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Muffins & Mimosas: 5 Places to Brunch in East Texas

The Grove

Brisket Tacos served on corn tortillas with guacamole, salsa, cheese, poblanos, onions and the Banana Foster French Toast served with caramelized bananas and berries at The Grove, on Sunday April 4, 2021, in Tyler. (Michael Cavazos/ News-Journal Photo)

A classic weekend pastime, there’s almost nothing better than rolling out of bed late on a Sunday morning, getting dressed and meeting up with friends at a nice brunch spot for a meal and a mimosa.

But brunch is about more than a meal. It’s a feeling.

The playful combination of breakfast and lunch, brunch is about coming together with friends in a nice environment for a meal. That combination of ingredients leaves people feeling happy and excited for their day.

While brunch is trendy today, it’s actually been on-trend for more than 125 years. Guy Beringer coined the term brunch in 1895 when he wrote an essay, called “Brunch: A Plea,” which appeared in a publication called “Hunter’s Weekly.” Beringer wrote the essay in defense of those nursing their weekend hangovers, calling for a midmorning meal that would help people shake off their headaches and calm their stomachs.

In his essay, Beringer wrote, “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.”

That continues to hold true today.

One of the reasons people love brunch so much is because it’s a time to come together for an all-accepting meal. Because brunch doesn’t care what you look like. You can get dressed up in the nicest clothes or you can throw on your comfiest sweats and put your hair in a ponytail and go.

Brunch gives you the best of both worlds. You can have a lunch entrée early or you can enjoy breakfast past noon. From French toast and bananas foster to sandwiches and the classic eggs benedict, brunch food is the perfect combination of savory and sweet. At brunch, happy hour comes early in the form of the Bloody Mary, mimosa or other enjoyable cocktails.

And one of the many reasons people love brunch boils down to one, simple word: Bacon.

While brunch continues to be a growing trend in East Texas, there are many places you can meet up with your friends for an enjoyable midmorning meal and a friendly conversation.

In no particular order, here are 5 Places to Brunch in East Texas:

The Grove

One of East Texas’ trendiest, longest-serving brunch locations is also one of the best around and for good reason. Located in the heart of Tyler, The Grove Kitchen & Gardens puts an emphasis on serving farm to table, chef-crafted foods in a chic, modern environment that makes the ideal setting for conversation.

With a focus on family and food, The Grove creates a warm atmosphere where families and friends can create memories over a meal.

With indoor and outdoor seating, private rooms, a stage for live music, string lights, and sprawling, relaxed environment, The Grove invites patrons to dress up or dress comfortably for a relaxed yet upscale meal.

The Grove offers a vast brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. Starters include everything from maple-candied smoked bacon to avocado toast made with Sola Bread’s pan au levain. The menu in the scratch kitchen includes a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees.

“We have a little bit of everything for everyone,” Chef Arturo Lara said. “It’s diverse, very different, unique and fresh.”

At The Grove, Lara said he uses locally sourced ingredients to help deliver quality food.

While there are many classic brunch entrees on The Grove’s menu, including a variety of benedicts, Lara said people enjoy the mixture of savory and sweet offerings.

The savory brisket tacos, for example, are served with fresh guacamole, queso fresco, salsa verde, onions and poblano peppers with a side of breakfast potatoes. The sweet but not overly sweet bananas foster French toast features caramelized bananas and a selection of fresh, wild berries, served with brioche from Sola Bread.

Brunch at The Grove is extremely popular and reservations are recommended. The Grove is located at 3500 Old Jacksonville Highway in Tyler.

Scotties Bistro

With an eclectic menu of scratch made food, Scotties Bistro has quickly become one of the most popular brunch spots in Longview.

The reason is simple. Chef Ronnie Esposito is offering East Texans a fresh menu that is unique.

“It’s versatile. There is something on there for everyone,” Esposito said. “There are definitely lunch items on the menu and breakfast obviously is taken care of. It caters to what everyone wants for breakfast. It’s eclectic.”

From Texas inspired chicken and waffles to the Punjabi benedict’s Middle Eastern flare, the menu at Scotties Bistro offers a multi-ethnic cuisine.

Located inside Scotties 2.0, a gas station and convenience store, Longview residents flock to this modern, trendy brunch location for its fresh food. Brunch is so popular that diners who arrive at peak times may experience slight waits, but the food is worth that wait.

Scotties most popular item is The Hangover, a Nashville hot chicken sandwich with marinated pickles, Cajun aioli and topped with pepper Jack cheese, bacon and a fried egg. Other popular items include the Punjabi benedict, fried chicken topped with butter chicken hollandaise served with home fries, and the Curried avocado toast, which features a curried spiced mashed avocado on sourdough bread topped with a fried egg.

In addition to the menu staples, Scotties Bistro features a rotating selection of weekly specials that offers diners something new each week.

Scotties, which serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, is located at 1188 E. Hawkins Parkway in Longview.

1836 Texas Kitchen

Texas inspired entrees are at the heart of 1836 Texas Kitchen in Tyler.

Mundo and Carlos Villapudua opened 1836 Texas Kitchen in 2017. The brothers also have owned Villa Montez in Tyler since 2007. As Tyler continued to expand and grow to the south, the Villapudua brothers looked to open more restaurants in Tyler and turned their dreams into reality with 1836 Texas Kitchen.

With indoor seating as well as an outdoor, covered patio, 1836 Texas Kitchen offers a relaxed, yet upscale dining option in which families and friends come together to celebrate with a meal.

The menu features Texas inspired entrees and dishes from various regions of the state. Dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients with food being prepared fresh each day.

From chicken fried steak to authentic enchiladas, the 1836 menu offers a variety of dishes to please any palate. The restaurant’s brunch menu is no different.

Consider the El Paso omelet, which features green chile pork and melted cheese, served with country potatoes and rice or the avocado bacon toast, which features toasted bread topped with fresh avocado, bacon, pickled red onion and fresh greens.

1836 Texas Kitchen, which is located at 2467 Crow Road in Tyler, serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Judd’s Downtown

One of Longview’s newest additions, Judd’s Downtown serves a brunch menu that offers an East Texas twist on many classic dishes.

Owner Judd Byrnes said the inspiration for his downtown Longview restaurant was to serve top quality food in an environment where people felt comfortable wearing a suit and tie or a baseball cap and shorts.

“We just wanted something that brought more people to downtown Longview,” Byrnes said. “We opened on New Year’s Eve and we’ve been going strong since then. It’s been fantastic. The city of Longview has blessed us.”

At Judd’s, longtime professional Chef Ronald Porter serves a vast menu of items that are made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients. The brunch menu specifically offers items that Porter personally enjoys and which offer a slight twist on classic entrees.

For example, Judd’s Texas benedict is made with Cuban pulled pork, chipotle hollandaise, a fried egg, served on a grilled and buttered English muffin with a side of country potatoes. Porter said the inspiration to use pulled pork instead of the traditional Canadian bacon as well as the decision to infuse chipotle into the traditional hollandaise sauce came from a desire to put an East Texas twist on the item.

For a sweeter entrée, Judd’s French toast is made with brioche loaf dipped in a velvety vanilla custard, grilled to a golden brown, and topped with fresh fruit and powdered sugar.

“We do everything from scratch,” Porter said. “We want everything to be upscale and sophisticated, but we also want you to feel like you could be at home in your pajamas and your slippers eating breakfast.”

Judd’s, which serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, is located at 117 E. Tyler St. in Longview.

Central Perks