What to do on Easter when you've been eating boring Lenten food for over a month?
|Photo courtesy of Thrillist|
Or more likely: if you're one of the rest of us undisciplined sinners and just want to live.it.up. on the year's best brunch day, where on earth should you go?
Have no fears, because: igotchu, fam. I did a roundup of the best Easter brunches for Thrillist (click here to see the article), and it's got a kickass list of a wide range of places in a wide range of locations to give you plenty of options to choose from. Even better? Most of these places still have amazing brunch even when it's *not* a holiday, so you can consider this your handy reference guide to brunch for the upcoming patio season.
And while you're at it, make sure to check out the other pieces I've written for Thrillist as well! Click on each title below to head to the article:
- The Best Winter Date Ideas
- The Best New Bars
- A Best of Business Guide to the North Loop
- The Best New Restaurants of 2017
- The Best New Foods at the 2017 State Fair
- The Best Small Towns to Road Trip in Minnesota
- The 2017 Definitive List of Summer Movies
- The Best Twin Cities Rooftop Bars
- The Best Things to Do in Duluth
Easter is here, Lent is over, and it’s time to live it up. Whether you need to indulge after 40 days of sacrifice or just want an excuse to pig out, we totally have you covered. This list has options to please any mix of people on both sides of the Mississippi, from grandma to your niece to your best hangover buddy to maybe even a fun date. Whatever path you choose, just make sure: Don’t waste the opportunity to enjoy the best brunch day all year outside of Mother’s Day (but without all of the stress).
St. Paul Grill
Downtown St. Paul
Hobnob with St. Paul’s old-money families
Nothing says grandiose better than the hallowed gilt halls of the St. Paul Hotel. Treat your family to the finest downtown St. Paul has to offer with their extravagant brunch, which is beefed up for Easter every year. All of the Grill’s brunch options (which include savory waffles, lemon ricotta pancakes, and a lobster scramble, among other delicacies) come with a complimentary colossal caramel roll and white linen table cloths. #protip: ensure you make reservations ahead of time or you may not be able to find a table, as this is one of the hotel’s busiest brunch days of the year. You should make reservations on Open Table directly through the site.
Cast & Cru
Luxurious buffet mixed with live theater
If you want a side of opulence and some live theater for your Easter brunch, look no further than Cast & Cru. Gorgeous vistas with a pondside view isn’t all they serve. Brunchers can find a luxurious spread including prime rib, multiple kinds of scrambled eggs, bagels and lox, breakfast meats, omelets and eggs Benedict made to order, and even a build-your-own waffle bar. And if you’re dying for a full throttle Easter Sunday outing, head next door to digest during a matinee of the swinging, recently-opened Guys & Dolls at the Old Log Theater, the oldest theater in Minnesota. Easter brunch here is $30 a head and half that for kids. Call ahead at 952-767-9700 for reservations.
Wise Acre Eatery
Farm-to-table fare that lives up to the hype
"Farm-to-table" may be a tired buzzword these days, but Wise Acre Eatery will make it crisp again for you. With all ingredients sourced from their farm just outside the city, you are guaranteed to get the freshest food available. Winter salads, pot pies and a special hash including cornbread, fresh aioli, egg and herbs, and country ham all make appearances on the menu, in addition to many special treats such as house-made spicy ginger beer, hand-churned custards (which you can add fresh-brewed coffee to), and a perfect selection of locally raised meats and dairy products that let you take the party home with you. There are typically long lines for brunch, but Wise Acre prudently allows reservations for Easter and Mother’s Day -- make sure to schedule your reservations in advance by calling (612) 354-2577 to guarantee a seat.
Easter brunch, but Mad Men-style
People have waxed nostalgic about the retro vibes of Jax Café for years, and for good reason: with the devastating demolition of the renowned Nye’s Polonaise last year (RIP), Jax is one of the last restaurants standing that does things the old way without a hint of irony. Easter brunch here is a little spendy at well over $40 each per adult, but you’ll get what you pay for: dishes include roast leg of lamb, pineapple glazed ham, seafood salad, poached salmon and a literal “carved steamship round of beefeaster.” And don’t forget -- you can’t buy this kind of period ambiance. Don Draper never had it so good. Make your reservations directly through their website.
No-reservation, veggie-forward brunch for the herbivores out there
Long before veganism was on Beyoncé’s radar, Birchwood Café was serving up vegetable-heavy noshes that converted even the most die-hard carnivores. Their brunch options are no different, including creative dishes like sambal-infused beans and rice, perfectly griddled savory waffles, a vegan rendition of biscuits and mushroom gravy stuffed with Cajun spiced-tempeh, and a plethora of burger options for every dietary need. No reservations are allowed during brunch hours (which go until 4pm), so make sure to get someone there early to snag a table for your crew.
Downtown St. Paul
Classic French cooking to fill you up all day
If your idea of Easter brunch is more eat-once-for-the-week than have a simple meal of eggs, we suggest you meander to Meritage in downtown St. Paul for a repas copieux experience. They have all of the standards of course -- eggs Benedict and crepes and brioche French toast among them -- but they also provide perfectly prepared French classics like cassoulet in multiple styles, moules frites, and the best croque monsieur this side of the Atlantic. Meritage is pulling out all the stops for Easter, with an extended brunch service from 10am to 3pm that will include a roasted leg of lamb with white beans, spinach and black olive oil. Their full bar will also provide you with a plethora of options if you’d like a fancy aperitif to prepare for the big meal ahead. Make reservations through their website or by calling (651) 222-5670.
