Brunch is a crucial part of the weekend. Typically served both Saturday and Sunday, there is no better way to start a day than with mimosas, bloody marys or any of the other cocktails created for the (late) morning meal. While there are plenty of diners serving up brunch around the metro, a new standard has emerged. Gone are the days of soggy pancakes and limp bacon to go along with a watered-down orange juice and coffee. The following places serve the very best in brunch food and buzz-inducing drinks that are just as good.
119 Washington Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
The North Loop has gained a reputation recently as one of the very best food neighborhoods, in no small part due to Haute Dish’s eclectic take on comfort food. Classics like biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles are served to be paired with cocktails on the most creative breakfast list found anywhere. Choose from options like the gin fizz, a “frozen” screwdriver that tastes like a creamsicle or the breakfast of champions, described as including whiskey, coffee and cigarettes.
The Strip Club
378 Maria Ave.
St Paul, MN 55106
Known for its steak (as the name cleverly implies), this is also one of the best cocktail bars in the state. And cocktails and brunch go together here like hangovers and headaches. Enjoy a little hair of the dog with the house bloody mary, one of the richest, most satisfying around. Other drinks, like the “pretty in drink,” will also do the trick, but if you’re looking for something truly special, have the incredible bar staff make something up for you. It will surely be everything you dreamed of.
858 Payne Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55130
Fairly new to the dining scene, Ward 6 has gained a strong following and rave reviews for its down-to-earth, from-scratch menu to go along with an excellent cocktail list. You can find breakfast every day at Ward 6, but brunch is meant to be a lavish affair committed to the freedom of weekends. Enjoy classic brunch items (like some of the best biscuits and gravy in town) while sipping on an amazing horseradish bloody mary sure to please any palate. The michelada, made with the same bloody mix and light beer, is also a winner. Or try one of the adult milkshakes to complement your pancakes; it is the weekend after all.
2551 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405
You want a good meal and breakfast beverage, but your head is spinning too much to go through the dozens of items on many brunch menus. Uptown’s Nightingale is the perfect solution: the menus for both breakfast food and breakfast drinks are concise, just the right amount of classics and innovations to make it an incredibly enjoyable affair. Only the perfect morning items have made it onto this list, and the simple elegance of the restaurant allows you to kick back and meet the day on your own terms.
80 S. 9th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
The opposite of Nightingale, the extensive menu at Hell’s Kitchen has anything and everything you could ever want. One of the highest-rated bloody marys (the “bloody hell,” made with chipotle-orange infused vodka) goes along with live music at 10 a.m., turning brunch into a real morning-after party. If you’re not feeling a bloody, you can have a mimosa with your choice of juice, a screwdriver with your choice of house-infused vodka or any of the decadently delicious coffee cocktails.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.