Growing up, Birmingham never struck me as a city having anything necessarily special when it came to food. I remember frequenting the local chain restaurants but not much else. Boy, has that changed. After moving back home from Nashville, I really began to see Birmingham as the little food city that could. We are privileged to share a city with names like Chris Hastings, Frank Stitt, and Dolester Miles — James Beard Award winners and incredibly well-respected chefs nationally.
There is an endless amount I could write on the topic of food in Birmingham, so today I am going to focus on one meal — a fun meal — a meal for the weekend, you might say. BRUNCH! We all know that food is the primary way we socialize, and who doesn’t love a meal that accommodates a slow morning? Brunch gives you the choice between sweet and savory, or if you’re extra — both! It felt impossible to narrow down the list of brunch spots in Birmingham that you should try, but today I am going to tell you about five favorites.
Five of Birmingham’s Best Brunch Spots
1. The Essential
It’s all in the name — The Essential. This is a no fuss, no frills, quaint little restaurant that I happen to love. Every single menu item is full of fresh ingredients that will leave you satisfied and planning your next visit at the same time. If you’re a fan of the savory, you can’t go wrong with the Essential Hash (potatoes, breakfast sausage, other yummies, and topped off with salsa verde — yum!). If you’re a fan of the sweet, get yourself a homemade Nutella pop-tart (yes, please)!
You’ll find this charming cafe on the cobblestone street of Morris Avenue, offering brunch on both Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. They don’t take reservations, but you can order a breakfast cocktail at their lovely little bar while you wait.
2. Roots & Revelry
The backstory on the executive chef and owner of this spot is quite impressive. Prior to launching Roots & Revelry, Brandon Cain was part of the teams that opened Saw’s Soul Kitchen and Post Office Pies, both located in Avondale. These experiences led him back to his roots of fine dining, and here we have Roots & Revelry. This restaurant has amazing food, yes, but I think more than that I love the atmosphere. It is located in the renovated Thomas Jefferson Tower and is something special. My favorite thing on this menu is a straight tie between the Macadamia Beignets and the Chicken and Waffles. You won’t be disappointed by these flavors, I promise.
This beautiful venue can be found on 2nd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham, offering brunch on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. They do take reservations. You may call them at 205-730-1907 or reserve a table online at Open Table.
3. Ruby Sunshine
I’m not a big supporter of chain restaurants, but this one is an exception. Ruby Sunshine is an extension of the famous New Orleans restaurant, Ruby Slippers. There is definitely a New Orleans influence in the food here. The menu is large and unique. The drinks are fantastic, and their mimosas are heavy pours. You can bring your children with you and enjoy the patio, or just enjoy the nice weather with your girlfriends and leave the kids at home! Their signature menu items are the 3 Little Pigs Omelet, The Peacemaker Benedict, Eggs Cochon Benedict, and the Chicken St. Charles Benedict.
This fun spot is located on Oxmoor Road in Homewood, offering breakfast and brunch from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. They do not take reservations, but you can join their online waitlist before you head that way!
4. El Barrio
I mean, a brunch option that allows me to order chips and queso without abandon? Where do I sign up and how do I get there? Seriously, though, I am the biggest fan of Mexican food. I could eat it three times a day with no issue. I have yet to find a single thing on the menu of El Barrio that I did not absolutely love, no matter what time of day I am eating there. The ingredients are so very fresh, and the flavors are out of this world. Nine times out of ten, for brunch, I’m ordering the Chilaquiles with chicken. If you’re a fan of a Bloody Mary, their Bloody Maria is a must-have. The Birmingham Sunrise will fulfill those OJ cravings, too. Seriously, Guys, I love me some El Barrio.
El Barrio is located on 2nd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham, offering brunch on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. They don’t take reservations, but I promise it’s worth the wait (if you have one)!
5. Trattoria ZaZa
You might recognize the first part of this restaurant’s name, as this used to be called Trattoria Centrale. In the evening hours, Trattoria Zaza is famous for their pizza. You’re going to find that this brunch, however, integrates French and Southern inspirations together beautifully. You must have the Stuffed French Toast (Italian cream cheese, yum) if you’re a fan of the sweets. If you prefer the savory, the Breakfast Pizza will not steer you wrong. This brunch is one of Birmingham’s most famous, and it’s easy to see why.
You can find this little slice of heaven on 20th Street North here in Birmingham, offering brunch on the weekends from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (no reservations).
Which restaurants are on your list of Birmingham’s best brunch spots?
Are you looking for a family-friendly restaurant to enjoy? Birmingham has many great options! Find our recommendations here.