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Brunching Good

Best brunch restaurants in America list includes some Austin favorites

Olivia brunch the macdaddy
The Macdaddy from Olivia. Olivia Restaurant/ Facebook
Chez Zee creme brulee french toast
Crème brûlée French roast from Chez Zee American Bistro.
Olivia brunch the macdaddy
Chez Zee creme brulee french toast

Ah, brunch. That revered weekend pastime when we gather with friends to feast on French toast and eggs Benedict without a care in the world — except when our mimosas and Blood Marys need to be replenished.

Every diner has an opinion about where to brunch, and reservation site OpenTable has culled through those opinions from more than 5 million verified users on nearly 19,000 restaurants across the nation. The result? The 2014 list of best brunch restaurants in America.

Austin has two beloved brunch spots on the list. First up is Olivia, which quickly became the de facto spot for weekend brunching when it launched on South Lamar in 2008. Brunch guests can expect signature dishes like Willie Nelson chicken fried steak or The Macdaddy, which offers the brunch trifecta of pork belly, eggs and frites. And no brunch at Olivia is complete without an order of the "picnic-style" fried chicken served with a scrumptious side of potato salad.

Chez Zee American Bistro, the other Austin restaurant selected by OpenTable readers, has been serving up brunch for 25 years. The big deal is the crème brûlée French toast: Challah bread is soaked overnight in a crème brûlée mixture, baked to order and served with a side of Myers's Rum sauce.

For gluten-free diners, brunch can seem like a gluten land mine, but Chez Zee has a host of options, ranging from huevos rancheros to a goat cheese and tomato omelet. In addition to pouring classic brunch cocktails like mimosas and Bloody Marys, Chez Zee also offers frozen Bellinis, mojitos and poinsettias.

Around Texas, Max’s Wine Dive, which made the list in both Dallas and Houston, is a mini-chain best known for its specialty, fried chicken, which makes an appearance on the brunch menu alongside waffles. Fort Worth scored a spot with Cafe Modern; Frisco, a Dallas suburb, made the list with the inclusion of Bonnie Ruth's.

Perhaps the most controversial choice is that of Restaurant 506 at the Sanford House in Arlington. Serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, it offers a predictable menu of frittatas, pancakes and Belgium waffle. Is there an inordinate number of OpenTable users in Arlington?

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