This is a guest post by Nick Dekker. Columbus’ rich breakfast culture inspired Nick to begin writing about breakfast in 2007 on his popular blog, Breakfast with Nick. He is currently working on a book about breakfast destinations in Columbus which is due out on November 5th. You can follow Nick on Twitter at @BreakfastwNick
Who says you can’t drink in the morning? Well, most of society maybe. Except when it comes to brunch. Brunch is one of those wonderful instances that combines everything we love into one event. Want breakfast? Okay. Want lunch? You got it. Want to sleep in? Go for it. Want to drink? No one’s stopping you.
Columbus is a fascinating and full breakfast town, and one facet of that is our brunch culture. We’ve got everything from a show-up-in-your-sweatpants diner to pinkies-raised fancy eateries. There are options if you want to impress visiting relatives or if you just need a place to sit that isn’t too bright.
If you want your brunch, and want to drink it, too, here are four fantastic stops in Columbus.
Nearly every brunch around town will offer you mimosas, bloody marys or bellinis with your meal, but only Due Amici will custom-make your bloody mary tableside. They’ll rattle the cart (pictured above) up next to your seat and let you witness the blend of house-infused pepper vodka (or gin or tequila), tomato juice, clamato, Worcestershire, horseradish, and a host of other seasonings. Bloody marys, generally a pretty complex drink, are versatile enough to pair well with everything on the menu, but my favorites are the Brunch Burger and the Breakfast Pizza. Imagine a delicious burger piled with the fixins on an English muffin, or a sausage and tomato pizza with an over easy egg for dipping.
Due’s brunch is also nice because you can dress up or dress down. I’ve seen everything there from shirts and ties to jeans and T-shirts. Couples on a date or families with tots are equally comfortable, either in the big, brick-walled dining room or out on the patio.
Brunch available Saturday & Sunday, 11am-4pm
In its short existence, Mouton has already become synonymous with great cocktails. A few months ago, they introduced a light Sunday brunch to complement the drinks. For their Sunday brunch, owner Yusef Riazi selectively puts together light and flavorful salads, sandwiches, and cheese or meat plates that are as intricate as their cocktails. His entire brunch is built around the Corpse Reviver #2, and thus the idea that you need to revive yourself from the night before. The Reviver #2 does just that, made with gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice and a dash of absinthe or Pastis.
Some of the tastiest brunch dishes, which definitely assist any revival, are the Pistaia Vera croissants and the Farmer Jones’ Salad. He picks up the croissants daily from Pistachia Vera and features three different preparations of them, usually with various cheeses or sauces. The Farmer Jones’ Salad – named after the owner of The Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio, a custom-grower dedicated to sustainable practices – is built delicately with different greens, edible flowers and vegetables. Nibbling on that while sipping a cocktail is most certainly a sophisticated way to revive yourself.
The cocktails are a draw, but don’t forget that Yusef knows his wine, too, and as he says, “I’ve got a hell of a cellar.”
Brunch available Sundays, 11am-4pm
Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails
Tip Top is one of my favorites amongst the Bettys Family of Restaurants (and given how often I go to Dirty Frank’s, that’s saying something). What I love most of all is their comfort food: pot roast sandwiches, huge plates of nachos and thick mac and cheese. The brunch menu offers breakfast-y versions of their signature plates, like the pot roast breakfast skillet, mounded high with scrambled eggs, cheese and toast. Or trade their sweet potato fries for sweet potato hash with black eyed peas.
Pair those comfortable portions with a big mimosa, a bloody mary, or even one of their top beer picks, and you’ve got a cozy and filling brunch. Another bonus for the warmer months: the patio. If the sun’s not too bright for you, enjoy some fresh air people-watching on Gay Street while you start your day. You can’t go wrong with that. Tip Top is one of my favorite brunches, but if you want a delicious brunch complemented by tasty booze, you can’t go wrong with Betty’s, Surly Girl, Jury Room, or Dirty Frank’s, too.
Brunch available Saturday & Sunday, 11am-3pm
Matt the Miller’s Tavern
If you’re in the mood to really do things your way, you can visit one of the two Matt the Miller’s Tavern locations – the original in Dublin or the newer in Grandview. Matt’s has rapidly become a favored watering hole in town, known for their beer selection and pub food.
On Sundays they offer one of the few brunch buffets in town. About $14 a person (less for kids) will give you access to plates of eggs and bacon, waffles, pasta, or the always-fun omelet station. Customize your boozing brunch with the Ultimat Bloody Mary Bar, featuring Ultimat vodka, a higher-end spirit from the Patron Spirits Company. A bartender will pour you your vodka, and then you can dress up the liquor however you like: peppers, celery, pickles, lemons, horseradish and all the spices.
Brunch available Sundays, 10am-2:30pm (at both Dublin & Grandview locations)