Cover Story: The brunch bible: Your guide to metro brunch

(Design: Christopher Street / Photo: bigstock.com)

(Design: Christopher Street / Photo: bigstock.com)

And on the seventh day, humans looked around at the heavens and the earth, the light and the darkness and the beasts of the field and decided to do a little creating of its own.

Yea, verily, and they called it brunch.

Our ancestors figured out a simple equation: breakfast + lunch + a little booze = brunch.

Brunch in Oklahoma City used to be simple, too. There were diners, sure, and places open for breakfast and lunch, but few places actually served “brunch.” Options were minimal. It used to be so fancy, too; an indulgence reserved for birthdays and holidays.

No more. Brunch exploded over the past few years, covering the metro in hollandaise sauce and mimosas. At this point, it’s challenging to find a restaurant that doesn’t open on Sundays to serve bloody marys and eggs Benedict.

The trick is finding the best around, wherever you are, and whatever fills your needs, so Oklahoma Gazette staff curated this list of suggestions — we call them commandments, just for fun — to aid you on your quest for a heavenly brunch.

Classen Grill (Garett Fisbeck)

Classen Grill (Garett Fisbeck)

Thou shalt have eggs Benedict.

A brunch without Benedict might not even qualify as brunch.

From the simple classic made with a toasted English muffin topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs and creamy hollandaise sauce to some wild variations, it’s hard to beat this brunch staple.

The most important ingredient is the egg. When poached correctly, the white is set but not rubbery. A gentle nudge with a fork reveals a hidden treasure of ever-so-lightly cooked yolk ready to burst forth and trickle down to the meat and bread below.

Though it’s a thoroughly American creation, one of the finest examples in Oklahoma City is found at a local bastion of French cuisine, La Baguette Bistro, 7408 N. May Ave.

It’s little surprise that Michel Buthion’s restaurant would excel at hollandaise sauce since the emulsion of egg yolk and butter is one of five “mother sauces” in French cooking. Featuring pit ham instead of Canadian bacon, its eggs Benedict is a delight.

For a little variety, Park Avenue Grill inside Skirvin Hilton Hotel, 1 Park Ave., serves a braised beef short rib Benedict. To stand up to the rich, fatty meat, chefs stack their version with strong flavors of kale and pickled red onion and ladle a blue cheese hollandaise on top.

Museum Cafe at Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, serves a build-your-own Benedict option, allowing diners to pick from Canadian bacon, spinach and smoked salmon.

But if you’re looking for a straightforward eggs Benedict, it’s available every day at venerable Classen Grill, 5124 Classen Circle, alongside fried potatoes and a slice of cheesy grits.

Packard’s New American Kitchen (Garett Fisbeck)

Packard’s New American Kitchen (Garett Fisbeck)

Thou shalt serve bloody marys and mimosas.

Not everybody who goes out Sunday morning wants the hair of the dog that bit them Saturday night, but a cocktail can be a delightful way to perk up an otherwise-staid meal.

Luckily, local restaurants are happy to oblige.

Mimosas, a blend of orange juice and sparkling white wine, are plentiful at spots ranging from casual (The Wedge Pizzeria, 4709 N. Western Ave.) to elegant (The Drake, 519 NW 23rd St.).

But for something a bit stronger, many brunch spots roll out the bloody mary bar.

A mix of spiced tomato juice and vodka, bloody marys are a brunch tradition, but at Packard’s New American Kitchen, 201 NW 10th St., it’s up to guests to mix a perfect one. With a choice of regular or spicy juice and your favorite brand of vodka, diners head to the bar to season glasses with horseradish, hot sauces, salts, peppers and a variety of vegetables, pickled and otherwise.

Basically, it’s an alcoholic salad bar, and it’s a joy.

Other venues with a bloody mary bar include Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar at 1845 Northwest Expressway and Pearl’s Oyster Bar at 5641 N. Classen Blvd.

