Brunch Time

Spice Up Your Weekend at These Houston Brunch Spots

Catch up with friends at these first-meal-of-the-day locations for lingering.

By Megha McSwain and Meredith Nudo With Stephanie Bartels Published in the Summer 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Wild Oats mixes traditional brunch options with down South staples. Image: Abbie Arnold

Let’s face it, you wake up every day, make coffee, and grab a bagel, but weekends were made for slow mornings spent catching up with your people over a mimosa and fresh stack of fluffy pancakes. Houston honors this tradition with a slew of options such as strawmosas at Barnaby’s, coconut pancakes at Pondicheri, and Mexican breakfast delights at Hugo’s. It’s time to give up your bagel routine and spice up your weekends at one of these brunch spots. No one brunches like Houstonians.


Wild Oats

2520 Airline Dr, Ste C-315

Buffets aren’t a thing of the past when Wild Oats is in the conversation. It’s located near a farmers market, so the produce is obviously fresh, as is the meat selection. Most weekends, you can log on to chef Chris Shepherd’s Instagram and watch a video of meat roasting in preparation. From homemade Mexican candies to crawfish to eggs Benedict, Wild Oats mixes traditional brunch options with down-South staples. You are bound to make a few trips to the buffet to test out everything. 

 

La Guadalupana

2109 Dunlavy St

One of the best Mexican bakeries in Houston sits tucked inside a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shopping center. But La Guadalupana’s greatness is hardly a secret—the staff has to place additional chairs and tables outside to accommodate the brunch crowds. Whether you’re looking for a latte and a fresh-baked pan dulce selection straight out of the display case or the flavorful comfort of huevos rancheros with a glass of horchata, this friendly, homey spot has you covered. If you’re more in the mood for the "(l)unch" side of things than the "br(eakfast)," order up some mole enchiladas, one of La Guadalupana’s signature dishes. 

 

Chicken-fried shrooms and grits at Mo' Better Brews

Mo’ Better Brews Vegan

1201 Southmore Blvd

Great tunes and great food form the cornerstone of this Museum District vinyl shop/brunch spot hybrid. With a completely vegan menu, a chill soundtrack, and a suite of can’t-miss mimosas, Mo’ Better Brews is a welcome newcomer to Houston’s brunch scene. Watch out for the Buffalo Chick’n Dip starter—while it's big enough to share with friends, you may not want to! Everyone who can eat mushrooms needs to try the chicken-fried shrooms and grits, or swap the grits for waffles for a vegan take on one of Houston’s favorite meals. Craving something a little lighter? The Johnny Nash Sweet Potato Hash is as nutrient-dense as it is flavorful. 

Try the smoky avocado bacon Benedict at Black Walnut Cafe.

Adult milkshakes here come in flavors like tiramisu, bourbon caramel, and whiskey chocolate.

Black Walnut Cafe

Various locations

Don’t worry, suburbanites, you don’t have to face freeway traffic into the city when you’re looking for a satisfying local brunch spot! Having been a Houston staple for 20 years (now with locations in DFW!), Black Walnut Cafe maintains a menu filled with familiar, comforting classics. Got Benedicts on the brain? Try the smoky avocado bacon Benedict, kicked up a notch with a touch of cayenne. Prefer plates? The chorizo migas pack a bite, or sink your teeth into the buttery satisfaction of the breakfast croissant sandwich.

Wanting some booze with your brunch, but not really feeling like the classic mimosas or Bloody Marys? Try one of Black Walnut’s ultra creamy adult milkshakes, with delectable flavors like tiramisu, bourbon caramel, and whiskey chocolate.

 

 

Ginger Kale 

6104 Hermann Park Dr

This newcomer features light, thoughtful fare perfect for outdoor brunching and a long walk afterward—it’s located in Hermann Park and overlooks the lake. Bring a blanket and spread out with Ginger Kale’s Japanese-style egg salad sandwich, a bottle of fresh-pressed juice (Aloe You Very Much, with watermelon, orange, lime, ginger, and aloe vera, is a highlight), and strawberry matcha chia pudding. Bring your vegan friends along, too, for a tangy tropical açaí bowl or the berry açaí and peanut butter banana açaí bowl with the honey removed.

Even if you’re not in the mood for brunch, Ginger Kale offers snack options designed to transport over and nibble on while taking in a show at the nearby Miller Outdoor Theatre.

 

Barnaby’s

Various locations

This Montrose original, serving the community since 1992, now boasts nine locations across the Houston area. Start the day off right with a refreshing strawmosa (strawberry lemonade mimosa) and the sweet-salty heft of a bacon waffle drenched in maple syrup. For something a little more decadent, sample the red velvet pancakes crowned with cream cheese frosting. Lighter options include fruit bowls and Bob’s Healthy Plate, which includes egg whites, a juicy chicken sausage, fruit, and wheat toast. 

