Food & Drink

The 12 Best Brunches in Memphis

Updated On 12/28/2016 at 11:07AM EST Updated On 12/28/2016 at 11:07AM EST

Brunch: It's between meals, anything goes, and best enjoyed on a patio with friends. It saves you from your hangover. It defines relationships (brunch together the morning after means you're basically engaged) and mends friendships (that tipsy spat doesn't matter once you're sharing hash browns). It's the meal that invented, then perfected the art of day drinking. It's made chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits, and Bloody Marys mainstream. Undoubtedly Memphis loves brunch, so here are the 12 places to get your morning swerve on in the Bluff City.

Bardog Tavern

Bardog Tavern

Downtown

Bardog Tavern offers a brunching man's brunch: hearty, simple, and heavy on the meat and carbs. Get a New York Strip and eggs, pancakes, fresh toast, or an avocado- and spicy mayo-laden lobster sandwich. Plus there are $4 Bloody Marys, mimosas, and "cheap screws" should you need some hair of the bardog.

Courtesy of Jason Prater

The Majestic Grille

Downtown

The Majestic Grille has the best of both brunch worlds, with equal style and substance. Enjoy live music on the mezzanine of the 1920s Art Deco theatre while sipping a carafe of mimosas and noshing on veggie frittatas. Or saddle up to bar to watch football and tear into a rib eye Steak & Eggs served with potatoes, biscuits, and a Bloody Mary.

Owen Brennan's

East Memphis

The NOLA-inspired eatery boasts a room-filling brunch buffet including tons of fresh crawfish, shrimp, oysters, gumbo, and jambalaya. A sous-chef skillfully flips omelettes made-to-order, and there's a Benedict station. The Bloody Marys are flowing and there's Bananas Foster and bread pudding for dessert (your pre-lunch dessert).

Local Gastropub

Local Gastropub/Local on the Square

Downtown/Midtown/Overton Square

Both Local locations offer weekend brunch with a mix of brunch-y and regular menu items. Satiate your hangover hunger with bleu cheese and bacon bar fries, then indulge in the Chicken and Biscuit or the French Toast Monte Cristo with blueberry compote. The Bloody Marys and Main Street mimosas (with vodka and champagne) are just $5, or you can spring for a mimosa tower for the table.

The Peabody Memphis

Peabody Hotel

Downtown

If the Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel, then the American Southern brunch begins at the buffet tables of the Peabody's Capriccio Grill. You have platters upon platters of Belgian waffles, eggs, smoked salmon, salads, pastas, steaks, and bacon, plus a impressive display of baked goods, desserts, and mimosas.

Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Co.

Midtown/Overton Square

Boscos is the classic old-school Memphis brunch. By 10:30am, the bar will fill with regulars and post-church families waiting for a table inside (where there's usually live music) or on the spacious patio. Boscos doesn't mess around with it comes to the menu; it has dozens of Benedicts, hashes, and waffle plates along with sumptuous shrimp & grits with Tasso (spiced pork) gravy and a daily bread pudding special.

Holly Whitfield/Thrillist

The Bayou Bar & Grill

Midtown/Overton Square

The Bayou is the place for laid-back Midtowners to stumble to on weekend mornings. It's a no-frills kind of place with $3 brunch drink specials and a sought-after patio. There's a Cajun spin on classic brunch dishes, like the Andouille sausage eggs Benedict served on biscuits instead of English muffins, or the Eggs Pontchantran with fried oysters and bacon.

Brother Juniper's

U of M District

Is it really brunch if there's no booze? Only if it's Brother Juniper's. The hour-plus weekend wait time and inclusion on every "must eat" Memphis roundup earns this quaint restaurant bragging rights. It's part family-run diner, part-cozy cafe, and the special roast coffee is not for java amateurs. Go straight for the open-face omelets like the San Diegan with portobellos, feta, and bacon or the Desperado with black beans, salsa, and avocado. 

Celtic Crossing Memphis

Celtic Crossing

Midtown/Cooper Young

Bangers and rashers meet French toast and cheesy eggs and at this neighborhood Irish pub on Sunday mornings. Sit inside with football fans (both American football and "soccer" football) for fish and chips and $4.50 Bloody Marys, or enjoy mellow live music and a mimosa carafe on the spacious, heated patio. 

