We all know that the best part of any weekend is brunch. If you’re anything like us, you go to bed dreaming of pancake towers, runny egg yolks, crispy, salty bacon and mimosas big enough to swim in. Lucky for you, Columbia has an abundance of Insta-worthy brunch spots—with each one boasting unique and unforgettable menu items that will cure any ailment, guaranteed. So, while you’re in town, stay out a little later, dance a little longer + say yes to that last cocktail, because all things buttery, syrup-covered and topped with a fried egg will be waiting (until 2 p.m.) to revive you.
When a brunch item lands you a feature on Food Network, it’s safe to say that lines of hungry patrons will start forming outside the door each Saturday + Sunday morning. Columbia’s aptly named bourbon-bar is famous for its Cajun-creole cuisine, impressive whiskey offerings and epic weekend brunch menu full of distinctive fare like Boozy Berry Biscuits, Fried Green, Eggs, and Ham and the famous “Biscuit of Champions.” A hefty house-made buttermilk biscuit is covered in savory sausage gravy, bourbon smoked bacon, a crispy fried chicken breast and andouille sausage. Multiply this already-extravagant meal by 10 and you get “The Champ”—which was featured on FN’s “Ginormous Foods.” Mama, we made it.
Arguably the most iconic brunch spot in Columbia, Café Strudel’s fame was built atop a steaming plate of Hangover Hash Browns. Featured in Southern Living, this renowned breakfast plate consists of crispy hash browns covered with sharp cheddar cheese, onions, banana peppers, tomato and two eggs—however you like ‘em. French toast made with pineapple Hawaiian bread, fluffy cinnamon pancakes and an OJ machine that squeezes those babies right before your eyes keep the crowds coming back weekend after weekend. No worries about the wait, though—just sip on a cup of joe from the serve-yourself, bottomless coffee bar and gaze at the eclectic local art covering the walls.
If you want to clink glasses in a more upscale setting, Motor Supply is waiting for you with a house-cured smoked salmon board + handcrafted, farm-to-shaker brunch cocktail. Motor Supply delivers many classic brunch items—but with elevated and elegant twists. Case in point: bacon-infused Bloody Marys, French toast bread pudding with fresh local peaches and fish + grits made with N.C. trout and cucumber relish over locally-sourced Adluh grits. If it’s summertime, order a Bellini made with local peach puree as an added kiss to your meal. Skip the drive-through breakfast and treat yourself to something with a bit more style—and a lot more delicious. You totally deserve it.
If you’re in the Forest Acres area, choose Tazza Kitchen in Trenholm Plaza for a surprising, wood-fired weekend brunch. While classics like breakfast burritos and French toast are available (with a twist, of course), unexpected items grace the menu and consistently impress. As delectable as it is gorgeous, the huevos rancheros plate is consider-licking-the-plate delicious. Teleport to the low country with the crab cake benedict or savor the ultimate indulgence—the béchamel-based + bacon-covered breakfast pizza that is, of course, topped with baked eggs. And, above all else, don’t forget to start off with the wood oven avocado plate—and don’t share.
Once you’re done petting puppies and picking flowers at Soda City market, stop in at Michael’s Café on the recently-revitalized Main Street for chicken and waffles (with habit-forming honey pecan butter) and a pitcher of pink grapefruit mimosas to share. If you’re craving something simple + comforting, you can build your own grilled cheese or chow down on a classic hamburger. Regardless of what you choose, try to snag a seat outside—perfect for enjoying some people watching + the unforgettable Main Street ambiance.
Home of what many have called the “best pimento cheese in Columbia”, DiPrato’s Delicatessen on Pickens Street has made regulars out of many Columbia locals. Patrons come for the Monte Cristo French Toast Sandwich, the towers of fluffy pancakes with drool-worthy toppings and the eggs benedict, but they stay for the southern hospitality (and maybe for the dessert display, too). When choosing your sides, make sure to order the onion sausage. It’s made in-house and will take your brunch experience to new heights. You can thank us later!
