To say Houston loves its brunch scene is an understatement. Every weekend, thousands from in and around the area venture out to any number of local joints in search of the best brunch in town. Many of these folks are in it strictly for the food; brunch is, after all, a meal. That said, many more are looking for more of a scene, somewhere that combines a lively atmosphere with quality drinks and, of course, nice food selections on the menu. Looking for the best brunch menus in town? The Houston Press already has you covered there, but these are the city's ten best brunch scenes. (Note: This list is in alphabetical order.)
Every Barnaby’s that serves up breakfast/brunch is legit, but there’s something about Baby’s that puts it a notch above (perhaps it’s the quaint nature of it; ideal for a low-key Sunday morning). There will be a line, though you can at least enjoy a cup of coffee while waiting. Plus, the wait will be worth it; you can’t go wrong with the migas or huevos rancheros. Wash it down with a Straw-mosa, mix of sparkling wine and strawberry lemonade. (602 Fairview, barnabyscafe.com)
Chef Hugo Ortega — owner of both these local treasures — knows what brunchgoers want. Hugo’s, which serves up Mexican cuisine, offers up unique brunch fare such as lobster tacos and French toast with a Mexican spin. Backstreet, meanwhile, is an al fresco joint that serves up American bistro fare such as a fried-egg sandwich and crab cakes and eggs. Backstreet is a particularly enjoyable brunch locale, in part because its converted-home vibe feels like home...if you lived in a really nice River Oaks home and employed a world-class chef. (1103 S. Shepherd/1600 Westheimer, backstreetcafe.net/hugosrestaurant.net)
This Heights favorite absolutely bumps on weekends, so be prepared to wait in line and park in the street, though valet parking is available. The indoor portion of CRISP is always bustling, providing a lively, good-timing vibe and a nice start to Sunday Funday. The patio, which is shaded, is a great place to enjoy brunch as well. A full bar serves up beer, wine and cocktails, and the food is on-point, particularly the array of stone-deck-fired breakfast pizzas. (2220 Bevis, crisphouston.com)
Something about this place just screams “brunch.” Maybe it’s the indoor space, which despite its somewhat small stature and lively conversations permeating the room, never feels crowded. Or maybe it’s the smell of coffee that greets brunch types at the front door. Do yourself a favor and start off with a Big Ol’ Bloody Mary (featuring a chicken wing and beer back), and pair it with either the chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits. It makes for arguably the best brunch in town. (1801 Yale, treadsack.com/downhouse)
HOUSE OF BLUES
On select Sundays (check the online calendar for dates), House of Blues hosts Gospel Brunch, which features local talent performing both contemporary and traditional Gospel tunes. Pair that up with a brunch buffet — featuring a variety of Southern fare — and you have a reason to actually head to downtown on the weekend. (1204 Caroline, houseofblues.com/Houston)
A great place to beat the heat but still enjoy weekend brunch, MKT Bar also offers up live and local music every Sunday. A full bar is on tap, as are unique brunch-themed delicacies such as the Hill Country Chicken & Waffles and egg-white frittata. Plus, the intimate lighting makes for a nice brunch date, or a place to get out of the heat and nurse last night’s hangover. (1001 Austin, mktbar.com)
ONION CREEK CAFE
Cedar Creek and Canyon Creek are both great brunch spots as well, but Onion Creek does it just a little bit better. For starters, it has more of a breakfast/coffee house vibe, which tailors it well to the brunch crowd. Plus, the patio is mostly shaded, making it a great place to kick back and enjoy brunch in the morning or early afternoon (the backdrop of White Oak doesn't hurt). And finally, the food is among the best brunch fare in the city, particularly the 6th St. Migas and Brisket Breaky. (3106 White Oak, onioncreekcafe.com)
Big brother White Oak Music Hall has certainly generated more headlines since its recent opening, but Raven Tower has quietly developed a solid reputation of its own. Now it’s getting in the brunch game. In August, Raven Tower is going to host Stilettos & Sandwiches, hosted by “two of Houston’s most loud-mouth and fun-loving drag queens” (Titanica de Barge and Veronica Strutts). This brunch is done a little differently, however, in that guests are encouraged to bring their own meal to enjoy while taking in a show; food will be available on site as well, as will drink specials. (310 North, raventower.net)
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Looking for a nice, low-key Sunday brunch affair? Go somewhere else; Royal Oak is for the party people. The Montrose establishment features a weekly Sunday Funday patio party, complete with a live DJ and $10 mimosa pitchers. The crowd will be thick, and things could very well get out of hand. If you’re in the mood for a lively time, you’ll enjoy every minute of it. (1318 Westheimer, royaloakhouston.com)
Still looking for that nice, low-key Sunday brunch affair? You found it; this picturesque establishment certainly ranks among the quaintest in the city. With its greenery and manicured lawn (it also sits next to a nursery), Tiny Boxwoods is arguably the foremost authority on upscale brunch in town. (3614 W. Alabama, tinyboxwoods.com)