awesome brunch.

Tell us more. EL

You made a comment about Johnny Boy's Ribs to which I have to respond. It is a classic bar-b-que "shack" but once you have eaten there you will be addicted. The ribs are wonderful but the sliced pork is the best I have ever had and I have tried a lot of bar-b-que. The sauce, both hot and mild, are homemade and essential. We buy it by the 16 oz. jar and use it on everything.

It has been there for years and the book you mention is not the only one it has appeared in. It's worth the drive to La Plata. I used to work there but have not for several years. My husband and I arrange travel plans and routes to allow us to have a regular fix of Johnny Boy's.


Copra, eh? Hey Big Ace, how about a little credit where credit is due?

I have no idea what you're talking about. EL

Where's the comment about this Johnny Boy's ribs? Not in this thread as far as I can see.
Ribs are one of hubby's favorite foods.

Red Star is updating their website, so I could not get specifics, but they have a lovely brunch. The menu is a la carte and I think there is a bottomless drink special. I highly recommend the breakfast burrito or crab hash. The Bloody Mary is excellent if you like yours spicy with an olive (to quote Rachel Ray "yum-o!").

I highly recommend the Hull Street Blues Sunday brunch.

Has anyone ever had brunch at Ze Mean Bean? I thought their chalkboard listing outside sounded good, but I have never eaten there.

I like that a lot of places are adding brunch on Saturday. A year or so ago it seemed to me like most (bar) brunches were Sunday only.

My all-time favorite is still Regi's... but this gives me new ideas to venture out! Thanks~

I just tried the Sunday Brunch at The Spice Company at the Colonade on University Pkwy and was more than pleased for the price. At $20 with all you can drink Champagne and your three standard stations...carving, omelets and waffels...what a way to start the week.

There's a few places I know of that do brunch in the city. Gecko's, Red Fish and Little Havana all have good brunches and I believe all of them include all you can drink Mimosas and/or Bloody Marys.

I know a place you can get an awesome brunch on Sundays for a great price. The Main Street Tower in Bel Air has a great selection to choose from for any pallet.

I agree that Red Star's crab hash is wonderful, but I hope that Casper will not quote Rachel Ray on this blog ever again.

Big fan of NcDevin's in Canton. (yes, with an "N") Great omlettes and hashbrowns for a fair price, along with a good crowd of devoted regulars. Great atmosphere to spice up a lazy Sunday.

The jazz brunch at Ze Mean Bean is tasty. Its ala carte, the portions are reasonable, the prices are moderate (at least they were the last time I was there) and the music is usually good. Besides, having cheese perogis, potato pancakes and the like is a nice addition to standard brunches.

Helen's Garden in Canton does a pretty good brunch.

What about Miss Shirley's? I know it is pricey but the food is wonderful.

It's a great place for brunch AND they serve fried green tomatoes! Does it get any better?

This and most of the other very good suggestions so far were only not included because a) they can be found elsewhere on the blog under the Brunch category to the right or b) have already made names for themselves as good brunch places. I was trying to introduce some new restaurants to the mix. EL

Anyone tried the brunch at Petit Louis? I've heard good things.

I agree that Red Star's crab hash is wonderful, but I hope that Casper will not quote Rachel Ray on this blog ever again.

"... pizzagna ... pizza and lasagna, why notta ..."

Just had to do it... >:D

Lobster Hash at Mama's on the Half Shell or anything at Ale Mary's. Ale Mary's also makes a fantastic mimosa (with triple sec).

Great Top Ten! I will be bookmarking this for future reference since brunch is one of my favorite things. I only wish there were more options for a *Saturday* brunch.
Service was slow at Ze Mean Bean the last time I went, but the food was worth the wait. The Bloody Mary at Red Star was spicy and perfect for my taste. Has anyone tried the Harvest Table?

Has anyone experienced the brunch at Night of the Cookers? I had dinner there recently and was extremely pleased with the entire experience - service, food, and atmosphere.

Is Copra's brunch on Sunday's only or Saturday's too?

Sundays only EL

Totally agree about Hull Street Blues.

Not sure if Morning Edition has appeared elsewhere, but this is certainly a perennial favorite.

Koopers on Thames St. in Fells Point used to have a pretty good brunch menu. Haven't been there in several years now, but they always did a good job.

But when it comes to brunch, I really hate the entire "buffet" model. I fact, I dislike any king of buffet because way too many people eat way too much food in one sitting. Watching people go and load up plate, after plate, after plate is rather disgusting. It's like some people have this sick philosophy that the purpose of a brunch buffet is for the restaurant to "lose money" on them. How many times have we heard people say they're there to "load up on the big ticket items" (i.e. the beef, the seafood, etc.)

I mean, come on people, how much food can you possibly eat at once?? It's not a contest. And despite all of your valliant efforts, the House is NOT going to lose money on you no matter how much you eat.

Yes we need more Saturday brunch places because when the in-laws are in town for the weekend they want to leave right away on Sunday mornings.

Yellow Dog in Canton serves Saturday brunch. I have not tried it, but it is one of my favorite places to have dinner.

Yellow Dog brunch menu

Loco Hombre in Roland Park has a good one.

I agree with Chandler that Main Street Tower in Bel Air has a very nice Sunday Buffet. They pay special attention to Mothers and Father's Day events. Try It!

Last I checked, Slainte in Fells has brunch on Saturdays. Just be prepared for it to be a bit rowdy downstairs if soccer is on.

Loco Hombre in Roland Park has brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Was just there on Saturday and their chef was on TV on Sunday making a Southwest Crab Benedict.

Not in Baltimore obviously but with spring on the horizon thought I'd share. Odyssey Cruises in DC has a lovely brunch cruise. If you surf their site you can often find really good discounts because they are pricey. I figure it this way though: brunch, music, and a cruise... still ends up a good deal. Their food is tasty and a good selection.

EL, if you want, here's the link:

I got an email from Zen West with this announcement:

11 AM - 3 PM


(Sorry about the shouting, but copy and paste was easier than typing the info in.)

I second the request for more Saturday brunch!!! My Sundays are busier than my weekdays for me to just sit around and enjoy an omelet at my leisure.

Yuck to Open Door.. worst meal I have had in bel air

don't forget midtown yacht club. $3.95 pitchers of mimosa's and HEAVY brunch buffet options ranging from meat carvings to warm succulent biscuits and gravy. They also have as part of the buffet made to order belgian waffles, breakfast burritos and other specialties all for 13.95?

Hands down the best Sunday brunch in Baltimore City is at Della Notte! If you haven't been -- GO!

People...puh-leez! The Ambassador, anyone? Yeah, it's Indian food (not a problem for me, but you won't get eggs Benedict) but the make-your-own mimosa and bloody mary bar MORE than compensates for that (if you're not into the Indian cuisine).

Heck, go get yourself a bagel at the One World and then go pay $13 bucks to tank up at the Ambassador even if you don't eat anything. Considering the going rates for drinks, a couple of Mimosas and you've paid for your brunch!

I think the Ambassador brunch is closer to $20 nowadays.

Thanks, EL! This is exactly what I was looking for!

Last week I heard that the new Mari Luna Latin Grille is serving Sunday brunch. Has anyone tried it? I was at the original Mari Luna, where the server told me about it. She said they had an omlette station and waffles, sounds like my kind of place.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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