116 is the Spanish-influenced, State Street hot spot for an out-of-the-box brunch. Trade in your bland toast + turkey bacon for sweet potato pancakes, local pork medallions + hash or tortilla Española—Spanish-style potato crusted quiche with weekly-rotating fillings. If you’re feelin’ a breakfast sammy, order the Bocadillo Jamon Y Manchego—a toasted baguette sandwich with jamon de serrano, shaved manchego, and tomato pulp. Be sure to request a table outside, so you can admire one of the greatest views of the Columbia skyline within the city.
Shopping in Trenholm Plaza and feel the hanger coming on? Sprint to the Original Pancake House, right next to the Fresh Market, for stacks of pancakes as big as your head (order the Dutch variety if you’re feeling fancy), homemade corned beef hash or the legendary “Tahitian Maiden’s Dream”—a fluffy crepe filled with sweet banana slices that are sliced in sour cream and tempered with Triple Sec, sherry and brandy. Typically filled with the post-church crowd, OPH is one of Columbia’s most family-friendly brunch spots and will leave everyone at the table—from the littles to grandparents—smiling + satisfied.
Nestled in the posh Devine Street neighborhood, Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli has been serving all things sweet, sticky + full of cinnamon to Columbia locals and visitors since June of 2016. In addition to cinnamon rolls of many varieties—from the original to out-of-the-box flavors like bourbon caramel and banana foster—this Devine Street deli fills the bellies of patrons with New York-style hotdogs, hand crafted sandwiches + paninis and the addicting, house-made “Devine Chips”. If you have a special occasion (or if you’re just that hungry, we won’t judge), call ahead and order the “Cinnamonster”—the 12. Pound. Cinnamon. Roll that was also featured on Food Network’s “Ginormous Foods.”
Savor every moment of your morning with ooey-gooey bacon and brie croissants, fluffy Belgian waffles covered in pools of butter and all the bubbles your heart desires at The Gourmet Shop in Five Points. One of the most beloved brunch spots in Columbia, the Gourmet Shop doubles as a specialty foods market—where you can buy freshly baked bread, locally sourced preserves and honey + to-go containers of the shop’s famous chicken salad and pimento cheese. Artisan cheeses, fine wines, quality confections and professional cookware line the market shelves, so you can get some shopping done while you anticipate your mimosa kit. If it’s a nice day, sit outside. Trust us.
Boasting a menu of Lat-Asian cuisine—and a little bit of everything in between—Publico Kitchen and Tap is the ultimate Sunday Funday spot in Columbia. What earned Publico its spot on the best brunch list? Creative brunch libations (S’more. Cold Brew. Coffee.), unexpected eats like plantain pancakes, “Frosted Texas Toast” and breakfast jook (Chinese rice porridge), and a killer porch to clink glasses with your friends over a round of corn hole. You’ll come for the sites, bites + sips, but we guarantee you will stay for the lively staff that just wants you to have fun (oh, and the puppy menu.)
Trying to choose a brunch spot with a few vegans in-tow? Don’t stress—Main Street’s Good Life Café serves an all-vegan brunch that even the most dedicated of meat eaters are certain to enjoy. Organic and vegan pancakes and waffles + hearty breakfast plates with tempeh sausage grace the menu alongside lighter items like tofu scrambles, acai bowls and salads loaded with veggies. Nutrient-packed smoothies, cold-press juices and even a vast variety of raw options make Good Life Café stand out among other brunch locations, as it’s able to accommodate the dietary needs of everyone around the table.
If you prefer your brunch on tap, Vista brewpub Twisted Spur is calling your name and begging you to sit down + enjoy. Brunch classics like buttermilk pancakes, chicken and waffles and eggs Bennie coexist with more distinctive menu items like the brunch BLT—complete with cheddar cheese, fire roasted tomatoes, pesto mayo and, of course, fried eggs. If you’re feeling something a bit more suited for lunch time, order from the “Brew House Favorites” section on the menu, which includes savory options like fish & chips, cobb salad and even wings. If you’re celebrating, order the filet mignon—which is served with eggs + Adluh grits. Yes, please.
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