Typically, most of us looking for great brunch recommendations will simply ask a friend or coworker -- but have you ever thought of asking your friendly local chef? We did, querying Dallas’ best chefs to find out where they like to hunker down for weekend breakfast. Every well-known brunch gem is represented among these 16 restaurants, as are a couple of spots you may not have thought of to kick off your weekend dining.
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His pick:Blue Mesa Grill (address and info) Multiple locations The Downtown meat master enjoys digging into this popular Southwestern chainlet’s gigantic buffet. “There is something about eggs, chilies, and tortillas that wakes up the senses,” Street says. The menu reminds him of his years in Acapulco, particularly the chilaquiles, but his absolute favorite item on the buffet is the chicken-cheese-and-pepper-tastic Adobe Pie. This spot is super packed for brunch, so arrive early or late to try to avoid the throngs.
His pick:Stock & Barrel (address and info) Oak Cliff The chef-owner of West Village’s Southeast Asian eatery and his co-owner wife Yasmin go for American fare come brunch time, at Oak Cliff’s Stock & Barrel. He says, “[Chef] Jon Stevens is a great chef who really knows the meaning of comfort food.” Wages says his go-to is the meatloaf burger, “the perfect mix of rejuvenating soul food and brunch gluttony.” Other popular entrees include fried spicy spaghetti and cheddar grits topped with eggs.
His pick: Kirin Court (address and info) Richardson Much like every other chef on this list, Blankenship reports rarely having time to take in brunch, but when he does, he heads to Kirin Court for the Richardson restaurant’s famed dim sum. Some of his favorite bites to pick from among the roving carts are shrimp dumplings and BBQ pork buns, though he says he never fails to find something new to fawn over every visit.
Her pick: The Grape (address and info) Lower Greenville Yes, the Lower Greenville chef selected her former workplace, but The Grape certainly deserves the props. Just try to get in sans reservations on a Sunday to see how rabidly popular the bistro is. McPherson loves the brunch vibe there, but also “everything on the menu is decidedly craveable. The chicken biscuit goes hard: fried chicken, cheddar cheese, and honey butter on a couple jalapeño-cheese biscuits... delicious.” Another must-order entrée is the bacon cheeseburger, only available at brunch and crowned the best in the state.
His pick: BrainDead Brewing (address and info) Deep Ellum The new Deep Ellum brewery launched brunch over in late summer, right in Philips’ neighborhood, which was all kinds of convenient for him. “I've been there a few times before for their beer and really good apps but never for brunch,” the modern American cuisine master notes. The brewpub’s biscuits and gravy, accompanied by a bacon flight (!) fit the bill for him, and sent him home happy: “I had the most amazing nap after!” Philips says.
His pick: Meso Maya (address and info) Arts District, Preston Hollow “Who doesn't like food from South of the border after a good Saturday night?” the Iron Chef alum asks. Rathbun says he lands at the regional Mexican chainlet Meso Maya for brunch fairly frequently. “I love their handmade tortillas, their top-shelf margarita... and then their Pollo Budin Azteca, which is white corn tortillas layered with melted Chihuahua cheese, Monterrey Jack, queso asadero, sauteed white chicken, black beans, arugula, queso fresco, and roasted creamy tomatillo sauce.” Going in for seconds on cocktails here? Definitely order up an avocado margarita, one of the best iterations of the drink you can find.
His pick: Brewed (address and info) Fort Worth Fort Worth chef Paslay keeps things local when it’s time for brunch, becoming a recent fan of “hip and trendy” café Brewed. “It’s great for a late Sunday morning brunch. They have an extensive selection of anything brewed: coffees, teas, and beer, and they use locally sourced Avoca coffee, which is what we serve at Clay Pigeon Food and Drink.” On a recent meal there, he dug into some drip coffee, the fried egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich on sourdough, and a serving of duck-fat fries, which he calls “the perfect hangover cure.” The chicken and waffles here are also mighty popular.
His pick: Lucky’s Café (address and info) Oak Lawn Since becoming and empty-nester and moving with his wife from North Dallas to Oak Lawn, the gastropub chef’s favorite brunch spot has become old-school diner Lucky’s Café. “The staff is friendly and fun, the chef is using local Texas ingredients, and they have a killer, perfectly caramelized brioche French toast that they serve with Maker's Mark maple syrup.” Classic omelets of all varieties are a hit here, too. And Graff shares a little pro tip: “Get there before 10am, and you won't have to wait too long for a table.”
