Now that summer weekends are in full swing, there’s little that feels better than a lazy weekend brunch with the family. That feeling permeates every moment within the Brunch Cafe. The room is sunny and light in bright colors.
Framed photography of brunch staples cover the walls: a coffee cup triptych, black and white still life of eggs. Wire sconces hang along one wall, filled with plastic eggs. From the name to the décor to the smell of fresh coffee and powdered sugar, they make it clear what they’re about. This place is a theme park for polite society’s most important meal of the day.
The Signature Brunch French Toast arrived as our first taste of the menu.
Thick slices of French bread are soaked in vanilla bean custard and baked, then drizzled with strawberry syrup, topped with sliced strawberries and kiwi, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Like starting the day with a fruit-oriented bread pudding, this French toast is a whirl of cinnamon, custard, and vanilla tones. One course in and we were almost full already.
Whereas potato pancakes are relegated to the sides portion of menus elsewhere, Brunch Cafe has taken the sandwich approach, stuffed them with delicious ingredients, and given them the main stage, listed under Brunch Favorites.
The Stuffed Potato Pancakes take scrambled eggs, crumbles of fried bacon, and melted cheddar cheese pressed between two savory potato pancakes, nicely seasoned and fried. The entire concoction is topped with more melted cheddar, sliced green onions, and a smattering of chopped tomato. A side of sour cream adds the perfect creamy counterpoint. Where the Signature Brunch French Toast is sweet and airy on the fork, this is the polar opposite, dense and zesty.
Next we tried a dish that plays both ends of the spectrum on one plate. The California crepe combines scrambled eggs, avocado, spinach, bacon, and jack and cheddar cheeses and moderates the savoriness of those elements with the gentle sweetness of a crepe wrapped around them. A subtle hollandaise gives the proceedings a little benedict bite, and the entire thing comes together in a surprisingly light finish with a lilting push and pull between salty and sweet.
It’s just the thing if you don’t want to be tempted to nap right after brunch. The Blueberry Bliss Cakes rely as much on the tang of fresh blueberries and blueberry syrup as they do on a layer of rich cream cheese filling between the pancakes and a drizzle of vanilla glaze on top. It marries the comfort food aspects of fluffy diner pancakes with the dessert-like sweetness of frosted strudel.
All of that is from the breakfast side of their menu. We didn’t even touch upon the benedicts, skillets, omelets, or scrambles. But we couldn’t finish without seeing what they do with lunch.
Enter the Apple Gouda Melt from the Gourmet Sandwiches section of their menu.
Thick sliced ham off the bone is topped with melted Gouda cheese and cranberry mayonnaise in between thick slices of grilled apple bread French toast. It’s the same apple bread from the French Toast Frenzy section of the breakfast menu, infused with the cinnamon tone of applesauce and chunks of bake-softened apples. It’s the most decadent Monte Cristo ever devised, and it’s absolutely scrumptious. A tangle of sweet potato fries provides a lovely light accent to the intensity of the sandwich.
Even if you happen to visit Brunch Café on an overcast day, that’s fine, the wait staff brings plenty of sunniness to each table.
With a very affordable price point; speedy, attentive service; and many unique takes on the wide breadth of menu options afforded the brunch moniker, this is definitely the place to start your summer weekend mornings.
Brunch Cafe is located at 935 IL-22 in Fox River Grove, 847-516-0409, brunchcafe.com