If you’d rather put a breakfast cocktail in the hands of a seasoned bartender, you might prefer one of the S&B’s Burger Joints that dot the city. They offer a big list of variations. And whether stopping at Rococo, 2824 N. Pennsylvania Ave., for the a la carte brunch or Rococo Northpark, 12252 N. May Ave., for the “cruise-line” brunch buffet, both locations offer an exquisite vegetable-infused vodka bloody mary.

Coffee Slingers Roasters. (Gazette / file)

Coffee Slingers Roasters. (Gazette / file)

Thou needst good coffee.

You don’t want a stiff drink, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beverage. One of the great joys of breakfast at a restaurant is getting a great cup of coffee — which, sadly, isn’t a guarantee.

For top-notch joe and a full menu of breakfast-y options, Joey’s Cafe, 12325 N. May Ave., is worth a visit. Not only are there stacks of fluffy pancakes and crab-stuffed omelets, but it serves a low-acid organic Brazilian coffee that is flavorful and rich without being bitter.

Norman breakfast stop syrup., 123 E. Main St., serves Stumptown Coffee from Oregon alongside a menu of traditional (and nontraditional) eggs, waffles and biscuits and gravy.

If you’re more interested in imbibing caffeine than eating a full-on breakfast, the metro is blessed with a bounty of great coffee shops. An early local challenger to the Starbucks crown is Coffee Slingers, 1015 N. Broadway Ave., where java jockeys can create espressos, pour-overs and French presses from the venue’s house-roasted coffees.

A few blocks away, newcomer Clarity Coffee, 431 W. Main St., brings in great beans from roasters across the country. Co-owner Steve Willingham said he focuses on bringing the best roasts he can to Oklahoma City so customers can experience a range of what great coffee can be.

Hungry Frog Restaurant (Gazette / file)

Hungry Frog Restaurant (Gazette / file)

Thou shalt open a little early.

All too often, brunch is like Christmas morning. We wake up craving it, but we have to wait and wait for our favorite places to get cooking.

Thankfully, some restaurateurs understood diners’ plight and decided to open early.

Shining star of the south side Sherri’s Diner, 704 SW 59th St., is in a crack-of-dawn pancake war with Hungry Frog Restaurant, 1101 N. Pennsylvania Ave.

Both spots serve some of the city’s finest flapjacks and have the heart to open well before 10 a.m. Sherri’s starts service at 6 a.m., and things get hopping at 6:30 a.m. at Hungry Frog. (Careful, though — Hungry Frog is closed on Sundays, so make sure to visit another day.)

A little farther north is Abraham’s Western Cafe, 4716 N. Western Ave., which is better known for onion burgers but makes a dandy spot for an early morning plate of bacon, eggs and pancakes.

Want to class it up a little more? Check out the city’s growing number of hotel restaurants, which open early to fix high-end eats. In addition to Park Avenue Grill, which opens at 7 a.m. on weekends, there’s Flint, 15 N. Robinson Ave., inside Colcord Hotel; Ember Modern American Tavern, 6300 Waterford Blvd., inside Renaissance Waterford Oklahoma City Hotel; and Viceroy Grille, 1200 N. Walker Ave., inside Ambassador Hotel.

The R&J Supper Club (Garett Fisbeck)

The R&J Supper Club (Garett Fisbeck)

Thou ought to cook the bacon right.

Pigs hate brunch for obvious reasons. They’re never invited as guests, only as food. But the real insult to our cloven-hoofed friends is when they aren’t even cooked correctly.

So when going out for brunch, it’s important to find places that cook bacon just right: mostly crispy with just enough chew to keep the slice from shattering when you take a bite, sending shards of pork flying like brunch shrapnel.

One great place to find bacon, day or night, is The R&J Lounge and Supper Club, 320 NW 10th St. Brunch at this bar starts midnight Saturday, but even on a weeknight, you can find homemade, extra-thick cut bacon with blue cheese and truffle honey.

