There is lots to remember about 2017.
For the North Carolina hospitality industry one of the most important events to occur this year was the passing of the Brunch Bill – a bill promoted and pushed on behalf of the industry by the NCRLA – the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association in Raleigh, with the clever mantra “Free the Mimosa”. The end result of this bill’s approval by the state, is that now, based on municipality or county consent, restaurants may start serving alcohol at 10 am on a Sunday morning.
Brunch is a favorite pastime for people who enjoy a weekend off and for brunch enthusiasts across the state the passing of this bill means not having to wait till noon or 1 pm to make your Sunday Brunch reservations – good news for all.
Brunch is a wonderful concept and an excuse to enjoy a long leisurely meal with family or friends. Brunch can be short and sweet and as simple as a cup of coffee and Danish; or it can go on for courses of little breakfasty bites. You can speed through a brunch to get on with the weekends activities or linger over a Mimosa or Bloody Mary or two with fare that takes you from breakfast right on into lunch.
Happily there are lots of restaurants in Charlotte offering brunch on Sunday – and on Fridays and Saturdays, too! The list is too long for one blog post and so I’ll start with a Restaurant Roundup of five can’t-miss Charlotte spots – all strong contenders for the best of weekend brunching – although, I list them here in no particular order.
As we move into the new year, I move we all make weekend brunching one of our resolutions; and to help easily achieve your new and deliciously satisfying goal, I resolve to update the brunching opportunities with new restaurant roundup posts of places to put on your dining out radar.
It was my pleasure to share this list with my friends Colleen Odegaard and Eugene Robinson hosts of WCNC’s Charlotte Today on Wed. Dec 29, 2017. In case you missed it or are reading this later in the day – here for you to come watch and review.
And now for the details: my end of the year list of five go-to places where the weekend brunch game is strong. The photos alone will have you calling friends and making your brunch plans for this weekend today – enjoy and be sure to #TellThemHeidiSentYou
Weekend Brunch at The Asbury
Located in the Dunhill Hotel with access off the hotel’s lobby, the Asbury is located Uptown Charlotte at 235 North Tryon Street. 704.342.1193. Reservations are always a good idea at this popular uptown brunch spot, but walk ins are also welcome. Parking is easy in the deck directly behind the hotel and with a validation from the restaurant the cost is just $5 for two hours of brunching time -after that regular hourly parking fees apply. Brunch is available on Saturday and Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm and on the menu are lots of chefs Matthew Krenz and Mike Long’s creative take on this sophisticated Southern cuisine.
On the menu at The Asbury, kick things off with a create-your-own Bloody Mary bar and then move into small bites to start like the deviled eggs – which change daily, the bacon studded sticky biscuits and MawMaw’s cast iron biscuits served with a side of made-in-house bacon jam.
Enjoy classics such as Chicken and Waffles or keep it a bit lighter with beautiful breakfast platters featuring a variety of local product such as the Fall Vegetables served with crispy spiced potatoes, warm kale a poached egg and rouille.
If you are in a search for heartier fare, then you won’t want to miss two of my personal favorites on The Asbury Brunch menu: the Southern Benedict with the most delicious pimento cheese gravy evahhh; and the double patty Krenz burger served this season with crispy griddled cheddar, caramelized onions and roasted mushrooms. Yes please! Its big enough to share – but you won’t want to! Forget the standard condiments of ketchup and mustard and just order a side of the pimento cheese gravy to go with your burger – you’ll be glad you did!
Weekend Brunch at Mimosa Grill
Another great go to for weekend brunching is Mimosa Grill, located in the Wells Fargo Two building Uptown at 327 South Tryon Street with access from the atrium. Mimosa is another long time Charlotte favorite – make your reservations online or by calling 704.343.0700. Parking is available via the building’s deck entrance off MLK Jr. Blvd. and the restaurant will validate your parking ticket.
Chef Thomas Marlow and his team offer an ala carte Saturday Brunch and a Sunday buffet brunch with all of your Southern faves such as hot chicken and waffles, classic deviled eggs, omelets, frittatas and steak and eggs cooked to order. I love Mimosa’s crab cakes as well as their twist on the classic version of Eggs Benedict – a mouthwatering and delicious Crab Cake Bene! On Saturday entrees are served with a side of fruit, grits or pop-them-in-your-mouth Parmesan Truffled fries, oh my! On Sundays brunch at Mimosa is served at an incredible help-yourself buffet with lots of little bites available to order for the table to share.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday Brunching at RockSalt
Ever have one of those weeks when you just needed more of a weekend? RockSalt, located in the backlot at Park Road Shopping Center at 512 Brandywine Rd., 704.503.9945, is here to help you add on a day to your weekend with a Friday brunch as well as brunch from 11am – 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Parking is free and readily available behind Park Road Shopping Center. And with the new enclosed and heated patio, Rocksalt now offers dining inside and out!
Start your brunch with chef Shane Graybeal’s oversized cinnamon roll and coffee service or perhaps the spicy cast iron cornbread, then move on to more of the savory side with a chicken biscuit, melt-in-your-mouth bacon and grits or fanciful French Toast.
