During summer holidays, my family would be lazy and sleep late, and on those days, our first meal — brunch — would be around 11 a.m.; usually, it would be a BLT with eggs, or pimento and cheese. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but at a very young age, I was under the impression that brunch was a word coined by our family, and we were the only ones who knew what it meant.
We had another word — “lupper” — for days when we skipped lunch and had an early supper.
Needless to say, when my junior high home economics teacher talked about brunch, I felt like an absolute airhead; I shouldn’t have raised my hand in class that day. No wonder I didn’t have a girlfriend.
I’ve enjoyed watching the restaurant scene, particularly in Johnson City, blossom over the past 15 years, and in doing so, “Sunday Brunch” transformed from an all-you-caneat breakfast bar to a respectable offering at a number of restaurants.
Who has the best Sunday Brunch? I have a favorite — actually two, but there are others that do a nice job as well. For those looking for a place to “brunch,” here are a few of my recommendations.
Café One 11 — Hands down, this is a class act, and even though the Sunday buffet is priced at $19.95 plus tax, it is one of the best deals in town. The massive buffet caters to those still in the mood for breakfast, with bacon, biscuits and gravy, and eggs, among other things, as well as many popular Asian and traditional lunch items. The real bargain is the unlimited sushi and shrimp. The sushi rolls may be the more common ones, but at this price, it’s hard to match. Reservations are encouraged. And don’t forget to visit the dessert bar.
Café Lola — One of my favorite restaurants in the region, Café Lola’s Sunday brunch is far less extensive than One 11’s, but I still rank it tops. There’s no buffet, but the menu features steak and eggs, panini (including a breakfast panini) and eggs Benedict, which has one of the best hollandaise sauces I’ve had. You should call ahead for reservations. Lola and One 11 have rockin’ mimosas.
Ruby Tuesday — OK, I know it is a chain, but in recent months, Ruby Tuesday has led an aggressive marketing campaign about its Sunday Brunch. Of course, some of you will like it and others won’t, but it may be the more affordable option. The yogurt parfait and mini Benedicts exceeded my expectations. And thankfully no one asked me if I wanted to add a salad. Between us, I get tired of that question.
Tupelo Honey Café — Sunday day trips to downtown Asheville, N.C., are at the top of my list once the weather cooperates. You can’t make reservations at Tupelo Honey Café, and there’s no formal Sunday brunch menu, but it is every bit worth the drive and wait time, which may exceed an hour. The Sweet Potato Pancake and the Breakfast Bowl (pintos, eggs, grits, bacon, cheese) are great choices. A bit noisy, but fun.
There are many other Sunday brunch places, but for various reasons, these four are where you will likely find me around 11 a.m. on Sundays. Unless mom is planning a special “lupper.”
|Mike Mahaffey Tribute at Capone's|
|Regional musicians convene for the annual Mike Mahaffey Tribute at Capone's in Johnson City. Featured performers include Matt Mahaffey, Hans Rottenberry, The Butcher Covers, Tad Dickens, Terry McCoy, Bo Bradley, Quentin Horton, Stinky Finger, Andrea Hoskins, and more.|