America's 10 Most Outrageous Brunch Dishes

These dishes redefine the meaning of brunchThese dishes redefine the meaning of brunchBrunch is one of America's guiltiest pleasures. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends, people spend their time piling into restaurants and waiting in line to indulge in over-the-top cocktails and overly filling entrées. With an abundance of booze and a variety of eclectic dishes, brunch can be the staple that holds our Sunday mornings together or the boozy party that makes our Saturdays worth it.


Considering the fact that brunch is a largely American fad, it may come as a surprise to learn that the concept was actually invented in England. British writer Guy Beringer thought of the idea in 1895 when he propositioned it in his essay "Brunch: A Plea." Tired of the post-church dinners filled with heavy meats and filling pies, Beringer believed that brunch, a breakfast-inspired meal between breakfast and lunch, seemed like the best alternative. He gave no specific menu requirements, except that brunch should be "cheerful, sociable, and inciting" with "everything good, plenty of it, variety, and selection." And that is definitely what brunch has evolved out to be.

America's Most Outrageous Brunch Dishes

After Beringer thought up the idea, brunch found its way over to the United States around the time of World War I, when traveling celebrities and wealthy citizens began to spend their layovers in Chicago enjoying a late morning meal. However, the concept of Sunday brunch only became popular amongst all classes during World War II, when church visits declined and people started to enjoy the perks of sleeping in. With new habits came a new social scene, and brunch as we know it was born.

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Once the trend started, it transformed from being just a meal into an event. Restaurants caught on and chefs made separate brunch menus or set up extravagant buffets to accommodate peoples' indulgent, lazy Sunday needs. But considering brunch was a meal born from two major culinary parents (namely, breakfast and lunch), the ideal menu was impossible to sketch out. It was hard to tell how much of breakfast or lunch really made up brunch, so the menu was split down the middle with a mix of items ranging from pancakes to cheeseburgers.

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So now here we are in 2013, and brunch is still one of those eclectic meals with a menu composed of items from all ends of the spectrum, not to mention an array of morning cocktails such as the Bloody Mary, mimosa, or screwdriver. But as the brunch trend skyrockets, so does the competition. Restaurants of course have their go-to eggs Benedict, omelettes, pancakes, or French toast, but some chefs are going above and beyond to fulfill their diners' wildest brunch dreams by making their dishes just downright outrageous.

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We looked for brunch dishes at time honored stalwarts as well as up and comers in 15 cities across the country to find the biggest, baddest, craziest brunch dishes around, and came up with 20 winners. Each dish on this list is part of the restaurant's brunch menu, with the exception of Baltimore's Blue Moon Café's French toast, which can be ordered upon request, and the oysters Benedict from Brennan's, the famous New Orleans restaurant known for "inventing" the meal that ironically does not have its own menu. Additionally, the brunch dog from Frank 'n' Dawgs is not part of a brunch menu, but considering the hot dog shop only has one menu and the dish met all of our criteria, it was able to earn a spot on the top 20. To be selected, each dish had to be a unique version of a traditional brunch dish, or a completely new brunch invention unto itself.

Our list spans far and wide, with dishes like white chocolate macadamia pancakes from Kailua, Hawaii, fried chicken eggs Benedict from Atlanta, waffle corndogs from Phoenix, and pig's head poutine from Philadelphia, just to name a few. The top dishes are all decadent menu items and could be seen as some of the best inventions known to mankind, or, they could make your stomach churn.


Credit: Alla Spina10) Testina Hash Poutine - Alla Spina, Philadelphia

Testina is Italian for "head," which makes sense considering this dish consists of poutine and pig head topped with mozzarella curds and sunny-side up eggs. Alla Spina, an Italian gastropub in the heart of Philadelphia, stays true to its roots by serving this filling Italian dish on their brunch menu. There's nothing like eggs and pig's head to start off your morning!




Credit: flickr / osamuyabe9) White Chocolate Macadamia Pancakes - Boots and Kimo's, Kailua, Hawaii

White chocolate macadamia cookies are a classic dessert, but white chocolate macadamia pancakes are definitely taking this sweet to the extreme. Boots and Kimo's is famous for their pancake version of the delicious cookie: white chocolate macadamia nut pancakes with creamy white chocolate macadamia nut syrup pooled on top. Nothing like a set of chocolate macadamia pancakes before lying out on the beach.