Holly Whitfield/Thrillist

The Beauty Shop Restaurant

Midtown/Cooper Young

Brunch gets a makeover at this Cooper Young hotspot, which is completely packed on Sundays with Midtowners looking for an upgrade to everyday omelettes. Try the Beneduck -- spiced, sugared crispy duck with jalapeño jam -- or country ham with red-eye gravy, green apples, and bleu cheese over eggs and hash browns. Spirits-wise, the Bad Boy Bloody Mary and the Big Boy Mimosa have you covered.

Courtesy of Jason Prater

Automatic Slim's

Downtown

For a swanky, boozy downtown brunch, settle in at Automatic Slim's for its 100oz mimosa towers, plus entrées like Seared Scallops & Grits and Chorizo-Potato Hash. Choose from pancakes or waffles in flavors such as red velvet, Oreo, cinnamon roll, Manhattan (with bourbon syrup), mint-chocolate chip, and the Elvis (peanut-butter syrup and sliced bananas).

Cafe Eclectic

Cafe Eclectic

Vollintine-Evergreen/Harbor Town/U of M District 

Cafe Eclectic is the place to treat yo'self on weekend mornings if you're feeling a little wilted from the night before. There's an array of baked goods like fresh donuts, croissants, and enormous cinnamon rolls, plus egg-and-bacon based dishes and pancakes. All three locations are BYOB, or you can go for something on their extensive coffee drinks menu, like the Karamel Sutra or Crème Brûlatte.

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Holly Whitfield is a writer in Memphis.

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1. Bardog Tavern 73 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

Bardog Tavern offers a brunch to end all brunches, one that’s hearty, simple, and heavy on the meat and carbs. Get a New York Strip and eggs, pancakes, French toast, or an avocado- and spicy mayo-laden lobster sandwich. The gastropub is ornamented with industrial elements, like exposed brick, red leather banquette booths, and bicycles hanging from the ceiling (hinting that a meal this indulgent might necessitate a bit of exercise). Plus there are inexpensive Bloody Marys, mimosas, and "cheap screws," should you need some hair of the bardog.

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2. The Majestic Grille 145 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 (South Main)

Centrally located Downtown, the Majestic Grille embodies all the glamour of its silver screen heyday. The cavernous restaurant used to be a movie theater, and the space maintains its original Art Deco feel with staggeringly high ceilings, gold embellishments, and an actual movie screen onto which Hollywood classics are projected. The menu consists of market-driven sandwiches, salads, and flatbread pizzas, but be sure to try standouts like the roasted mahi mahi with grilled artichoke butter and the addicting Parmesan fries.

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3. Owen Brennan's 6150 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38119 (East Memphis)

The NOLA-inspired eatery boasts a brunch buffet that fills the entire room, featuring Gulf favorites like fresh crawfish, shrimp, oysters, gumbo, and jambalaya. With salad, seafood, bread, entrée, and cooked-to-order stations, you’ll be overwhelmed by sights and smells, so plan to spend a couple of hours taking it all in. At Owen Brennan’s, dessert is an all-meal-long affair. Try chocolate-covered strawberries, mini eclairs, brownies, cheesecake, chocolate mousse, lemon tarts, banana pudding cups, and cookies, and, while you’re indulging, you might as well get the Bloody Marys and Mint Juleps a-flowin’.

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4. Peabody Hotel 149 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

If the Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel, then the American Southern brunch begins at the buffet tables of the Peabody's Capriccio Grill. Platters upon platters of Belgian waffles, eggs, smoked salmon, salads, pastas, steaks, and bacon, plus an impressive display of baked goods, desserts, and mimosas, are arranged in geometric cubbies throughout the room, and if we were you, we’d load up on as many plates as possible so as to avoid gratuitous amounts of time on the buffet line.

