If my Instagram feed is any indication, brunch has arrived in the Quad-Cities.
Scrolling through the social media app on Sunday, photo after photo appeared showing piles of food with hashtags like #Easterbrunch.
In honor of one of the most brunch-able holidays, I decided to visit Brew, the small bar/restaurant in the Village of East Davenport, on Sunday to get in on the action.
Its brunch game was certainly strong: Brew offered a special Easter brunch buffet that included an omelet station, scones, fruit, biscuits and gravy, vegetables and piles of cheesy hash browns and bacon and sausage and smoked ham.
Of course, area brunch – not simply breakfast or lunch -- options are in full force every other weekend, too.
Celebrating 'Sunday funday'
For City Limits, a bar and restaurant in Rock Island, “weekends are our biggest times,” says general manager Julie Perez, in part because of its brunch spread.
Perez, a Rock Island native, worked at Village Inn, a behemoth when it comes to breakfast and brunch, for 32 years before joining the City Limits crew in May 2015.
“It’s a lot different,” Perez said. “It’s not corporate here, so I can put my own touch on things. You can be creative.”
Perez launched City Limits’ popular build-your-own bloody mary bar that’s “kind of like a whole brunch in itself,” she said.
“We didn’t have anything like that in the area at the time,” she said. “Now it’s turned into our little niche.”
As Perez mentioned, others have followed her lead.
Hy-Vee on 42nd Ave Drive in Moline has offered an unlimited bloody mary bar and breakfast buffet on Sundays.
“A lot of people are doing Sunday Funday, where, you know, it’s a social thing,” Perez said. “Friends and families want that time to gather and enjoy each other. There’s no rush during brunch.”
Other brunch staples include the Machine Shed, Bix Bistro inside Hotel Blackhawk, Ross’ Restaurant, Jimmy's Pancake House, QC Coffee and Pancake House and Cafe d' Marie.
Brunch pop-up style
The Quad-Cities also is home to not-as-traditional brunch experiences.
The Crepe Guy, the moniker for chef Chad Cushman, has been serving the brunch crowd – pop-up style -- for eight years. He has previously set up his crepe station at establishments such as Dunn Brothers Coffee and Me and Billy, which offered bottomless mimosas to pair with sweet or savory crepes.
Cushman recently announced he’s partnering with Cru, the wine bar at 221 Brady St., Davenport, to host a monthly pop-up brunch starting this Sunday. Cru will offer brunch cocktails starting at 9 a.m.
“Brunch is this desirable thing,” he said. “You go to bigger cities and there are lines out the door. People are wanting good food and something that isn’t your typical breakfast.”
"That's what I'm trying to do with these crepes," he added. "It's not something that happens everyday."
Brunch-seekers also want time to “unwind,” Cushman said.
“Some have had a long week,” he said. “It’s a good time to have a drink to the long work week or a drink to cure what ails you from the night before.”
'This is awesome and ridiculous'
Down the road from Brew, Baked Beer and Bread Company serves an a-la-carte brunch on Saturday and Sunday that features “fun twists on upscale comfort food,” says owner Stephanie Sellers.
Highlights include an omelet station, pancake station, macaroni and cheese bar, chicken and waffles and a meat and potatoes plate she calls “Tater Swift.” You can pair all of that with a coffee from 392 Caffé, a Clinton, Iowa, based café that recently opened a pop-up shop at Baked.
Plus, there’s a bloody mary bar that people “absolutely go bananas for,” Sellers said. “We want people to be like, ‘OMG, this is awesome and this is ridiculous. We had the same philosophy for brunch as the rest of what we do with Baked: We aren’t messing around.”
When they opened the bakery/brewery/restaurant in November 2016, Sellers and her partner Bill Sheeder envisioned bringing “big city brunch” to the Quad-Cities.
“In places like Chicago, brunch is obviously already a huge thing,” Sheeder, who previously lived in Denver. “That’s just what you do on the weekends.”
Part of a good brunch, he said, is having “Instagram-worthy food.” Next weekend, Baked’s neighboring taproom will host a cereal bar pop-up during brunch hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
“Brunch is just a special thing,” Sellers said. “It only happens on the weekends. You get together and you can have a mimosa at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. and it’s perfectly acceptable.”