People love to complain about how early the sun sets after daylight savings time ends, but the sun coming up a little earlier can be useful. On the weekends, it means knocking out chores early, which frees up time for brunch.
At least, that’s what some of Houston’s newest restaurants are hoping people will do. They’re giving diners plenty of incentives to embrace a lazy, boozy, midday meal with creative dishes and tasty cocktails.
Here’s nine recent favorites. Most of the establishments have opened this year, but the list also includes a couple of veteran restaurants that have significantly upgraded their offerings. Regardless, they’re worthy of a visit.
B.B. Italia Kitchen and Bar
Ben Berg’s West Houston restaurant focuses on Italian-American classics like pizza, pasta, and entrees like chicken parmesan at dinner. They’re all present at brunch, too, but the menu adds breakfast options like soft scrambled eggs, an egg white frittata, and an Italian-style hash with poached eggs and prosciutto. Other options include lemon ricotta pancakes, hazelnut French toast, and a full range of eye-opening cocktails.
The Rice Village restaurant recently went through a dramatic transformation courtesy of designer Aaron Rambo and chef Seth Siegel-Gardner (formerly of The Pass & Provisions), who collaborated with Mike Potowski on a new menu built around shareable plates. At brunch, that manifests as biscuits and gravy with smoked briskets and vegetable plates with Brussels sprouts or carrots.
Four different egg dishes, including matzo brei and a crab Benedict, two different types of pancakes, and a range of breakfast sandwiches round out the offerings. Best of all, the menu is available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
With an extensive selection of both frozen and draft cocktails, the Montrose patio bar makes for an appealing place to hang out at any time of day, but it does feel especially well suited for one of those lazy, all-day brunches where people come and go over the course of a few hours. The usual menu gets supplemented with a few brunch specific dishes (migas, quiche, a Benedict of some form) and cocktails (Bloody Mary, mimosa, etc). The party starts at noon every Sunday.
The Madrid-inspired restaurant has been among Houston’s toughest tables, but the recently introduced Sunday brunch is a little easier to book. The interior has a different vibe in the daytime: slightly less frenetic, a little more chill.
Chef Luis Roger’s menu includes a few of the favorite from the dinner menu such as paella and Spanish Manzanilla olives, but the focus is on more brunch-specific options. For example, the dinner menu’s sauteed baby eels get reconfigured as an omelette and the jamon Iberico comes as a breakfast sandwich with grated black truffles. Save room for dessert; the tarta de queso (Basque-style cheesecake) is particularly can’t-miss.
The Mexican-American bar in Lindale Park has been a hit since it opened in July. Clearly, selling a beer, a shot, and a hot dog or slice of pizza for $8 is a winning formula. The recently-introduced brunch menu builds on that winning formula with dishes such as huevos rancheros pizza, migaquiles (a hybrid of migas and chilaquiles, natch), and three different molletes (open-faced sandwiches on toasted bolillo bread).
Cocktail options include favorites like the Bloody Mary and a mimosa, but those looking for some hair of the dog may want to consider the Pedialyte Party, which blends the “oral electrolyte solution” with sparking wine.
One Fifth Gulf Coast
For the first time, Chris Shepherd’s rotating restaurant is offering brunch. In addition to dinner menu staples like jambalaya for two and wood-roasted flounder amandine, the restaurant offers a few brunch-only specials such as a honey butter chicken biscuit, duck confit hash, and beignets.
Of course, a full menu of wine, beer, and cocktails will help take the edge off for anyone who’s feeling the effects of poor decision made the night before. Also, sports fans should note that addition of a TV in the bar allows people to keep an eye on the day’s NFL action.
Piggy’s Kitchen and Bar
This River Oaks-adjacent patio spot from The Creek Group understands that a memorable experience sometimes trumps memorable food. On the first and third Saturdays of every month, Piggy’s hosts The Broad's Way, a local performing group of drag artists and singers. Experiencing their performance add a fun element to menu of classic brunch favorites like chicken and waffles, toad (egg) in a hole, breakfast sandwiches, and omelettes. The experience is both family and pet-friendly; dogs are welcome on the restaurant’s expansive patio.
Baker Drew Gimma and chef Mark Clayton have earned raves at this bread-focused restaurant in The Heights. Brunch extends much of what has made the restaurant successful.
Gimma’s doughnuts were a hit at Better Luck Tomorrow, so it’s no surprise to see them upgraded with a blueberry glaze for an appetizer and incorporated into a breakfast sandwich with country ham and confit egg yolk as an entree. Poutine comes topped with “disco chicken sauce,” and brunch is also the only time that spaghetti carbonara is available.
Reservations can always be a little tricky, but the patio is always reserved for walk-ins and will be a nice place to dine during fall’s cooler weather.
Traveling down Bellaire on a Sunday morning demonstrates how popular dim sum is as a brunch option, but those traditional restaurants are better for a group than a couple of people. Enter Yauatcha.
Split between steamed bites like lobster dumpling with caviar and pork and prawn shu mai as well as baked and fried dishes like the wagyu beef puff and signature duck pumpkin puff, the $42 per person, prix fixe brunch menu offers diners a taste of many of the restaurant’s best dishes. Elevated service — a trait imported from the restaurant’s Michelin-starred sister location in London — creative cocktails, and elegant pastries help justify the splurge.