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5. Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Co. 2120 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

It’s no secret that Memphis makes a mean brunch, but Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Co. stands out for its celebration of Southern regional cuisine with welcome menu surprises from around the country. Juxtaposed with shrimp and grits, Andouille and chicken hash, and Tasso (spiced pork) gravy are a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese and a Spanish shrimp and chorizo omelet with black beans, pico de gallo, and chipotle sour cream. Boscos’ beer is made in the onsite brewery, using filtered water, Washington hops, White Labs yeast, and a whole lot of tender loving care, making its varieties like cask-conditioned ales, Midtown Brown, and Isle of Skye Scottish Ale crisp and delicious.

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6. The Bayou Bar & Grill 2094 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

The Bayou Bar & Grill is the place for laid-back Midtowners to stumble to on weekend mornings. Here, traditional brunch dishes are inflected with Cajun flavors, like the Creole Benedict with two poached eggs on a buttermilk biscuit with Andouille sausages, crawfish, Creole hollandaise, and bacon cheddar grits and Eggs Pontchantran with fried oysters and bacon. The Bayou pours up a nationally acclaimed Bloody Mary, which, of course, you’ll want to down for some good ol’ fashioned hair of the dog relief, so come early (especially for a coveted spot on the patio) and come often.

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7. Brother Juniper's 3519 Walker Ave, Memphis, TN 38111 (University District)

Memphis breakfast mainstay Brother Juniper's is a family run diner and cafe since the 60s. Open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch only, Brother Juniper's turns out traditional diner breakfasts like homemade waffles, breakfast burritos, and from-scratch baked goods. If you manage to get a seat, go for the heart-stopping signature, the open-faced San Diegan omelet. It's served over a bed of home fries and sour cream and topped with portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, feta and cheddar cheeses, bacon, with a side of cheesy grits. That omelet is reason enough to hop skip to the University District and wait in line to experience the bustling greasy spoon for ourselves.

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8. Celtic Crossing 903 South Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104 (Cooper Young)

Bangers and rashers meet French toast and cheesy eggs and at this neighborhood Irish pub during weekend brunch. Stopping by weekdays after work? Opt for lunch and dinner options like stuffed sweet peppers with corned beef and Swiss cheese, homemade potato and leek soup, and beer-battered chicken & chips. Sit inside with fellow sports lovers and gather around the projector for daily sportscasts, or enjoy mellow live music and a mimosa carafe on the spacious, heated patio.

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9. The Beauty Shop Restaurant 966 Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104 (Cooper Young)

Brunch gets a makeover at this Cooper Young hotspot, which is completely packed on Sundays with Midtowners looking for an upgrade to everyday omelettes. Try the Beneduck -- spiced, sugared crispy duck with jalapeño jam -- or country ham with red-eye gravy, green apples, and bleu cheese over eggs and hash browns. Spirits-wise, the Bad Boy Bloody Mary and the Big Boy Mimosa have you covered.

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10. Automatic Slim's 83 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

If you find yourself Downtown seeking a brunch of pure decadence, settle in at Automatic Slim's for its 100oz mimosa towers, uber-rich pancake options, eggs Benedict selections, and Southern specialties. For the sweet-toothed among you, opt for an Oreo waffle topped with Oreo cream, a graham cracker waffle crowned with chocolate chip pancakes, marshmallow cream, and chocolate, or red velvet pancakes with a cream cheese glaze, while the savory-minded should taste Slim’s Chicken and Waffles on homemade waffle buns with raspberry butter and potato hash or the BBQ Brisket Benedict served on an open-faced biscuit. Having won several awards for creative mixology, Automatic Slim’s extensive martini menu is at your service to help get your weekend started.

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11. Local Gastropub 2126 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Overton Square)

This tavern commands a solid local beer selection, as well as a large area downstairs where communal tables bring large groups to socialize and partake on nightly specials on select bottles and drafts. Upstairs, comfortable couches, TVs streaming athletic events, and above-average bar appetizers like beer cheese fondue and goat cheese & crab enchiladas help retain the bar's local following.

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12. Cafe Eclectic 603 N. McLean Blvd., Memphis, TN 38107

The original location of the Memphis area brewhouse is a cozy neighborhood locale offering up unique, caffienated drinks -- often with Memphis-inspired names. The Star & Micey (named for a local indie band) features two shots of espresso, a mixture of white and dark chocolate syrups, and whipped cream. The massive coffee shop offers plenty of working space and a separate room for private meetings.

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