Brunch is more than just a meal that serves as breakfast and lunch; it’s kind of a big deal. The biggest brunch days are spring holidays: Mother’s Day, Easter and Father’s Day. However, going out to brunch can make any Saturday or Sunday a holiday. An excuse to eat comfort food and socialize. A time to have a fancy drink before noon without feeling bad about it. So sit back, relax, have a good-natured debate with your sister you haven’t seen in a month, all-the-while soaking in Sacramento’s weather before the heat spikes in the afternoon. Here are 10 great spots in and around Sacramento where you can make this happen.
1. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op
2820 R St., Sacramento
Local chefs who received Michelin attention have been known to roam the aisles at the Co-Op, a place well-known for all things organic and local. The two long self-service buffet islands offer an array of brunch fare, and two different outdoor patios and a spacious second-floor cafeteria provide ample seating.
The deliciously simple buttermilk flapjacks are golden brown with a crispy edge. The vegan, cumin-seasoned tomatoey tofu scramble mimics the texture of the scrambled eggs offered on the same island. A detached pastry case contains what might be the best bran muffins in the city, an apple wedge baked into each one keeping it moist, and there’s a smoothie bar with a variety of puns represented, like Avogood Day.
2. Grange Restaurant & Bar
926 J St., Sacramento
Established in 2008 in The Citizen Hotel, Grange has been a breeding ground for successful chefs. The decor brings to mind steampunk: wood, leather, dark bronze accents and high-ceiling grandeur.
It’s a good idea to start with the pastry basket. One day it might be three little flaky, buttery berry turnovers with powdered sugar that melts in your mouth. The steaming smoked chicken hash’s meat is hickory-forward, and sweet potatoes and mild peppers balance its somewhat spicy chipotle hollandaise. You can wash it down with a Grange mimosa: sparkling Bourgogne wine, St-Germain and orange juice.
1401 28th St., Sacramento
Once inside Paragary’s, the amazing back patio is visible. The three waterfalls and corrugated metal make it resemble something from the Waterworld set at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The lemon ricotta pancakes are served with a sweet, zesty blueberry compote that is neutralized by a liquid lump of mellow creme fraiche. Then there’s the smoked trout salad’s creme fraiche that works with avocado to tame red onion, bitter-crisp frisée and horseradish. If you are in the mood for more fruit, there is the Pineapple Party cocktail served with Cointreau, orgeat and bitters.
4. Los Jarritos
2509 Broadway, Sacramento
Los Jarritos might be best-known for lunch by the folks working in the DMV buildings across the street, but it also is an excellent come-as-you-are weekend brunch option. Friendly order-at-the-counter service includes delivery to your table, which might be under a wall mural indicating locations of the Modelo breweries in Mexico.
The huevos rancheros are a staple brunch option, and depending on the day, cherry, apple, pineapple, and pumpkin empanadas from La Esperanza Bakery are in the pastry case. The chile verde plate is just $7.59, and it benefits from huge chunks of citrussy pork that come with whole black, pinto or refried beans. Brace yourself: The michelada gets chamoy and tomato sauce, lemon and Worcestershire.
5. Roxy Restaurant & Bar
2381 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento
Roxy exudes customer service from the beginning, as the host opens the door for you. It is as if there were an adjacent private golf course.
The cheddar biscuits and gravy might be the most filling brunch dish in Sacramento. The cream-laden gritty gravy gets its kick from the chunks of ancho sausage therein, and the lump of perfectly tender scrambled eggs on top adds some wiggle. The 12 cakey doughnut holes come doused with sugar, and alternating dips between the chocolate and caramel sauces make for a Milky Way sort of experience. To drink there’s the Cowgirl Mary Bloody Mary. Staff cook bacon slabs really crispy and let the grease stew with vodka, straining out the fat through cheese cloth to make a tomatoey treat that is not too smoky.
6. Four Sisters Cafe
9050 Fairway Drive, Roseville
Though part of a newer development in Roseville, co-owning sister Julie Geffre proclaims, “We’ve become a community gathering place. Kind of like a Cheers.”
The Paradise Waffle comes with banana slices, strawberries, toasted coconut shavings and heavy whipped cream on top. Crunchy, almost doughy macadamia nuts surprise your palate as you go. You can get an omelet Four Sisters-style: an over-medium egg gets stuffed inside, lending to a juicier omelet. House-made applesauce from granny smith apples gets plenty of cinnamon, and their orange juice is as sweet as a mandarin with low acidity.
7. The Waffle Experience
4391 Gateway Park Blvd., Sacramento. Also locations in Folsom and Elk Grove
The “Experience” in the restaurant’s name is an indicator of just how exhilarating the flavor combinations are here.
The menu divides waffle plates into herb and liege. The herb waffles are savory like biscuits, and the liege ones are fillingly fluffy, tasting remarkably like King’s Hawaiian rolls. The Our Chicken n’ Waffles plate is multiple dishes in one: two big crunchy-fried breast fillets over orange-thyme marmalade doused arugula; it’s like Chinese orange chicken and a salad. That’s all on top of citrus-infused ricotta and an herb waffle with chili chive apple slaw on the side that tastes like Haribo Fruit Salad candy. The coffee from Sacramento’s Liberty Coffee Roasting Co. is about as strong as drip coffee gets.
8. Rice Bowl Restaurant
2378 Florin Road, Sacramento
A small café during the week, the divider between the Rice Bowl’s two rooms is removed on weekends, revealing a spacious hall with a grand crystal chandelier serviced by dim sum carts.
A deliciously conservative option is the steamed pork buns: savory sweet pork inside bread that tastes something like Bisquick dumplings with the texture to boot. The steamed beef tripe is a surprisingly refreshing dish for a summer day. The white, watery flesh is crunchy with pop, and the ginger and shaved scallions on top clear your palate between bites. Chrysanthemum tea is available for no extra charge.
9. De Vere’s Irish Pub
217 E St., Davis. (Also 1521 L St., Sacramento)
The de Vere’s in Davis has a cavernous wooden library that’s something like a hobbit hole from “The Lord of the Rings.” The old books on the shelves include “The Making of Modern Ireland” by J.C. Beckett.
The diagonally cut corned beef hash burrito comes in a tortilla that packs serious rosemary punch. It’s served with thick, tangy, temperature-hot green salsa and gooey house-made sour cream that tastes like yogurt. A caramelly Smithwick’s Red Ale combats the strong flavors of this brunchy bar cuisine. For dessert there’s the raspberry marscapone cake served with the same whipped cream they use in their Irish coffees.
701 19th St., Sacramento
Simpleton is a new residential café set amid the big trees in Sacramento’s Boulevard Park. It opened on June 15, and it was most recently a convenience store.
Their Southern-style biscuit recipe comes from Kentucky native barista Jimmy Mai. It’s partially laminated, meaning just a few layers, dusted with sea salt, and highlighted by the moist buttermilky center. Also of note is their chocolate hazelnut sauce available with their waffle. It isn’t too sweet, it’s got some grit to it, and the hazelnuts’ essence dominates. The Brazilian coffee is roasted just 17 blocks away at their roastery café on 28th Sreet. Co-owner Lucky Rodrigues visits the 12-foot-tall coffee-treed hills of its origin: Fazenda Serrinha.