An insta-worthy space with food to match
If somehow none of these options so far sound quite opulent enough for an all-out Easter brunch, try the Grand Café on for size. Menu items include sake bloody marys, a host of raw seafood options, and chicken liver donuts with glitter glaze (yes, this is in fact *a thing*). Throw some caviar or cacio e pepe dumplings in for good measure and you’re living it up Marie Antoinette style. With gorgeous sunny interiors and delicately plated goodies, your social media feed will never have it so good as it will at the Grand Cafe. Make reservations through Open Table or by calling (612) 822-8260.
Toast to Easter from our signature riverfront Ferris wheel
Although Betty Danger’s hasn’t released an Easter-specific brunch buffet menu, we already know it will be a smashing success. The folks at Betty Danger’s have designed a regular brunch that is so over-the-top awesome that there’s no way they can screw Easter up. For under $20 (a steal!), diners at the Ferris wheel location can get an all-you-can-eat buffet including fried chicken and baby pancakes, and add on bottomless cocktails. The braver among us can take Betty’s “Brunching of Champions Challenge,” which provides a smorgasbord of all of the brunch buffet items plus a literal mini rotating Ferris wheel of burgers and bacon at your table. If your team of four can finish it on time, you are rewarded with a trophy filled with prickly pear slushy margarita and an endless amount of bragging rights. Slide on to Betty Danger’s to add a little extra fun to your Easter service. Make reservations through Open Table ahead of time.
Nicollet Island Inn
A Scandinavian-influenced tasting menu to start your morning
For something a little more reserved, head to the Nicollet Island Inn for Easter brunch. Their five-course tasting menu features Scandinavian stalwarts like smoked salmon cakes and Swedish meatballs alongside more cutting-edge offerings like toast skagens topped with poached shrimp salad and crème fraiche. If you’re not quite ready to give up your wintry hygge vibes, look no further: this Nicollet Island Inn Easter brunch is for you. Make Easter brunch reservations directly through their site or by calling (612) 331-1800.
A low-key brunch for a low price, with a cocktail included
If you find yourself a little overwhelmed with the many decadent offerings listed here, feel free to temper yourself with a more reserved approach to Easter brunch buffets. Cosmos has all of the rich offerings -- carving stations, bread stations, French toast bread pudding -- as well as lighter fare, like a fresh spring salad, clean and vegetable-heavy side dishes, broiled whitefish and wild rice pilaf, and even a salmon and tuna crudo. Oh, and the buffet’s $38 flat fee includes a cocktail in the price. If you have plans for an active afternoon on Easter Sunday, this is definitely the brunch for you. Just be sure to reserve a table through the site or call ahead at (612) 677-1100.
Brunch, meet steakhouse
If you’re the kind of carnivore for whom no meal is complete without a red-blooded plate of meat, Capital Grille is your Easter brunch of choice. You can get your filet mignon or bone-in aged NY strip steak like any other self-respecting steak joint, but you can also find brunchified takes on classic surf and turf steakhouse dishes like a lobster frittata with truffle hollandaise or jumbo shrimp over white cheddar grits. Bottomless mimosas and bellinis are on offer too, providing an adult indulgence in addition to a respectable children’s buffet option. They really thought of everything, didn’t they? Make reservations directly online ahead of time.
Tongue in Cheek
East Side St. Paul
An aggressively silly, but nonetheless delicious, take on classic options
St. Paul’s East Side has never quite been the same since Tongue and Cheek moved in, and that’s a good thing. With saucy brunch dish names like Croque Hot Damn and Vegasm, you’ll laugh your way through the menu while easily fulfilling everyone’s dietary needs with a delicious culinary triumph. This is also the only brunch menu on this list where you will find proven hangover cures like bacon dashi ramen or steamed pork belly buns (#nojudgement), so choose your brunch wisely depending on your needs from the evening before. Tongue in Cheek also takes brunch reservations for parties up to 10, so you can guarantee a seat even for large groups -- if you plan ahead, that is. Make reservations directly online or by calling (651) 888-6148.
Pickup at the St. Paul Location
Have restaurant-quality Easter brunch... at home
Brasa has been killing it on the take-home front for years, and this Easter is no exception. If you plan ahead, you can order a swoon-inducing spread to pick up and enjoy at home with your crew. This year’s menu includes two kinds of glazed ham, greens with smoked chicken, candied yams, beet-apricot salad, honey-buttered corn bread and a full lemon buttermilk pound cake courtesy of The Buttered Tin. If that’s not enough goodness to have at home, consider swinging by the bakery side of Brasa’s sister restaurant Alma for freshly made hot cross buns, chocolate ginger tarts, everything bagel challah and more. This is the perfect option for introverts, but take note: you must call Brasa or order online ahead of time if you want to go this route, so get your ducks in a row beforehand.
A special, new brunch menu with a full fried chicken section
Count Lyn 65 among the savvy restaurants who are succeeding in the competitive Twin Cities restaurant market by continuously keeping it fresh. Lyn 65 will be treating guests to a revamped brunch menu on Easter, which was co-developed with input from the entire staff. Standard breakfast items are on offer, but you really should go for some of their more unique dishes like a sunchoke-laden shakshuka, a vegetarian rice bowl, red chorizo frittata, or fragrant pork bone broth ramen. The menu also features a full standalone section for fried chicken (a deserved place of honor) and a curated, intriguing list of morning cocktails with healthy ingredients like avocado and celery bitters, so you can squeeze in some vegetables if your entrée is lacking a little green. Make reservations directly through Lyn 65's website.