Brunch isn’t just a pastime in New Orleans. It’s more of a religion. Back in April, my friend Morgan advised us on how to brunch like a boss in Nola. While I stand by her recommendations wholeheartedly (the Satsuma green breakfast sandwich is on point), I have a few brunch favorites of my own. So, when you finally drag yourself out of bed from a night that probably started at Free Fridays and ended who knows where, here are three top notch brunch spots to get the caffeine and carbohydrates that Saturday morning calls for. (Disclaimer: I am terribly indecisive when it comes to ordering sweet or savory. I usually spend about 15 minutes pro/conning between the two and end up forcing a friend to get whichever I decide against so that I can try both. For those of you who have a strict allegiance, I will be sure to cover both.
1. Refuel Cafe
This lesser known brunch spot is usually overlooked by the hordes of people making their way down to Refuel’s more well-known neighbor Camellia Grill (totally overrated in my opinion). Frankly, I like it that way. Refuel is a quieter Uptown brunch spot with a good mix of families, students, and everyone in between. The space is decorated with cool local art and the menu offers options everywhere on the spectrum from healthy to artery-clogging. If you retain one word of this article, it better be GRITS.
Refuel’s grits are LIFE-CHANGING. I mean it. They are so rich, creamy, and thick. Even the grit-averse non-believers will be converted. You have failed if you don’t get the grits. Sweet: Refuel has the best waffles. With toppings like fresh berries, whipped cream, banana and Nutella, there’s lots of room for creativity. If you’re lucky, you can catch the weekend specials like the Lemon Curd Waffles or the Cinnamon Rolls.
They also always have homemade muffins/scone/baked goods if you need a side with your side of grits. Savory: Standouts include the Runners Bagel (spinach, egg whites and cheese on a bagel), the roasted tomato, basil, and feta omelet, and the epic breakfast burrito. If you’re one of those mutants who actually wants lunch food at brunch…don’t worry, they have sandwiches and salads too.
2. Slim Goodies.
This quirky diner is a New Orleans institution. From the funky art hanging side by side with polaroid pictures of happy customers on the wall to fun flying egg logo adorning the wait staff’s t-shirts, this place has a lot of charm. Just reading the menu and all the clever dish names and descriptions is enough to keep you busy while you wait (because you probably will on a weekend). Beware: It is cash only. But it’s worth the hassle.
Sweet: I’m at a loss for picking a favorite here. But there are two standouts that tie for the gold medal. First, the sweet potato pancakes. Sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet. They are cinnamon-y and delicious. They taste like Thanksgiving and the stack of three is sure to give you a solid start to your Saturday. These bad boys tie with my other favorite, the chocolate chip banana pancake. Instead of a stack, this one comes out as one massive, personal pizza sized, warm, fluffy masterpiece. Getting sugar shock just thinking about it? I promise they have savory stuff too. Savory: While I’m usually too distracted by the pancakes to get through the rest of the menu, Slim’s offers some awesome and creative savory dishes. Fan favorites include the Jewish Coonas-potato latkes topped with spinach, eggs, and crawfish étouffée, The Guatemalan Breakfast-a dish with eggs, avocado, and plantain, and the Orleans Slammer- touted on the menu as a “Hangover chaser extraordinary”, this “hurricane” of hash browns, chili, bacon, eggs, and melted cheddar (served with a biscuit, naturally), should knock you out for the rest of the day.
3. Humble bagel
This new spot opened up just this spring on Freret. I swear, every time I walk down that street there is a new (and awesome restaurant).You won’t be able to miss them now that they painted their building with this awesome orange mural.
When you try your first bagel, you will notice two things instantly. One- that it is massive. The bagels here about 1.5x the size of a normal bagel. Not that I’m complaining. 2. The bagels don’t really have holes in them. Maybe that’s what makes them so soft and chewy and delicious. Humble Bagel offers the standard egg sandwiches and cream cheese flavors you would expect. They also have some cool standout toppings like grilled tomatoes. As for sweet and savory, that’s totally your call- cinnamon sugar, everything, honey whole wheat, salt…the usual suspects. BUT Humble Bagel is only open Thursday-Sunday, 7am-11am right now, so you have to make a concerted effort to grab one. Hopefully they will expand their hours in the future. Until then, they are definitely worth setting an alarm for.
Also, we heard a rumor at Red Beans and Life that Salu is starting a brunch (and it’s bottomless) but we can’t find a menu anywhere online. Does anyone have any intel? Let us know in the comments section below!