For many restaurants, brunch is both an obligation and an afterthought. Eggs are half-heartedly poached, drowned in lukewarm hollandaise, and served with a side of apathy by a crew of hungover line cooks to swarms of equally hungover diners. Brunch isn’t the moneymaker that dinner is, and so it’s no surprise that it often doesn’t receive the same culinary care and attention. Then there are the brunch haters, privileged elites whose criticism of this weekend ritual lies somewhere between snobbery and keen perception. Where does that leave the rest of us? Too often with a host of mediocre French toast and overcooked eggs, ever on the hunt for a decent meal to carry us through a soothing mimosa-infused transition from Saturday night’s party into Monday.
Brunch deserves more respect, and why shouldn’t it? When else is it acceptable to sleep until noon and still join the ranks of socially adjusted, mature adults? At what other occasion is it not only welcome, but encouraged to get drunk in the middle of the day? But aside from the beauty of a lazy weekend brunch, we’re now in a glorious time where brunch means much more than eggs Benedict. Chefs across the country are exercising their creative talent on their brunch menus, and diners are finally better off for it.
To help you bypass all of the sub-par brunches out there, we’ve compiled a list of America’s 10 Best Brunches. For our rankings, we looked for brunch menus that fit one or more of the following three criteria: Menus that go beyond the by-now trite stalwarts of pancakes and eggs Benedict; brunches that offer a unique and novel experience along with excellent food; and brunches where the quality of food is just as good as what the restaurant serves at dinner. Say goodbye to cold hash browns and yet another spin on the holy trinity of eggs-bread-hollandaise, and say hello to innovative dishes that showcase the best the restaurant has to offer. You wouldn’t lower your standards for dinner — now you never have to settle again for brunch.