At brunch, discover a thinner, crispier version as a side with a croissant, ham and Brie French toast or eggs and toast.

Another top spot is Kitchen No. 324, 324 N. Robinson Ave., where chefs cure their own McCabe’s small-batch bacon before frying it for lucky customers. Thick, chewy and nearly radiating with big breakfast flavor, it’s a must-have.

All About Cha, 13921 N. May. (Gazette / file)

All About Cha, 13921 N. May. (Gazette / file)

Thou needst some pastries.

While at Kitchen, there’s a big pile of pastries just begging customers to forgo their usual order of Green Eggs and Ham for a cruller or chocolate croissant.

In fact, many spots serve brunch sweets.

All About Cha, with locations in OKC and Edmond, has cases full of desserts that are just as tasty early in the day as they are later.

And new food truck Holey Rollers, which keeps its location updated on Twitter @holeyrollersokc, serves doughnuts in a variety of drool-worthy flavors like spicy Mexican chocolate, banana walnut sea salt and lemon poppyseed.

Don’t forget the pastry whiz kids making doughnuts and macarons from scratch at Belle Kitchen, 7509 N. May Ave. and 30 NE Second St. Since you’re already having dessert for breakfast, go ahead and grab some homemade ice cream, too.

S&B’s Burger Joint (Provided)

S&B’s Burger Joint (Provided)

Thou can throw in a burger.

Brunch is still an indulgence, which might be why so many local spots make a breakfast version of Oklahomans’ favorite dish — the burger.

At The Pump Bar, 2425 N. Walker Ave., the aptly named Brunch Burger is an entire breakfast piled on a jalapeño cheddar bagel. It is covered in havarti cheese, bacon, hash browns and a poached egg with deli mustard hollandaise sauce. Be sure to ask for extra napkins.

Recently reborn VZD Restaurant & Bar, 4200 N. Western Ave., serves a slightly different take on the breakfast burger, topping an all-beef patty with soft-scrambled eggs and a seeded roll.

S&B’s Burger Joint offers breakfast burgers, too. The 5929 N. May Ave. location begins serving them at 9 a.m. all the livelong day, including the Sunday Morning Coming Down with Sriracha ketchup, bacon, hash browns, American cheese and a soft-fried egg.

Hillbilly's (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Hillbilly’s (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Thou shalt spice things up.

If heavy food makes you feel sluggish, open your eyes by wrapping your mouth around some dishes that bring the heat.

Cafe Kacao, 3325 N. Classen Blvd., is home of the cobanero omelet stuffed with carne asada and doused in creamy cobanero pepper sauce. The pepper sauce will keep you alert and hungry for more.

Shrimp and grits are another favorite spreading across Oklahoma City. It’s on the menu at Ember, and another top spot for spicy shellfish is Hillbilly’s, 1 NW Ninth St. Let your server know your preferred spice level before you order, though, because this dish can burn you from the inside out in the tastiest way possible.

For international flair, check out the popular brunch at Café do Brasil, 440 NW 11th St. The Orfeu Negro’s potent blend of black bean soup, pork, poached egg and spicy green sauce will wake you up while the delightful Carnaval Hangover, including scrambled eggs with spicy homemade chorizo, will have you begging for a caipirinha cocktail to cool you down.

Thou shalt make reservations.

Nothing makes a hero feel more like a zero than suggesting brunch at a beloved eatery and then showing up just in time to make your friends and family wait an hour for a table. Don’t be that person. Lots of come-and-go spots don’t require reservations, but for some of the most popular ones, call at least a few days in advance.

Why take your chances by walking into Cafe 501, 5825 NW Grand Blvd., or Rococo when you can reserve a spot online? Opentable.com is a resource for making sure you have enough room for everyone at the right time.

Sunnyside Diner (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Sunnyside Diner (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Thou can just eat breakfast, too.

Brunch is wonderful, but it doesn’t have to be a production. There are plenty of places to grab a simple meal of perfectly cooked eggs, buttery toast and fresh-from-the-griddle pancakes.

