Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but brunch is clearly the most important meal of the week.
Story by Lara Hale
Consider the facts: You’re allowed to start drinking before noon, the food is comforting and delicious and it’s the perfect opportunity to unwind before jumping into the busy week ahead. We rounded up a dozen morning meals worth getting out of bed for from all over KC.
Yes, this Crossroads-based restaurant specializes in the cuisine of its owners’ native Germany, but Affäre’s Sunday-only brunch menu proves there’s more to Continental breakfast than cold cuts and cheese plates. Choose from familiar favorites with a European spin, including Arme Ritter, the German version of French toast, made with brioche bread and topped with vanilla sauce; Kaiserschmarrn, shredded, fluffy crepes served with almonds, rum raisins and caramelized apples; and the Affäre Omelette, stuffed with house-cured Canadian style ham, red peppers, asparagus, and fontina cheese. Or try something new—like our favorite, the Käsespätzle, soft egg noodles topped with a blend of cheeses, plus chorizo and onions. Wash it all down with a Bloody Mary with your choice of add-ons, such as bacon powder, blue cheese or a shrimp skewer, or opt for endless mimosas for $10.
Glowing diner reviews landed the restaurant inside The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art on online booking service OpenTable’s list of the country’s top 100 brunch spots, and who are we to argue? Chef Jennifer Maloney’s brunch menu changes weekly but features a few consistent favorites, including the Café Benny, which features poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce served atop meaty crab cakes with a side of roasted potatoes, and the Raisin Brioche French Toast topped with fresh berries and Vermont maple syrup, plus a side of bacon from Missouri-based Burgers’ Smokehouse. The setting—in a colorful courtyard with wall-to-wall art—is as attractive as the dishes.
The Corner Restaurant
They say practice makes perfect, so maybe that’s why this buzzing Westport eatery gets brunch so right—it’s one of the few places in town that serves brunch seven days a week. The menu includes creative renditions of all the usuals, such as buttermilk pancakes with house-made apple butter; biscuits with the Corner’s own black-pepper sausage gravy; and four variations of eggs Benedict. Our favorites have a distinct Southern flavor: the Chicken & Waffles served with warm bacon jam and praline-pecan sauce and the Short Ribs & Grits, hearty braised beef ribs atop cheesy jalapeno grits served with stewed greens and fried okra. Dining solo? Belly up to the bar and let Amanda mix you something from the Corner’s extensive menu of morning libations, including boozy coffees and hot chocolates, multiple mimosas and the Kepko, grapefruit juice spiked with tequila, aperol and dry curaçao.
The breakfasts at this cozy bistro are well worth the trek down to the West Bottoms. Old-fashioned diner-style classics, including biscuits and gravy, a toasted breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs, cheddar and bacon, and a fried-chicken biscuit with gravy and a sunny-side-up egg, make up the small but perfectly formed menu. Our pick? The ML Boyd Sandwich, which features a thick slice of Genessee’s meatloaf, sharp cheddar, roasted tomato, greens, bacon mayo and a sunny-side-up egg. The bistro’s cocktail game is also strong; we love the Lillet Royale, made with Lillet, elderflower cordial, grapefruit juice and bubbles, and the Black Velvet, a glass of Boulevard’s Dark Truth Stout topped off with bubbly.
Gram & Dun
We have two words for you: shrimp and grits. Or is that technically three? No matter; the important thing is that these are the words you owe it to your taste buds to utter when ordering at this Plaza staple. Gram & Dun’s version features spicy blackened shrimp and jalapeño avocado gravy over creamy stoneground grits. But really, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Other faves include the House-Corned Pork Tenderloin Hash topped with two sunny-side-up eggs and the Smoking Dun Waffle, dressed with lemon-rosemary butter and smoked cherry rye syrup and served with a side of house-smoked bacon. Flag down the cocktail cart to order a mimosa, Bloody Mary or “Brunch Punch” mixed and poured tableside.
