A few months ago, Yelp's Austin Community Manager Kelly Stocker had an idea to start a brunch club. Instead of hitting up typical spots like, say, Moonshine or Mulberry, this club explores the hidden brunch gems that often get overlooked. With a simple goal, "The brunch club: It's like the breakfast club with less flannel and teen angst," Stocker recruited several friends to join her in this endeavor (including the author).
"I love brunch and I get tired of [having to] wait in line when there are so many fun and interesting places to go," explains Stocker. "We love Taverna and South Congress Cafe, [but] those places are on the tip of everyone's tongue when it comes to brunch."
Over the past few months, the brunch club has embarked on an epic journey of mimosas and magic, of eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys. And we've found that Stocker is right; it's a big brunch world out there, you just have to look for it. "I'm on a mission to bring brunch to the masses," Stocker says, laughing. With that in mind, here are seven under-the-radar gems we hope you consider hitting up when the brunching hour strikes.
Brunch on a budget — Old School Bar & Grill
Often overlooked for more brunchable boulevards like South Congress or South Lamar, Dirty Sixth is home to a few totally banging brunch spots. Old School Bar & Grill gets our vote for best brunch on a budget. On Sundays, Old School's made-to-order breakfast buffet will only set you back $12.99. Items include eggs Benedict, migas, custom omelettes and Bananas Foster French toast. Add a $3 Bloody Mary or an order of $6 bottomless mimosas, and you have yourself one feel-good meal.
Bar/brunch combo — Luke's Inside Out at Gibson Bar
This could certainly have been a contender for both best brunch on a budget or trailer brunch, but the sheer uniqueness impressed us enough to put it in its very own category. For most of the week, Luke's Inside Out trailer feeds hungry Gibson bar patrons, but on Sundays, the trailer and the bar team up for an all-out brunch extravaganza. Luke's offers a $12 all you can eat buffet from 11:30 am - 3 pm with dishes like tater tot casserole and Szechuan chicken and waffles with bacon and Brie. Inside, the bar offers $1 mimosas and a $5 Bloody Mary bar.
Gut-busting brunch — Gourdough's Public House
You know that uncomfortable, too full feeling usually reserved for Thanksgiving night and splurges at restaurants like Jeffrey's? Well, Gourdough's Public House offers that same post-meal "roll me outta here" feeling (and for a lot less money). Though the brand was made famous by its donut trailers, the brick-and-mortar is better known for bar food.
Its brunch menu is fairly limited (and, it should be noted, very meat-heavy), but The Dirty Plucker (donut served topped with hand-battered fried chicken, honey butter and maple syrup) and Petunia (donut topped with pulled pork, fried egg and smothered with gravy) were both big hits. The regular menu is also available during brunch, so if you're feeling particularly adventurous, consider an order of The Big Cheez, which is mozzarella wrapped in donut batter, fried and served with a side of butter.
Also of note? A "pitcher" of mimosas is actually a large jug, and the Bloody Mary is pretty much perfect. Plus on a recent Saturday, our large party was seated instantly.
Most surprising brunch — Sagra
There may have been a few eyerolls when Stocker suggested Sagra for one brunch club outing, but this East 11th Street joint was simply scrumptious. Consider Sagra the brunch option for people who don't like brunch. While there are classic offerings like French toast and frittata to keep breakfast enthusiasts happy, Sagra's brunch menu also offers homemade pasta dishes, pizzas and sandwiches. $1 mimosas will ensure no one goes thirsty — don't forget to save room for dessert and an espresso.
Our favorite food truck brunch — King & Country Food Company
Bring your pups, your kids and your booze to this trailer which recently relocated to Midway Food Park. (Also make sure to bring sunscreen, because shady spots are limited.) The burger is, simply, one of the best in town. If you're craving more traditional brunch fare, the eggs Benedict is a slam-freaking-dunk. Bring your own mimosa fixings and if you're jonesing for a coffee, know that King & Country brews up some of the best.
Stocker did note, however, that the trailer's homemade Bloody Mary mix is no longer offered. Perhaps we should start a petition to get it back. Also, double check King & Country's Facebook page before heading out to Midway Food Park. This popular joint sells out quickly.
Gluten-free glory brunch — Wild Wood Bakehouse
Got a gluten-free friend in tow? This menu will make everyone happy. Best known for the gluten-free baked goods, Wild Wood also offers a very reasonable Sunday brunch buffet for $14.99. (Bonus? Free juice or mimosa!) Don't believe in a world without gluten? Then you haven't tried Wild Wood's migas, French toast or famous chicken stuffed avocado. The restaurant also serves some really fabulous vegan and dairy-free options like a vegan vegetable medley and veggie enchiladas. Bring the kids and they can chow down for a mere $7.50.
Brunch with barbecue — Freedmen's
If leaving brunch smelling like wood smoke is your thing (and it should be), Freedmen's is your very best option. Order up the barbecue Benedict or a barbecue breakfast sammy with your choice of Freedmen's famous brisket, pulled pork, bacon, sausage or veggies — and make sure to add a side of the smoked cheddar grits.
If that isn't enough to get you to this West Campus joint, consider the Holy Mary. The restaurant's take on a Bloody Mary, your drink comes with a quart of Smoked Tomato Bloody Mix, 2-Day #BBQ Sauce and Forty Creek Whisky. It's then topped with a half pound of the Texas Trinity: brisket, sausage and spare ribs. Holy Mary, indeed.