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Top 5 places to eat brunch during the festival

-Emma Dawson, Roots N Blues Intern

The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival weekend should be a weekend for celebration. When you’re not listening to the best lineup of live music you’ll hear all year, treat yourself to good drinks and good eats. This list, compiled by an expert brunch afficionado, details the best places to get brunch in downtown Columbia.

Because biscuits and gravy are the essence of all that is good and pure in the world, I’m also giving each restaurant a Biscuits & Gravy Report. This score is based off of extensive scientific research and unbiased calculation.

So here they are, in no particular order:

1. Ernie’s Cafe

When’s the last time you ate a good ol’ fashioned diner breakfast? If it’s been more than, like, a day, it’s been too long. Ernie’s is the ideal spot for all the classics: steak and eggs, bacon and sausage, pancakes and waffles, custom omelettes. Everything is super reasonably priced, and the Cafe has the feel of an old-school diner (which makes sense, since it’s been around since 1934.)

B&G Report: I’ve been frequenting Ernie’s for about three years now, and because I’m never up before 11 unless I have to be, I’ve never been able to get Ernie’s B&G before it sells out. For all I know, Ernie’s doesn’t even sell B&G and it’s just an ingenious marketing ploy. Anything this place puts out is going to be good, and in this case, the fleeting, mysterious nature of Ernie’s B&G likely means it’s made fresh every day. We can only assume that this B&G sells out so quickly because it’s in crazy high demand. Points for intrigue and the obscure promise of tastiness.

2. Cafe Berlin

Cafe Berlin is the perfect spot for all your hipster brunch food needs. Try the “Walt,” a waffle with avocado, chipotle mayo, bacon, tomato, mixed greens and fried egg, or their “Apples and Sausage,” which is exactly what it sounds like: weird but unexpectedly delicious. They have less breakfast-y options, too, like Street Tacos with pork shoulder and a classic cheeseburger.

B&G Report: Delicious, but just not that enthralling. I want my gravy to tell me a story. Win my heart over, pack my bags and run away with me. Definitely still worth hanging out with, just maybe not lifelong, passionate love material.

3. 44 Canteen

44 Canteen does a seriously creative brunch/tex mex mashup. Try some Chicken & Egg Tacos with avocado, salsa fresca and queso fresco, or the Steak & Huevos Chilaquiles with sirloin, soft fried eggs and red chile tortilla sauce. Their housemade honey-jalapeno bloody mary mix gives just the right amount of heat and flavor. You’ll want to drink six.

B&G Report: The Canteen’s bacon gravy is different from any of the other gravies on this highly scientific list. It was much smoother and creamier, and really tasty. I still think I’d rather have some chunky sausage gravy, but being different is c00l.

4. The Wolf’s Head Tavern

Wolf’s Head has only been around for a couple of years, but they’ve consistently impressed me with their Irish pub-inspired food. Try the Corn Beef Breakfast Sandwich (delicious and totally in line with the Irish theme) or the Captain Crunch Encrusted French Toast (not exactly Irish, but it’ll satisfy your heart’s six-year-old kid desires.)

B&G Report: The gravy-to-biscuit ratio was on point and the gravy has huge chunks of meat, which are big plusses. I’d argue that it could have a little more flavor.

5. Broadway Brewery

Broadway Brewery makes all their food in house from locally-sourced ingredients, so they get points for offering a sustainable take on food that is also insanely delicious. Try the Broadway Stack with chili, homefries, crumbled biscuit, bacon, over-easy eggs, sausage and hollandaise or the Pear & Spinach Salad with maple cider vinaigrette.

B&G Report: Seriously incredible. A manmade lake of thick, peppery gravy poured over fluffy biscuit clouds. You’ll dream about it for weeks. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night, longing for it. Maybe you shouldn’t eat it so that you don’t have to go through the pain of not eating it.

We have three honorable mentions, because brunch is life and everyone’s a winner:

  • Honorable mention for a Drinkable Brunch: Gunter Hans’ bottomless mimosas. No explanation needed.
  • Honorable Mention for an I’m Starving But I Only Have $10 to My Name Brunch: The Heidelberg’s all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet. You can stuff your face for $8.99.
  • Honorable mention for an Oh Crap, It’s Already Lunchtime Brunch: If you plan on oversleeping and just barely making it to the first set of the day, catch Ozark Mountain Biscuit Truck at The Festival. You will not be disappointed

And remember, you won’t be needing cash/credit cards to buy things at the festival since we went cashless. But you’ll definitely need them at these places!


Photo by nina_westervelt on flickr