A term coined in England in 1895, the concept of Brunch was proposed as a plea to replace the post-Church ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies. This ‘new meal,’ served around noon, would begin with tea or coffee, marmalade and other proper English breakfast staples before moving to the more traditional Sunday fare. By eliminating the need to wake up early, Sunday Brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. Brunch gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1930s and is now considered a relaxing adaptation of breakfast accompanied by cocktails or a legitimate excuse to order waffles for a leisurely lunch.
Here in the Berkshires, as the weekday grind slows to a halt, an array of weekend Brunch options can sweep away the stresses of everyday life and perhaps, alleviate the effects of an extended night on the town.
Gramercy Bistro at MASS MoCA in North Adams serves an a la carte Sunday Brunch from 11 am until 2 pm offering guests a starter of Blood Orange Mimosa, Fresh OJ Mimosa, Sandy’s Bloody Mary with a Fried Oyster Floater or Fresh Grapefruit Juice. Selections include Onion Soup au Gratin; Buttermilk Pancakes with Seasonal Fruit Filling, Maple Syrup and Bacon; Eggs Florentine; Classic Croque Madame; Goat Cheese Breakfast Tart with Bacon, Chives, Eggs and Puff Pastry, or a Rabbit Pot Pie.
Table Six at the Kemble Inn in Lenox offers a prix fixe Sunday Brunch menu for $32 featuring a classic cocktail of Mimosa, Kir Royale or Peach Bellini followed by a selection of housemade pastries for the table. Entrees include a Crab Cake in a Biscuit served with Herb Aioli, Oven-roasted Plum Tomatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes and Shallot-vinaigrette Mixed Greens, and on the sweeter side, a Brioche French Toast served with Fruit Compote, Vermont Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar Yogurt.
Located in the oldest train station in the Berkshires with lovely views of Lenox Mountain, Six Depot Cafe in West Stockbridge serves brunch every weekend from 8 am to 4 pm. Twelve different coffees from around the world are roasted in small batches in the café alongside 25 kinds of whole leaf tea. The café serves up Homemade Granola with Berle Farm Yogurt and Justamere Tree Farm Maple Syrup; Steel-cut Oatmeal with Dark Chocolate, Apricots and Toasted Hazelnuts; Belgian Waffles with Dulce de Leche and Fresh Fruit, and Housemade Baked Goods, many gluten-free. Savory Slow-roasted Porchetta Panini; Smoked Salmon Panini; Quinoa and Kale Salads are also available.
The Prairie Whale in Great Barrington offers a changing Sunday Brunch menu from 11 am until 3 pm. They serve a traditional English Breakfast as well as Polenta with Housemade Breakfast Sausage and Poached Farm Eggs; Cheeseburger; Fried Chicken and Cornbread, and Housemade Scones.
Café ADAM in Great Barrington offers Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. (A Friday brunch service is added in July and August.) With many Poached Egg Dishes and an Old-fashioned Breakfast, they also offer Panini, Tartines, Seasonal Salads and entrees such as Bouillabaisse and Steak Frites. Café Adam smokes their own salmon and always has raw oysters available. Their full-service bar crafts famous Bloody Marys and a new sparkling ginger libation.
The Southfield Store in Southfield serves Sunday Brunch from 9 am until 2 pm with a $24 prix fixe menu. The delicious spread includes juice, house-baked pastry, fruit salad or granola, one of a half dozen or so egg dishes plus coffee or Rishi Tea. A south-of-the-border highlight is a Poblano-and-Queso Fresco Omelette or a spin-on-a-classic Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict with Saffron Hollandaise.
Whether a Saturday night carouser looking for recovery time or a family seeking a leisurely breakfast-lunch option, the Berkshires offers a variety of great spots for this well-regarded meal.