Great news for the indecisive: Chef Celina Tio’s Brookside restaurant, which has been serving up one of the best brunches in town for years, has recently introduced a buffet option. Load up your plate with your pick of frittatas, breakfast potatoes, biscuits and gravy and French toast, plus green salad, pasta and a rotating signature dish. Regulars need not worry that they’ll miss out on their old favorites, though; there’s also an a la carte menu featuring Tio’s much-loved ginger doughnuts, tofu scramble and brunch burger topped with a fried egg, bacon and spicy Hollandaise sauce. Bottomless mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar are available, but we’re hooked on the Orange Julian, a cocktail made with Ketel One Oranje, cream, vanilla and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Magnolia’s Contemporary Southern Bistro
Chef-owner Shanita McAfee’s many years of whipping up Southern specialties earned her a spot (and a $15k prize) on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” last fall. Treat yourself to brunch at her Union Hill-area restaurant and you’ll see why she’s a winner in our book too. House-made cheddar and herb biscuits and gravy, buttermilk pecan waffles, sweet potato pancakes and N’awlins-style shrimp and grits all vie for attention on the menu but McAfee’s inventive specials take brunch to a whole ’nother level.
How can one possibly resist the Nutter Butter French Toast (challah bread soaked in a peanut butter egg wash, then coated in Nutter Butter cookie crumbs before being cooked to golden perfection and topped with maple whipped cream) or the Red Velvet Waffle Evangeline with cream cheese sauce and side of sweet potato hash? And why would you even try?
The restaurant that first opened its doors back in 1987 came back by popular demand last year with a new location in Overland Park’s Prairiefire development. Breakfast is available throughout the week, with offerings that runs the gamut from classic to creative, including spicy chorizo and egg breakfast tacos, beef tenderloin hash served over creamy Anson Mills grits, cinnamon-scented French toast with a crunchy Rice Krispies crust, and a variety of omelettes and Benedicts.
Find out why KC Magazine readers voted this Westport cantina the winner of the “Best Bloody Mary” award in our 2014 City’s Best poll. Port Fonda’s Bloody Maria bar lets you choose tequila, mescal or a mix of both, one of three salted rims (go for the chicharrone salt), and a mixer (we love the tomatillo). The garnishes—including bacon stirrers, pickled eggs and chicharrones—are so substantial you could almost get away without ordering a meal, but you’d be doing yourself a great disservice. The chilaquiles (thick tortilla chips topped with chorizo verde, salsa de molcajete, and a fried farm egg) and Donas de Requeson (cinnamon-sugar dusted ricotta doughnuts with your choice of topping) are not to be missed. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays—choose a seat at the bar or table nearby if you want to catch the game while you eat.
Summit Grill & Bar
The newest addition to Waldo’s dining scene is always hopping on Saturday and Sunday mornings, so it’s little surprise the restaurant’s original location in Lee’s Summit has just introduced brunch service too. Our favorite dish, the Jalapeño Cheese Grits in a Jar, forgoes the usual shrimp, topping the creamy corn porridge with locally sourced bacon, sausage and soft poached eggs instead. (If you miss the shellfish, try the flavorful Togarashi Fried Shrimp with sriracha aioli.)
Other standouts include the Corned Beef Brisket Hash topped with peppers, onions, eggs and Hollandaise sauce, and the Steak “Street” Tacos—small soft flour tortillas piled high with shredded slow-roasted steak, crumbled Cotija cheese, diced onions, cilantro and a chipotle cream sauce. Summit’s bottomless mimosas are the perfect way to wash it all down.
Tavern at Mission Farms
Tavern’s menu proves brunch doesn’t have to be a blowout feast to be delicious. Lighter options include a Granola Parfait served with fresh fruit, soup and salad combos and the Spinach, Tomato and Feta Egg White Omelette, which is so full of flavor you wont miss the extra calories.
If you want to indulge—it’s the weekend, after all—Tavern has you covered. May we suggest the Saussice Madame-Provençal? The French-inspired dish features baguette slices topped with fire-roasted tomato jam, house-made sausage, a fried egg, Gruyére cheese and rich Mornay sauce, plus a side of home fries for good measure. Finish your meal with an order of mini beignets or cinnamon sugar donuts made to order. The menu is also served at Tavern’s Prairie Village location.
You Say Tomato
This bustling Hospital Hill spot serves breakfast all week and fills up quickly for weekend brunch services. Waiting for a table gives you plenty of time to browse the shelves of YST’s grocery component, which offers a range of goodies from local producers. When it’s your turn to order, hearty options abound, including rotating breakfast casseroles and quiches, corned beef hash, and bierocks (pastry pockets stuffed with ground beef, sauerkraut and cabbage). Sweet tooths won’t want to miss the gooey freshly baked cinnamon rolls.