Where to Brunch in the Washington Corridor

The best spots for mimosas and more.

Top Five

In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town.

This week, we're moving near Washington Avenue, where we'll find bacon, bacon and more bacon with the occasional jalapeño thrown in for good measure.

You can order off the lunch or brunch menu at our No. 5 pick.
Brooke Viggiano
You can order off the lunch or brunch menu at our No. 5 pick.
After you taste the macarons from Bite, you will be hooked.
Molly Dunn
After you taste the macarons from Bite, you will be hooked.

Note: For purposes of this article, the Washington Corridor is defined as the strip of Washington running from Westcott to Houston Avenue, with a few blocks north or south on either side.

Honorable Mention: Federal American Grill for its $15 bottomless mimosas andWinston's On Washington because dogs like brunch, too.

5. TQLA Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We love a lot of things about TQLA. We love the bold, vibrant atmosphere. We love that you can build your own vodka Bloody Mary or make it a "Maria" with tequila. We love that said tequila is on tap. And we love that it's totally acceptable to get a margarita for brunch because the margarita has house-made jalapeño jam and jam is brunchy.

Finally, we love that you can start the day with chips and slow-burning salsa and finish it with the XXL gordito cinnamon rolls, blue corn pancakes and fiery carne asada. Love really is a burning thing.

4. BRC Gastropub Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2:30ish p.m.

Warning: Bring your appetite to this cheeky neighborhood hot spot. More is more here, and the plates come bigger than Mickey Rourke's freakishly large head. Start with cheddar biscuits and bacon jam, then dive into a sourdough brisket and egg grilled cheese, some cream-gravy-smothered fried chicken, or a stack of fluffy and decadent buttermilk pancakes with double cream, berries and real maple syrup. And don't forget to wash it all down with $10 pitchers of mimosa and sangria.

3. Benjy's on Washington Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This chic, open and airy restaurant may be less "clubby" than its Rice Village counterpart, but the party's still popping every weekend during brunch. Come with friends and start with bright balsamic brussels sprouts and house-made biscuits and gravy, then dig into nut-crusted challah French toast, shrimp and cheddar grits, or even a bright mahi-mahi salad. Tack on some bottomless fresh-squeezed mintade or, if you're feeling boozy, a champagne mojito.

2. Beaver's Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can't not love a place where you can get a bacon- and sugar-salt-rimmed Bloody Mary complete with house-infused bacon vodka and a candied-bacon adornment. The fact that the laid-back, kitschy icehouse also serves killer food — including house-cured duck pastrami, freshly fried beignets, cornmeal-crusted oyster nachos and a breakfast plate that's actually called the "Walk of Shame" — only makes things that much better.

1. Max's Wine Dive Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Max's Wine Dive has Friday brunch. We repeat, Max's Wine Dive. Friday brunch.

It truly is a beautiful thing when you can start your weekend a day early. Especially when it's with what is one of the most awesomely crafted brunch menus in Houston. We can't get enough of their infamous truffled fried egg sandwich, decadent banana Nutella crepes or our favorite, the "Jake's Cakes And Wings." The three golden and griddled corncakes are studded with bits of corn and jalapeño and served with masterfully fried, buttermilk-soaked chicken wings and a saucer of maple syrup. It just doesn't get better. That is, until you add on a $25 bottle of champagne alongside carafes of orange or grapefruit juice.

On the Menu

A Look at Lillo & Ella
Kevin Naderi talks about his new restaurant.

Kaitlin Steinberg

Kevin Naderi has had a couple of big days recently.

The chef of Roost not only opened his second restaurant, Lillo & Ella, on May 19, but also braved the television game-show circuit, appearing on the May 25 episode of the Food Network's Guy's Grocery Games.

He came in second on the show — "I was the winner in my parents' eyes," he says, laughing. "That's all that counts." — but where the restaurant is concerned, things are going great. After officially opening to the public on May 20, Lillo & Ella has been drawing large dinner crowds and a slow but steady lunch clientele.

"If you look around here, everybody's busy at lunch, but it does take some time to build up your name," Naderi says. "My biggest challenge is getting people to spend an extra $2 at lunch instead of wanting to go to the more affordable joints around here."

Based on my recent lunch at Lillo & Ella, though, I'd say it's worth it.

Roost, Naderi's first restaurant, on Fairview in Montrose, has never had a lunch service. It's purely a dinner spot, and it does great serving that one meal a day. But it's smaller than Lillo & Ella in the Heights, which can seat 160 when it's completely full — inside, at the bar and on the patio. Because of its bigger size and vastly different menu, Lillo & Ella has been an adjustment for Naderi.

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