Local-favorite-turned-interstate-success Jimmy’s Egg is so ubiquitous it’s almost ridiculous. But it’s hard to argue with a spot that knows how to make those omelets right every time.

Eggington’s, 737 W. Danforth Road, in Edmond is an import from Casper, Wyoming, but it’s still a great place to stuff your kids full of chocolate chip pancakes while chatting with friends.

Newly opened Sunnyside Diner, 916 NW Sixth St., runs the gamut from diner favorites huevos rancheros and corned beef and hash to variations on eggs Benedict, as well.

Now go, brunch lovers. Remember, the only sin is skipping brunch. We just pray we get an invite to join you.


BRUNCH GOSPEL

Old School Bagel Cafe (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Old School Bagel Cafe (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Downtown

Kitchen No. 324
324 N. Robinson Ave.
kitchen324.com
405-763-5911

Flint
15 N. Robinson Ave.
flintokc.com
405-605-0657

Old School Bagel Cafe
211 N. Robinson Ave.
oldschoolbagelcafe.com
405-778-8938

The Ground Floor European Cafe & Bakery
211 N. Robinson Ave.
groundfloorcafe.net
405-232-2233

Park Avenue Grill
1 Park Ave.
skirvinhilton.com
405-702-8444

S&B’s Burger Joint (Provided)

S&B’s Burger Joint (Provided)

Midtown

S&B’s Burger Joint
20 NW Ninth St.
sandbburgers.com
405-270-0516

Hillbilly’s
1 NW Ninth St.
fullhillbilly.com
405-702-9805

Pierre Pierre Crêperie
7 NW Ninth St.
pierrepierreokc.com
405-600-9494

Kamp’s 1910 Cafe
10 NE 10th St.
kamps1910cafe.net
405-230-1910

Iguana Mexican Grill
9 NW Ninth St.
iguanamexicangrill.com
405-606-7172

Elemental Coffee Roasters
815 N. Hudson Ave.
elementalcoffee.com
405-604-9766

Waffle Champion
1212 N. Walker Ave., Suite 100
wafflechampion.com
405-525-9235

Stella Modern Italian Cuisine
1201 N. Walker Ave.
stella-okc.com
405-235-2200

Café do Brasil
440 NW 11th St.
cafedobrazilokc.com
405-525-9779

Broadway 10 Bar and Chophouse (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Broadway 10 Bar and Chophouse (Garett Fisbeck / file)

Automobile Alley

Packard’s New American Kitchen
201 NW 10th St.
packardsokc.com
405-605-3771

Broadway 10 Bar and Chophouse
1101 N. Broadway Ave.
broadway10okc.com
405-212-3949

Coffee Slingers Roasters
1015 N. Broadway Ave.
coffeeslingers.com
405-609-1662

Pelotón Wine Bar & Cafe
900 N. Broadway Ave.
peletonwinebar.com
405-605-0513

Oak & Ore (Provided)

Oak & Ore (Provided)

Plaza District

Cafe Antigua
1903 N. Classen Blvd.
facebook.com/cafeantigua1
405-602-8984

Hungry Frog Restaurant
1101 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
405-524-0686

The Mule
1630 N. Blackwelder Ave.
themuleokc.com
405-601-1400

District House
1755 NW 16th St.
districthouseokc.com
405-633-1775

Oak & Ore
1732 NW 16th St.
oakandore.com
405-606-2030

Cafe Kacao (Gazette / file)

Cafe Kacao (Gazette / file)

