Brunch (brunch) n. [Colloq.] a meal that combines a late breakfast and an early lunch
According to Webster’s, “brunch” is a noun, but common usage suggests otherwise and we’ve been brunching for more than a century. Englishman Guy Beringer coined the portmanteau (combination of words) in 1895 when he wrote, "Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week."
We all know brunch as a lazy, decadent meal that allows for sleeping in late and languishing over a full plate for hours. You can mix and match eggs, fruit, French toast, meat or seafood; coffee, tea, juice and even respectably down a cocktail mid-day. It’s more than a meal; it’s a social ritual, especially in this town. If Mr. Beringer were here today, he would not be eating his words. Some area restaurants serve up sumptuous brunch buffets while others modestly lay no claim to the colloquialism, offering morning and afternoon repasts in more traditional terms. But, breakfast, lunch; burrito, frittata… in Sarasota, brunch by any other name is still “egg-ceptional.” Here are three of our faves that have withstood the test of time.*
Order breakfast or lunch and dine inside or out at The Original Egg in South Sarasota. The restaurant also offers curbside, take-out, and delivery services up to three miles. Open 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., this popular eatery has been an island tradition for more than 30 years. With huge portions of everything from deep-dish quiche and giant homemade pancakes to a chipotle turkey panini and salmon Caesar salad, you definitely won’t leave hungry. A wide variety of Benedicts include crab, portobello, and lox. The Sheepherder — poached eggs smothered with cheeses on top of hash browns — is a classic favorite. Home-baked pumpkin bread, banana bread, muffins, cookies, croissants and more, everything is freshly made, equally tempting and all worth waiting for, which you probably will do on weekends and in season. But the restaurant’s eclectic gift shop and art gallery provide plenty to peruse and purchase either before or after your meal. Wine, beer and mimosas are available in addition to non-alcoholic beverages.
Siesta Key’s Village Café serves breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in a casual, beachy atmosphere. Village Café also offers curbside, take-out, and delivery via the Bike Squad app. Don your flip-flops, slip on a cover-up and sit inside or out in the sun while enjoying more traditional fare... sort of. You don’t see (or eat) a four-egg omelet every day. Western, Greek, Italian, veggie, and more, however you slice it, these babies are big. A Siesta Benedict, tons of salads, including stuffed tomato with tuna, share the menu with quesadillas, grouper plates, burgers - beef and plant-based, and a savory assortment of salads and sandwiches and some gluten-free options. The Café Cocktail is a blend of low fat yogurt, granola and other goodies for the health conscious, along with oatmeal, muffins and bagels. Family owned and operated since 1995, the café has retained most of the same waitresses, kitchen staff and customers since it opened. So, that yummy Greek omelet you’ve enjoyed for years will taste as good as you remembered, and your server (and everyone else) will likely know your name.
The Hob Nob Drive In in north Sarasota is a downright Sarasota institution, offering ultra-casual dining and delightfully good food since 1957. Where else can you pull up for a juicy burger at 7 a.m.? Hob Nob is now offering online ordering for pick-up. The famous Hob Nob hamburger is a beefy double cheeseburger with all your favorite fixings. The authentic 50’s drive in is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. You can order breakfast until 10:30 a.m. and anything else anytime, including beer or wine after 11 a.m. Most popular is the breakfast special: two eggs - any style, bacon or sausage, and a choice of home fries or grits. Fresh signature salads and great omelets, particularly the Farmer’s Omelet, breakfast sandwiches and pancakes complement other selections including sandwiches of grouper, fresh chicken tenders, and grilled ham and cheese.
If you go:
The Original Egg: 4031 Clark Rd. Sarasota; 941.922.2868; TheOriginalEgg.com
The Village Café: 5133 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key; 941.349.2822; VillageCafeOnSiesta
Hob Nob Drive In: 1701 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota; 941.955.5001; HobNobDriveIn.com
*Note: At the time of publication, these eateries were open for business; however, they are operating on a day-to-day basis due to COVID-19. Call to confirm hours prior to visiting or ordering.
Originally written by Lisa Codianne Fowler for Dining Guide Plus, a former publication of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Updated 3-30-20.