Brunch Part I

Delightful And Delicious, Boozy and Boujie, Classic And Comforting—These Local Brunches Make It A Whole Lot Easier To Rise And Shine

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Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar

Oceans & Ale Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar Brunch
Oceans & Ale
Photo by Jim Pile

Oceans & Ale

There are as many different recipes for the “perfect” Bloody Mary as there are tomatoes on the Eastern Shore in August. So, Oceans & Ale has come up with a fantastic way to let you develop your own personal recipe. Their Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar provides you with a glass filled with ice and a generous splash of vodka to get started. Choose from regular tomato juice or a pre-spiced Zing Zang mix, then go to town on extras like peppers, pickles, celery, bacon, cheese, pepperoni, hot sauce, Sriracha sauce and more. At $3 each, you can test out a few different combinations to find your Nirvana. Sunday Funday from 11:30 a.m.­–3 p.m. 5601 Richmond Rd., Williamsburg. 757-253-2253. —BB


219 Bistro

You’re brought an Old Bay-rimmed, vodka-cradling glass, now sidle to a patch of bar set with tomato juice, Clamato, Zing Zang and, fieriest-of-them-all, chef’s “Spicy Blend.” Hotshot? Doctor with horseradish. Then engage a gaggle of garnishes including asparagus spears, sliced cucumbers, leafy celery stalks, lemons, limes, pepperoncini, olives, grape tomatoes, pickles and bacon strips. Perch on a nearby stool to observe bloody virtuosos for inspiration (and be closer for round two). Sundays 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (Saturdays 10 a.m.–3 p.m. but without BYO bloody bar). 219 Granby St., Norfolk. 757-416-6219. —MM


Twisted Pig

At most Bloody Mary bars, would-be mixologists just belly up and have at it. But at this neighborhood smoke and ale house where a pool table supports 35 items like cubed cheese, baby corn, deviled eggs, pepperoni and bacon rashers, DIY-ers should be one part bartender, two parts architect. Or milliner. Skewers chockablock with stuffed olives and mushrooms jutting from top-shelf vodkas conjure up new wave Carmen Mirandas. There’s a mimosa bar, too, and local craft beers on tap. Sundays 11 a.m.–3 p.m. 722 Mount Vernon Ave., Portsmouth. 757-399-7557. —MM


Upscale Options

Le Yaca Upscale Options Brunch
Le Yaca
Photo by Anne Leonard

Le Yaca

Step up your Sunday brunch game, and perhaps your ensemble, with a visit to French restaurant Le Yaca. Every Sunday, indulge in their four-course brunch menu complete with French delicacies, like Soupe à l’Oignon, that almost transport you to the cafe tables in Paris. Brunch begins with an endlessly flaky chocolate croissant and your choice of beverage, be it a mimosa, Bloody Mary, or Kir Royale, a classic French apéritif. From there, choose your second course of either a soup or house salad. Third course features everything from succulent Scottish salmon to beef tenderloin deglazed with Cognac. Fourth course brings you back to where you started—on a sweet note. Sundays 11 a.m.–3 p.m. 1430 High St., Williamsburg. 757-220-3616. 741 First Colonial Rd., Virginia Beach. —AL


Blue Talon Bistro

You would be very pleased at Blue Talon just pairing engaging conversation with their Basket of Pastry, fresh-baked croissants with apricot preserves or Country Style Pâté, but we recommend elevating your French bistro-style brunch by indulging in Escargots Bourguignon, Meatloaf Meurette or Blackened Fish Reuben. If the dishes sound a bit fancy (and equally decadent), they are. However, the atmosphere is upscale yet approachable and the perfect way to add some elegance to your weekend eats. Bon appétit. Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m.–3 p.m. 420 Prince George St., Williamsburg. 757-476-2583. —MMS


Catch 31

At Catch 31, the brunch menu changes daily, but the options are always extravagant, fresh and seafood-focused. Start raw, whether you’re indulging in oysters on the half shell or an iced shellfish tower (lobster, shrimp, blue crab, mussels, oysters and clams—need we say more?). From there, let your palate lead the way through savory (sandwiches and benedicts), sweet (French toast and waffles) or boozy (build-your-own Bloody Mary and Fresh mimosa bar)—all enjoyed in the opulent atmosphere accented by cobalt blue. Sundays 11 a.m.–4 p.m. 3001 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach. 757-213-3472. —AB


