by Sara Graham
It can be tough on a lazy (and possibly hungover) Sunday morning to decide where to head to brunch. Not to worry. Gut Check has winnowed down the bevy of local options to our absolute top ten favorite spots. Whether you're looking for a pile of stuffed French toast or just tagging along for the bottomless mimosas, here's where to find the very best of what St. Louis has to offer.
Scape American Bistro (48 Maryland Plaza; 314-361-7227)
Brunch begins with a complimentary beignet filled with fresh pastry crème to enjoy while perusing the menu. A long-standing brunch favorite is the "Green Mole Chicken & Chorizo Chilaquiles," a baked tortilla casserole finished with crema, queso fresco and two fried eggs. Just added to the spring brunch menu is an apple-pie pancake, BLT eggs benedict and a smoked-salmon omelet. Dine inside, on the front patio overlooking the iconic Maryland Plaza fountain, or on the gorgeous European-style back patio. A fully stocked bloody-mary bar is available and includes an assortment of pickled vegetables, sauces and accompaniments. Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Crepes Etc. (48 Maryland Plaza; 314-367-2200)
Located just next door to Scape, Crepes Etc. offers breakfast and lunch favorites all day. Savory brunch favorites include the croque madame and the smoked beef-brisket hash with two eggs and tortillas. For those with a sweet tooth, the chocolate-covered-strawberry crepe and buttermilk-pecan crepe cannot be beat. Crepes Etc. sources free-range and hormone-free poultry, grass-fed beef, sustainably harvested fish and locally grown produce. Open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rooster (1104 Locust Street; 314-241-8118)
A breakfast and brunch go-to, Rooster's downtown location evokes a European-style, urban café. The entire menu is sourced locally. The most popular dish is the "Rooster Slinger" -- Andouille sausage, two eggs, sausage gravy and potatoes over thick toast. The sausage is from Geisert Farms and is butchered, ground and seasoned at the restaurant, and the potatoes have a secret house spice rub. Add a bloody mary or mimosa to any menu item and do brunch up right. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Stay tuned for Rooster South Grand, opening in late summer.)
Brasserie by Niche (4580 Laclede Avenue; 314-454-0600)
Headed by acclaimed chef and restaurateur Gerard Craft, French and American cuisines are married at this popular dining and brunch spot in the Central West End. "Both have such fun breakfast cultures," explains Craft in an e-mail. Some of his favorite dishes on the Brassierie menu include the "Country Breakfast" -- a six-minute egg, ham, apple butter and toast -- which is inspired by the breakfast served at Craft's favorite Parisian hotel, the Relais Saint-Germain. He's also partial to the French toast, which he Americanizes with a dollop of lemon curd. The brunch menu also features a hand-crafted cocktail list and is served Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wild Flower (4590 Laclede Avenue; 314-367-9888)
Known for its perfect-for-people-watching patio, the Wild Flower has been a staple in the Central West End for almost twenty years. A full brunch menu complete with all of the traditional favorites is available, along with "sparkling and vodka bottle service" accompanied by a variety of mixers. A full cocktail menu features the usual suspects, such as a royal kir and a bellini, and don't miss Wild Flower specials such as the "West End Mojito," the "Wild Orchid" and "Espresso Martini." Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Herbie's Vintage 72 (405 N Euclid Avenue; 314-769-9595)
Enjoy brunch and soak up a little history in Herbie's traditional French bistro. Sit at the opulent bar or bask in the sun on the new outdoor patio. Brunch menu specialties include made-to-order omelets, eggs benedict, a BLT on an oversized croissant, breakfast flatbreads and Herbie's famous baby-back ribs. At this historically popular Central West End spot, you never know whom you'll rub elbows with. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-802-7676)
Be treated like family at this homestyle restaurant where guests are always invited to pull up a stool at the bar and share a story. Customer favorites are the cinnamon bread (made with buttermilk, pecans, brown sugar and butter), the biscuits and jam (shortbread sea-salt biscuits with a red-wine fruit compote), and the shrimp and grits (sautéed in a Cajun barbecue sauce with spicy sausage and bacon over white cheddar grits). Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Vin de Set (2017 Chouteau Avenue; 314-241-8989)
Brunch in style at this rooftop bar and bistro located in historic Lafayette Square. The extensive menu includes traditional favorites, such as eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict, breakfast potatoes, smoked seafood, peel and eat shrimp, salads, a Belgian waffle station, an omelet station, a carving station and housemade desserts. Each week features a different flavor of stuffed crepes and stuffed French toast. All brunch orders include a complimentary mimosa. Bottomless mimosas are available, and there's an extensive bloody-mary bar with house-pickled vegetables, hot sauces, bacon and shrimp. Brunch is served on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Nico (6525 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-0200)
Head to the Loop for brunch with Spanish, French, Italian and Moroccan influences. Nico's specialty is housemade breakfast sausage, such as the Catalonian sausage (pork sausage with cinnamon and white pepper) and the Merguez sausage patties (lamb sausage with African spices). Customer favorites include the chicken salad (grilled chicken, green beans, bacon, croutons and creamy garlic dressing), the lamb burger (Moroccan spice caramelized onions, spinach, tzaziki, fried egg and house fries) and eggs served either French-style, Italian-style or American-style. Brunch is served on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Café Osage (4605 Olive Street; 314-454-6868)
Located within Bowood Farms, brunch at Café Osage features fresh, organic vegetables and herbs grown onsite. Enjoy the garden view from inside or have brunch directly in the garden. The menu includes specialties like the "Osage Nutty Granola," "Biscuits & Gravy" (cheddar chive biscuits, creamed chicken, mushrooms and leeks), "Moroccan Chicken Salad" (head lettuce, beets, butternut squash, avocado, carrots, dates, Marcona almonds with a honey almond dressing) and cocktails such as the "Central Park" (Knob Creek Bourbon, O Ginger Liqueur and sweet vermouth). Sunday brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.