Her pick: La Duni (address and info) Multiple locations The owner and recipe crafter for the healthy fast-food joint loves the comforting Latin American eats at La Duni once the weekend hits, and she can’t get enough of one particular order. “My friend Amy and I meet about every other Saturday... and we order the exact same thing for brunch: huevos rancheros with both red and green sauces, the steak medallion cooked medium-rare, and Duni’s amazing Bloody Mary.” La Duni is also noted for its fabulous coffee, extensive pastry selection, and eggy plates like migas and brunch chiles rellenos.
His pick: Bolsa (address and info) Oak Cliff We couldn’t express Bolsa’s rise to the upper echelon of the brunch heap better than Chef AVC, soooo: “It was the bomb, like, eight years ago, kinda fell off as being the bomb, but this year, they’ve really stepped it back up. The new chef is super legit.” Indeed, Chef Joel Harrington has brought a new zeal to the farm-to-table menu, with brunch highlights including a bacon-and-egg-topped burger, biscuits and chorizo gravy, an iron skillet quiche, and BBQ-roasted pork belly.
Their pick:Smoke (address and info) Oak Cliff, Plano As a couple, parents of a small child, and the chefs generally in the kitchen for brunch, Kelley and Bishop don’t hit the brunch scene very often. When they do, chances are you’ll find them at the modern smokehouse aptly named Smoke. “We love the inventive dishes and great drinks at Smoke. Add a mimosa or a glass of wine and it’s the perfect way to brunch,” the two agree. Among the blockbuster dishes at this super-popular weekend spot are the Heavy Handed blueberry and ricotta cheese pancakes and the coffee-cured brisket.
His pick:The Fatted Calf (address and info) Rockwall This enterprising chef goes for a bit of a drive come brunch time, noting “Chef Ted [Grieb] has got everything I want in a brunch menu: great sweets, high-quality local eggs and beef (the steak and eggs hits the spot), a nice variety of lunch items.” His favorite plate on the lunch menu? The chicken-fried steak with poblano gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn. Luscher also lauds the eatery’s “great, friendly, welcoming service staff, completely reasonable pricing, and full bar.”
His pick:Crossroads Diner (address and info) North Dallas The steakhouse maestro uses plenty of superlatives to describe his feelings for this old-fashioned diner, highlighting “the best pancakes and homemade breakfast sausage in town. I love the daily specials.” Thanks to its comfy-cozy setting and a welcoming staff and vibe, Holben extols Crossroads as “the place you want to take your family and friends. My first choice by far.” Another warm and fluffy menu classic are the sticky buns for which the restaurant has won rave reviews.
Her pick:The Local Oak (address and info) Oak Cliff “I love Local Oak!” says the self-proclaimed Naughty Chef. And now that she’s set roots in her own new Southern-flavored spot down the street, brunch-time visits should be a breeze. “I am obsessed with their Frito pie and their Wild Orchard cocktail. They are great neighbors and super fun,” she says, adding, “by the way, they call it ‘Blunch.’ They are funny, too.”
Her pick: Boulevardier (address and info) Bishop Arts District The kitchen leader and Hell’s Kitchen alum has gotten her share of heat, both at the local gastropub and on TV, so when she’s out of her chef whites, she loves to brunch at Oak Cliff’s French-inspired Boulevardier, “not only for its amazing food, but the cocktails and staff are on point!” she raves. As for her go-to dish, she has a specific pairing: “My favorite dish is hash Boulevardier. The oyster mushrooms, the sage maple sausage, and black pepper hollandaise are just amazing together. My favorite drink at brunch is their Raised and Infused; I’m a gin fan, and it’s very balanced and refreshing.”
His pick:The Standard Pour (address and info) Uptown Who among us doesn’t love a brunch that’s equally tasty and boozy? Tarasevich is no exception and loves the eats and sips at this McKinney Ave hotspot equally. His ideal plate is the breakfast sandwich: “This sandwich has Nueske’s bacon, smoked ham, scrambled egg, avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese, all on a croissant and, let me tell you, it’s fantastic!” The chef also digs TSP’s neighborly vibe and notes "their $5 cocktails deliver exactly what I'm looking for.” Other brunch menu delights include the chicken biscuit, fried quail and waffles, and warm donuts.
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Farah Fleurima is a Dallas-based word wrangler who loves her gin and tonics as crisp as her bacon. As a professional food stalker and beer/cocktail/straight-liquor tippler, she loves to write not just about her culinary conquests, but also her frequent travels. You can check out more of her musings at TheDallasDiva.com.