On the weekends you’d most definitely want to celebrate brunch with all day $1 Oyster Happy Hour ( RockSalt’s Oyster Happy Hour on Friday is from 3-7pm). For Brunch, I also recommend you add the Smoke Trout BLT to your oysters order. I tasted it for the first time in doing my research for this post, but I can promise it won’t be my last order. The sandwich is huge the smoked trout is on point and the tartar sauce is out of this world!!
Sunday Brunch at 300 East
The team at 300 East, located in an historic home in Dilworth at – you guessed it -300 East Blvd., 704.332.6507 in the Street Car Station Shops shopping area. 300 East has been serving the Charlotte community for 25 years and the restaurant’s game just keeps getting stronger and stronger. There is plenty of parking in and around the restaurant, but due to the size of the dining rooms in the house, 300 East can only take brunch reservations for groups of eight or smaller, and will wait to seat you until your whole party has arrived. In suitable weather, the patio is also open for those who would liket o brunch al fresco!
The culinary team headed by chef Kris Schmidt and pastry chef Ashely Bivens Boyd recreates themselves on a weekly basis. Brunch is available on Sunday mornings from 10 am – 3 pm and includes an outstanding bruleed oatmeal, a chefs choice frittata and my favorite a top-your-own grits bowl.
If you are looking for something on the sweeter side, go with the stuffed French Toast – the stuffing changes each weekend but the plate, shown here with side of bacon and bananas, is always a winner!!
Weekend Brunch at Bistro La Bon
Bistro La Bon is located in the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood at 1322 Central Avenue in a strip mall next to Yama Izakaya and across Central Ave from Midwood Smokehouse. The area is booming and Bistro La Bon continues to please the neighborhood with dinner and and incredible weekend brunch. Brunch each weekend day is served from 10:30 am-2:30pm
On Saturdays the brunch is ala carte, so you order all of your favorites from the menu; but on Sundays the dining room is transformed into a help-yourself- brunch buffet of ever changing salads and savory items. There is also a side line of fresh baked breads and pastries. From your table you can order smaller tapas style plates of eggs cooked any way you’d like, a melt-in-your-mouth cocoa waffle, yes I believe I will have another, and delicious french toast made from Bistro La Bon’s fresh baked brioche.
Two favorites on mine on the Bistro La Bon Sunday buffet and the roasted cauliflower , the smoked salmon service and the restaurants signature Swedish Meatballs. You will love eating your way through each and every bite!
Enjoy, enjoy and get excited you can start making plans to put your brunching resolution into action as soon as this weekend and get a jump on the New Year! Then stay tuned for more brunch specific restaurant round up posts in the weeks and months ahead. Let me know your favorite spots and I will check them out as well. Always delighted to help spread the word about great places to go out to eat. #TellThemHeidiSentYou
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Today the HeidiBillottoFood sponsor spotlight shines on my friends at Drake’s Pasta in High Point, NC. If you’ve read much of my work, you know I love local and Drake’s is a wonderful a GotToBeNC product sold primarily to the industry, but their fabulous fresh made pasta is available in the retail market as well, under the name of Parla Pasta! Parla Pasta is a brand I use in my own home, a brand I believe in and I am, as always, delighted to share their story! Read more about Parla Pasta here.
Parla Pasta is available in the freezer cases at Ingles Supermarkets, Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods, Shaw’s, The Fresh Market, and at Publix stores. Visit the Parla Pasta website for a coupon for your next purchase.
If you decide to brunch at home one weekend or any day of the week, why not include a Parla Pasta tortellini pasta salad to your buffet of offerings or with colder weather on the horizon, perhaps a pasta soup is more what the doctor ordered. Here is my version of the classic Pasta e Fagioli made simple with a box of Parla Pasta asiago cheese tortellini – enjoy!
Heidi Billotto’s Parla Pasta e Fagioli
1 can organic cannellini beans
1 Tbsp. Olive Crate Kores Estate extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, chopped
1 tsp. fresh minced rosemary
1 tsp. fresh minced thyme leaves
1 (28-ounce) can organic fire roasted tomatoes and liquid
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. tomato powder from the Savory Spice Shop ( or you may sub in a Tablespoon of organic tomato paste)
dried red pepper flakes to taste
1 or 2 ( 2-3 inch) rinds of real Parmesan cheese
1 bay leaf
1 box Parla Pasta tortellini, cooking according to package directions
chopped fresh parsley to garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven and add chopped leek. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary and thyme and stir together until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, drained beans, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is very fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add beans, tomato paste, hot pepper, Parmesan rinds, and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Season with a pinch of sugar if you would like.
10 to 15 minutes before serving, stir in the cooked Parla Pasta. When it is heated through, serve in shallow bowls garnished with chopped parsley and Parmesan.
For more Parla Pasta recipes, visit the Parla Website and Enjoy #TellThemHeidiSentYou