Credit: Over Easy Café8) Waffle Dogs - Over Easy Café, Phoenix

Why go for waffles and a side of sausage when you can have them both on a stick? Over Easy Café's waffle dogs are straight to the point. This dish comes with three 2-ounce breakfast sausages on sticks dipped in waffle batter and fried until golden brown. These are perfect for when you need one hand for your waffle dog and the other for your mimosa.





Credit: Highland Bakery7) Fried Chicken Benedict - Highland Bakery, Atlanta

Fried chicken Benedict - when regular eggs Benedict isn't enough. Highland Bakery puts a Southern twist on this classic dish by topping a toasted biscuit with fried chicken, two medium poached eggs, and a jalapeño Cheddar cheese sauce instead of using the regular the English muffin, Canadian bacon, or hollandaise. Oh, and just in case that wasn't enough, it also comes served with grits or potatoes. This dish can only be found at Highland Bakery's Old 4th Ward and Georgia Tech locations.




Credit: The Astor Room6) Astor Disaster - Astor Room, Queens, N.Y.

The Astor Room's Astor Disaster is every indecisive brunch-goer's dream. In one dish, diners can get every aspect of breakfast, with eggs, bacon, and French toast, while still getting the most necessary components of a solid lazy Sunday lunch: BBQ shortrib, fried onion rings, and Cheddar cheese. Put it all together, and it looks like one hot brunch mess.




Credit: flickr / rikomatic5) Macaroni and Cheese Pancakes - Shopsin's, New York City

Breakfast + lunch = brunch, so why not make a dish that combines both meals? That's what we think Shopsin's chef and owner Kenny Shopsin tried to do when he decided to add macaroni and cheese pancakes to the brunch menu. While we could consider any of the 800 items on the menu for this list, these pancakes are the epitome of brunch. Forget blueberries or chocolate chips, these are infused and encrusted with macaroni and cheese instead. If that doesn't seem like enough, you can also selections such as BBQ duck sliders, fried chicken, maple bacon, or duck gyros to your meal.




Credit: Yelp / Aunny D.4) Crispy 18-Ounce Indiana Hand-Hammered Pork Tenderloin Benedict - Hash House A Go Go, San Diego, Calif.

Although this dish has the trademark "Benedict" at the end of its name, it is anything but a classic version of eggs Benedict. We guess you could call it one if you're willing to trade in your English muffin for an 18-ounce pork tenderloin, your hollandaise for some BBQ cream sauce, and your poached eggs for scrambled. Either way, Hash House A Go Gos pork tenderloin Benedict is definitely an outrageous alternative to the brunch staple. The giant pork tenderloin Benedict, which also comes with a fresh-split biscuit, market yellow tomato, spinach, and griddled mashed potatoes, will have you in a food coma before you can even say "brunch." This dish is available at all Hash House A Go Go locations.




Credit: flickr / pneyu3) Chocolate Tower French Toast -The Bongo Room, Chicago

The Bongo Room is aware that their chocolate tower French toast is just as extreme as it sounds. With bittersweet chocolate chunk bread stuffed with maple mascarpone, banana crème brûlée sauce, fresh bananas, and shaved chocolate, the chocolate tower is listed first on the restaurant's "Sinful" menu.





Credit: Commander's Palace2) Candy Apple Lacquered Quail - Commander's Palace, New Orleans

Another way to start your day would be with Commanders Palaces candy apple lacquered quail with apple brandy and breakfast sausage dressing. Served over bacon with wilted cabbage and applejack jus, this decadent brunch dish combines sweet and smoky tastes in a whole new, extravagant way.





Credit: Le Parker Meridien1) Foie Gras Brioche French Toast - Norma's, New York City

Norma's is known for their extravagant brunch menu; they're home to the $1,000 lobster frittata with 10 ounces of caviar heaped on top. While the price is crazy, the concept of the lobster frittata isn't anything new. However, another dish on the menu is much more affordable and completely outrageous - the foie gras brioche French toast. Unlike traditionally sweet French toast, this version is served with asparagus and mushrooms with slices of foie gras sitting on top. Each bite is loaded with richness and could fill you up in an instant. Talk about an outrageously excessive way to start the day.


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- Skyler Bouchard, The Daily Meal