Cape Fear Foodie: Bunches of brunches

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 10:49 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It’s often said breakfast is the most important meal of the day but I would disagree (the food after a night of revelry and libations can often be the most satisfying and critical meal you will eat).

However, the argument for breakfast is a solid one. It gets your day going with a boost of energy and nutrition and can help with hunger cravings as your day wears on. Despite that, is brunch more important than breakfast?

The answer is yes. The perfect mixture of breakfast and lunch options allow typical taboo eats in a traditional breakfast setting to suddenly be acceptable (think burgers or fried chicken) and the same goes for what to drink (move over milk, it’s time for a perfectly spiced Bloody Mary or mimosa).

So this week let’s check out some restaurants that offer brunch worth getting out of bed for.

First up on this mini road trip is Savor Southern Kitchen.

The restaurant is welcoming and clean and boasts plenty of tasty items for any time of day. But breakfast and brunch might be their forte. From omelettes and various benedicts to Shrimp and Grits and Monte Cristo sandwiches, Savor has something for every palate.

Savor's "Let’s Hash it Out Bowl” has big chunks of braised corned beef, with potatoes, eggs and...
Savor's "Let’s Hash it Out Bowl” has big chunks of braised corned beef, with potatoes, eggs and hollandaise.(WECT)

On this trip, I opted for the “Let’s Hash it Out Bowl,” which is a bed of home fries, onions and peppers, covered with big chunks of corned beef, eggs and hollandaise. It was fabulous, the corned beef was braised to perfection and hollandaise gave the entire ensemble the needed moisture to pull it all together.

“Mind Your Biscuits and Life Will Be Gravy” is a perfect rendition of the Southern staple,...
“Mind Your Biscuits and Life Will Be Gravy” is a perfect rendition of the Southern staple, biscuits and gravy, and a must-try when visiting for brunch.(WECT)

Next up was “Mind Your Biscuits and Life Will Be Gravy,” or homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. I consider myself somewhat of a biscuits and gravy connoisseur (I’m from West Virginia after all, where an iconic restaurant has “biscuit world” in its name) and I must say, these were delicious. The fluffy, buttery biscuits created a perfect platform for the creamy, peppery and salty sausage gravy to rest on top. Whatever brunch item you order at Savor, you must get the biscuits and gravy as well.

What is brunch without a great drink to go along with it?
What is brunch without a great drink to go along with it?(WECT)

Savor also has a great selection of cocktails, some of them rotate in and out with other menu items... any of them are worthy of washing down your meal.

Now let’s follow Carolina Beach Road towards downtown until it turns into Front Street, and you find Rooster & The Crow along the waterfront.

Since opening just over two years ago, this hip spot with an eclectic food and drink menu has quickly become a favorite of many especially for brunch.

Rooster & The Crow has several attention grabbing benedicts, ranging from options with a Southwestern flair to a Southern coastal version with lump crab meat, fried green tomatoes and Old Bay hollandaise.

Fried Green Tomatoes, a Southern classic with a twist...who doesn't love some extra pimento...
Fried Green Tomatoes, a Southern classic with a twist...who doesn't love some extra pimento cheese and bacon jam?(WECT)

Speaking of fried green tomatoes, the ones here make for a perfect warm-up as you wait for your main course. Expertly fried, smothered in pimento cheese with a dollop of bacon jam...they are great to scarf down as you watch boats glide by on the Cape Fear River.

Chicken and Waffles, a staple of just about every brunch menu, is given justice here at Rooster...
Chicken and Waffles, a staple of just about every brunch menu, is given justice here at Rooster & The Crow.(WECT)

On this trip, I shamelessly went with a favorite of brunch menus everywhere, Chicken and Waffles. A massive, pillowy waffle acted as a landing zone for two pieces of fried chicken and thick-cut bacon, smothered in maple syrup and powdered sugar....I snagged a side of cheesy grits to round out the meal. The portions are massive and the food is exceptional, definitely worth a to-go box.

Finally let’s head downtown to a breakfast & brunch staple... The Basics.

Known for its adventurous take on classic recipes and a wide range of flavors and influences, The Basics offers everything from avocado toast topped with spicy shrimp and house made kimchee to blueberry oatmeal pancakes, or meatloaf for those looking for a heartier brunch.

I’ve ate here several times, though admittedly only once have I snapped a picture before I eviscerated the Insta-worthy food in front of me.

Wilmington's The Basics has a variety of menu options for breakfast, lunch or dinner...but is a...
Wilmington's The Basics has a variety of menu options for breakfast, lunch or dinner...but is a key place for brunch downtown.(WECT)

I recently went with a variation of their “Southern Benedict,” with potato croquettes, house smoked Coca-Cola ham, eggs, and sausage gravy. The dish was bursting with flavor, a true delight for anyone looking for a savory brunch. While some may shake their head at my side selection of another starch, I can attest that the potato cake is one of the best things I have eaten in Wilmington (a fried ball of mashed potatoes covered with a spoonful of sour cream and bell peppers).

These are just some of a multitude of brunch spots around the Port City and the Cape Fear, and it seems more and more restaurants are focusing on brunch nowadays. While I can’t recommend these places enough, get out on a weekend and try a restaurant off the beaten path...besides, everything is better with a side of bacon.

PRO TIPS:

1) Each of these restaurants can have rotating menu items, so it’s best to check their websites ahead of time. Or give them a call if you are planning on a brunch date, that way there are no surprises...even then, you won’t be disappointed with anything on the menu.

2) Given the culinary freedom that comes with brunch, try something you normally wouldn’t opt for at home. Go for the Shrimp & Alligator Cheesecake app at Rooster & Crow, or how about Savor’s “Till the Cows Come Home Bowl” with boneless short ribs, brown gravy, and grits? Make it fun, and enjoy time with your family and friends...just watch out for those endless mimosas.

IF YOU GO:

Savor Southern Kitchen is located at 3704 Carolina Beach Rd. Wilmington, NC 28412

Rooster & The Crow is located at 225 S Water St Suite G & H, Wilmington, NC 28401

The Basics is located at 319 N Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401

Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at corey.preece@gray.tv and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!

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