Uptown 23rd/Paseo

Picasso Cafe
3009 Paseo Drive
picassosonpaseo.com
405-602-2002

The Pump Bar
2425 N. Walker Ave.
pumpbar.net
405-702-8898

Guyutes
730 NW 23rd St.
guyutes.com
405-702-6960

Pizzeria Gusto
2415 N. Walker Ave.
pizzeria-gusto.com
405-437-4992

Jeff’s Country Cafe
3401 N. Classen Blvd.
405-524-2023

Cafe Kacao
3325 N. Classen Blvd.
cafekacao.com
405-602-2883

The Red Cup
3122 N. Classen Blvd.
theredcupokc.com
405-525-3430

Cheever’s Cafe
2409 N. Hudson Ave.
cheeverscafe.com
405-525-7007

The Drake
519 NW 23rd St., Suite 111
thedrakeokc.com
405-605-3399

Old School Bagel Cafe
511 NW 23rd St. #101
oldschoolbagelcafe.com
405-602-3447

Big Truck Tacos
530 NW 23rd St.
bigtrucktacos.com
405-525-8226

Guernsey Park
2418 N. Guernsey Ave.
guernseypark.com
405-605-5272

Pearl’s Oyster Bar (Gazette / file)

Pearl’s Oyster Bar (Gazette / file)

Classen Curve

Cafe 501
5825 NW Grand Blvd.
cafe501.com
405-844-1501

All About Cha
7300 N. Western Ave.
allaboutcha.net
405-840-7725

Flip’s Wine Bar
5801 N. Western Ave.
flipswinebar.com
405-843-1527

Pearl’s Oyster Bar
5641 N. Classen Blvd.
pearlsokc.com
405-848-8008

Deep Fork Grill
5418 N. Western Ave.
deepforkgrill.com
405-848-7678

Eggington's (Garett Fisbeck)

Eggington’s (Garett Fisbeck)

Edmond

Eggington’s
737 W. Danforth Road
eggingtons.com
405-285-1580

The Hash Retro Diner
1149 E. Second St.
facebook.com/hrdedmond
405-471-6747

Cafe 501
501 S. Boulevard
cafe501.com
405-359-1501

Katie’s Country Griddle
229 S. Santa Fe Ave.
405-359-6372

Lottinvilles
801 Signal Ridge Drive
lottinvillesrestaurant.com
405-341-2244

Jim's Diner. (Gazette / file)

Jim’s Diner. (Gazette / file)

Northwest OKC

Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar
1845 Northwest Expressway
whiskeycakeokc.com
405-582-2253

La Baguette Bistro
7408 N. May Ave.
labaguettebistro.com
405-840-3047

Beverly’s Pancake House
3314 Northwest Expressway
405-848-5050

Classen Grill
5124 N. Classen Blvd.
405-842-0428

S&B’s Burger Joint
5929 N. May Ave.
sandbburgers.com
405-843-8777

Lola’s Family Restaurant
9148 N. MacArthur Blvd.
405-722-8262

Jim’s Diner
6317 N. Meridian Ave.
jimsdinerok.com
405-495-5105

The Boom
2218 NW 39th St.
theboomokc.com
405-601-7200

syrup. (Gazette / file)

syrup. (Gazette / file)

Norman

syrup.
123 E. Main St.
syrup-breakfast.com
405-701-1143

Scratch Kitchen + Cocktails
132 W. Main St.
scratchnorman.com
405-801-2900

Fancy That
215 E. Main St.
fancythat.us
405-307-0541

The Diner
213 E. Main St.
405-329-6642

Pub W
3720 W. Robinson St.
pubdub.com
405-701-5844

Seven47
747 Asp Ave.
seven47.com
405-701-8622

Blu Fine Wine & Food
201 S. Crawford Ave.
gldining.com/blu
405-360-4258

Legend’s Restaurant
1313 W. Lindsey St.
legendsrestaurant.com
405-329-8888


Print headline: Brunch bible; Oklahoma Gazette takes readers to church with our guide to metro favorites.

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Greg is the Gazette's full-time food writer and reviewer. He goes to restaurants a lot. He orders three entrees and gets funny looks and then takes out his camera and people are like, "Ugh. This guy." Greg is writing this right now and it feels weird to keep referring to myself in the third person. On Twitter and Instagram: @Elwelleats

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