Fantastic French Toast


Mango Mangeaux

Mangoes accent much—cocktails, vinaigrette, ginger shrimp, even power smoothies at Tuesday morning rooftop yoga—beyond the “Mango Mango” preserves that launched this sophisticated bistro on a picturesque block of Phoebus. We’re especially sweet on the French toast—served with a dip blending cream cheese and that luscious amalgam of mangoes, sugar, lime juice and vanilla extract seen on “Shark Tank,” QVC and at Whole Foods (including internationally). Crave more? The owners’ Simply Panache spa nearby offers mangolicious manicures. Breakfast Tuesdays–Sundays 9–11 a.m. 33 E. Mellen St., Hampton. 757-224-9189. —MM


Pasha Mezze

French toast gets a Turkish twist thanks to artisan bread soaked in a simple syrup of spices that evoke an Istanbul bazaar, brightened with lemon, before being fried until golden and topped with walnuts, sour cherry jam, powdered sugar, whipped cream and cinnamon. Crispy outside, as cushy inside as the pillows you might be seated upon, the slices can also sandwich a halal Monte Cristo with turkey bacon at this stunning cosmopolitan casbah whose array of Mediterranean dishes are healthy and transporting. Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 340 W. 22nd St., Norfolk. 757-627-1318. —MM


The Plaid Turnip Brunch Fantastic French Toast
The Plaid Turnip
Photo by Jim Pile

The Plaid Turnip

All French toasts start looking the same—that is, until someone comes up with the bright idea to make it out of angel food cake. At the Plaid Turnip, they experiment with such a heavenly offering—as well as a Hawaiian bread French toast—each served with a breakfast side. For just $3 extra, you can get it stuffed with banana Nutella or fruit with cream cheese (you know you want to). Sunday brunch starts at noon. 115 North Main St., Suffolk. 757-923-9740. —AB


Brunch + Entertainment


Beats, Beer and Brunch at Esoteric

When the DJ spins old favorites like Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean” upon arrival, you know you’ve entered a whole new level of brunch. No two brunches are alike at Esoteric’s almost-monthly editions of Beats, Beer and Brunch, featuring a tap takeover stocked with stellar, hard-to-find beers with their own curated menu or an exclusive menu collaboration with a local chef. Whether that be with LeGrand Kitchen and Shiptown’s Stephen Marsh or The Stockpot’s Anne Galante, the folks at Esoteric know how to create a vibin’ brunch experience that’s hipster-approved. Visit the Events tab on for details on the next brunch installment. 501 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach. 757-822-6008. —AL


Croc's 19th Street Bistro Drag Me To Brunch Brunch + Entertainment
Photo by David Uhrin

Drag Yourself to Brunch at Croc’s 19th Street Bistro

Drinks and drag queens add pizzazz to an anything but typical breakfast experience at Croc’s Drag Yourself to Brunch. Each Sunday, Victoria L. Foster and her team of queens perform high energy song and dance acts to an audience of giddy brunch-goers. It’s a bawdy good time complemented by creative cocktails and cuisine. Go light with The Skinny Bitch yogurt parfait, or indulge in the Sassy Shrimp-N-Grits. Just don’t forget those dollar bills. Reservations required. Sundays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 620 19th St., Virginia Beach. 757-428-5444. —AB


Champagne Jazz Brunch Cruise On The Spirit of Norfolk

Complete with live music from a three-piece band, it’s “anchors a’sway” on the Spirit of Norfolk when their weekly Sunday brunch turns into a two-hour jazz party once a quarter. Your first glass is on the house, er boat, at the champagne buffet as you glide along the Elizabeth River, drinking in views of the Atlantic Fleet, Old Fort Norfolk and city skylines. Giant Jenga and classic shuffleboard to rhythms and riffs enhance the water’s romance. Board at 12:30 p.m. at Otter Berth near Town Point Park, Norfolk. 866-451-3866. —MM


Check out Part II and Part III for more brunch.

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