JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – I am that person that can eat breakfast most anytime of the day. Cereal for dinner? I’m down. French toast for an afternoon snack? Oui, oui! And I know there are a lot of us out there who enjoy bacon as much as Gardner Minshew loves his majestic 'stache.
To get the full breakfast effect, one must embrace the spectacle that is brunch. Food one might consider for dinner served with breakfast combos and bottomless mimosas — count me in. The mimosas are my marketing pitch for any restaurants looking to lure those pre-gaming for all-day football viewing. You’re welcome!
RELATED: Grumpy’s voted Jacksonville’s best brunch spot
The great thing about Jacksonville hinges on the fact that the foodie scene is expansive and includes different cultural culinary creations with amazing views and hospitality second to none.
I was just turned onto River & Post over in Riverside. Yes, you’ve heard of the seafood and steaks Chef Steve and his team whip up, but their brunch menu has quickly gained recognition across the city. Chef has a menu in his chef’s coat that includes vegan options…so good, but not my focus. When one can feature a range of dishes with Cuban (Eggs Benedict Cubano), German (potato latkes and salmon) and American (chicken and waffles) influences, it is going to be a filling day rivaling the world tours offered at Epcot. Catch amazing rooftop views before heading to the Bank to watch the aforementioned Minshew lead our Jaguars to victory.
Culhane’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
I love futbol…in the states, we say soccer. Culhane’s Irish Pub is a fantastic venue to get your futbol fix while feasting on American breakfast with a hint of Irish love mixed in. They now have two locations: the original near Atlantic Beach and the new, roomy version off of Southside Boulevard. Dig into the traditional Irish breakfast, the Irish skillet, BYO Breky, while savoring a pint or whiskey (too early?) and cheer for your favorite team. Mary Jane and her sisters foster a family vibe that will keep you coming back for more every weekend. If the whiskey angle is too early for you, they have created and distill 5 Sisters Vodka. I have had some of their cocktails with that as the foundation and believe me when I say that your experience will go up a whole other level. Goal, Goal, Gooooooal!
I’ve mentioned that brunch is great anytime…well, so are tacos!! Taco Lu ensures that customers understand that with their epic brunch menu. You might envision breakfast tacos, but that is way too basic for this squad. You must go in on The Don Patrol: a large flour tortilla filled with all things breakfast — two eggs, chorizo, black beans, cheese and tots are the recipe for brunch gold. You hear Huevos Rancheros and think you know what it is? The Taco Lu version consists of black beans, cheddar cheese, beer-braised brisket on a crunchy tostada smothered in ranchero sauce and two eggs. Wash it down with one of their signature tequila cocktails and you can call your day a wrap before you even make your weekend grocery run.
Roll over to Fleming Island and pinch yourself because you might be in heaven. Just A Pinch Café offers a mix of Southern comfort food with Hawaiian influences. Bernard and Cleta have expanded in the last couple of years and have a new venue that is open and inviting to any and everyone. I mentioned the American-inspired chicken and waffles…well, they do that OR they offer Hawaiian French toast. The King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls is a game and flavor changer. It will definitely have you drooling and wondering how you could eat more. Their Pina Colada Breakfast features two upside down pineapple pancakes. Yeah, it’s a thing. A thing of decadent, tasty beauty. Their homemade coconut syrup is the colada descriptor. If you really need to fill up (anything they bring you will do the job) then get the Boom Loco. It is a grand take on the Loco Moco. The Boom has a 1/3 pound angus burger and Bernard-a-que pulled pork with savory gravy covering a steaming bed of rice. I sense a nap after eating that heartily. Oh, and if you have never had spam, get a dose of true Pacific Island flavor and order a sliver.
Grumpys’s Restaurant is known for the logo of the smile turned upside down chef. Don’t let that image fool you. Walk into any of the three Grumpy’s locations and know you are among friends and family as they love their regulars and welcome newbies alike. They have been voted Jax Best Breakfast, Jax Best Brunch…just Jax Best presented by Visit Jacksonville. The restaurant was originally launched in the 90′s by a U.S. Navy cook, known as Chef Grumpy. Not sure how one can catch that vibe after devouring some of their dishes including the standard pancakes, waffles, eggs, etc. It’s when you do a deep dive and try their creamed chipped beef, cinnamon roll pancakes, and quiche of the day. Nothing says brunch like quiche. The variety they offer with their Eggs benedict will appeal to everyone — even yours truly and I’m not into eggs on that level.
It’s time for me to get some extra cardio in, so I can prepare for another weekend of brunch overindulgence. Send your suggestions and plan to meet up and compare notes…over bottomless mimosas, of course!
Have a great day!