Barnaby’s gets bonus points for offering a separate menu just for doggos, so you don’t have to leave your best friend at home when brunch time rolls around!

 

Breakfast Klub favorites, clockwise from top: bottled lemonade and sweet tea, green eggs & ham, French toast, Klub’s Benedict, a cup of the Breakfast Klub's Koffee, and a fruit bowl 

The Breakfast Klub

3711 Travis St

The perpetual line snaking out of the Breakfast Klub’s door stands as a testament to this Houston staple’s commitment to quality. Don’t worry, though—heaters are provided for the queue when it’s cold, as is water when it’s hot, and sometimes there are bouncy castles and local craft vendors to keep you occupied while you wait. The Breakfast Klub’s Wings and Waffle meal often garners praise as among the best chicken and waffle dishes in the Houston area, if not the absolute best. If you prefer seafood, though, the Katfish and Grits meal deserves just as much love. 

While the Breakfast Klub is well worth the wait, if you need to save time, we recommend showing up before it opens at 8 a.m. on weekends.

 

 

Revival Market's breakfast plates

Revival Market

550 Heights Blvd

Houston’s venerable craft butcher shop Revival Market unsurprisingly excels in the bacon and sausage department, conjuring breakfast magic out of bacon cheddar biscuits and even a simple, classic plate of eggs with potatoes or fruit. Vegetarians, fear not! You still have delightful options like avocado toast, vegetable quiche, chilaquiles, and baked egg shakshuka. 

While so much attention turns toward Revival Market’s sustainable approach to butchery with an eye for quality, its flair for specialty espresso drinks and teas deserves praise, too! Make sure to pick up a latte—the cardamom rose and honey lavender are standouts, but you can’t go wrong with any of them—or a hot tea like the golden milk or toasted coconut chai.

 

At Pondicheri, snuggle up with some savory uppma and eggs.

Image: Pondicheri

Pondicheri

2800 Kirby Dr #B132

Pondicheri offers diners two brunch options in one: the restaurant and the cozy Bake Lab + Shop, located upstairs. At the restaurant, snuggle up with some savory uppma and eggs or coconut pancakes with fresh fruit. If the Bake Lab + Shop is more your speed, try the fresh, crisp chaat salad with a side of khichri and rich tomato soup.

For those in need of caffeine in their lives, the masala chai and madras coffee are necessities. If you need a less high-octane hot drink to warm yourself up from the inside out, try one of the house-made spice, fruit, and nut infusions. 

Both the restaurant and Bake Lab + Shop serve something for everyone, from omnivores to pescatarians to vegetarians to vegans. Gluten-free options are also available. Make sure to pick up a bag or two (or three) of the spicy, salty Bombay Mix to enjoy Pondicheri’s signature flavors right at home. 

 

Try the juicy, tender carnitas at Hugo's.

Image: Hugo's

Hugo’s

1600 Westheimer Rd

Hugo’s offers two different brunch options: a Saturday brunch menu and a Sunday brunch buffet. The buffet features rotating selections of Mexican breakfast delights and live music from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Start off with the smoky chicken Sopa Azteca before digging into the chilaquiles, a quintessential Houston comfort food. Or try the juicy, tender carnitas and slow-cooked barbacoa. Wash it all down with spectacular sangria or the citrus sweetness of the Paloma Rústica, mixed with both grapefruit soda and fresh grapefruit juice. Hugo’s also features a vegetarian menu, with hearty, earthy dishes like the quesadillitas de huitlacoche and empanadas de plátano as well as light salads and roasted vegetables.

 

Kim Son Ballroom

10603 Bellaire Blvd

Houstonians know that dim sum is just as satisfying as brunch when you’re looking for a long, leisurely, weekend midmorning meal. The Kim Son family of restaurants rightfully receives national accolades for its legendary Vietnamese food, courtesy of founder “Mama” Kim Su Tran La and the 250 recipes she brought over when escaping her homeland. Kim Son Ballroom’s dim sum menu features nearly 50 delectable small plates, with highlights such as the beautiful textures of the fried bird nest shrimp ball, congee with meat, and pan-fried turnip cake. It’s easy to get really stuffed really fast with dim sum, so don’t forget to leave room for dessert! Sesame balls and milk buns filled with egg yolk make for savory, satisfying conclusions to an amazing meal. You won’t want to eat for the rest of the weekend! You won’t need to eat for the rest of the weekend! 

Kim Son Ballroom opens on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m., but the wait can sometimes extend to two hours or more. We recommend showing up early to stake out your seat! 

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