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May 8, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
29 S. Eighth St.
Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m
Glenn’s Cafe sign casts a neon glow of old-fashioned sparkle on the intersection of Eighth and Locust streets. It’s the same one Glenn Purdy hung outside his gas station diner when it opened near Business Loop 70 in 1939, but the restaurant inside has become much more sophisticated since its birth almost 80 years ago. The sign lured both locals and highway travelers for 50 years when it was located near what was then called Highway 40. It moved downtown in 1988 when Stephen Cupp purchased the joint.
Relocating also brought more of a homey influence to the menu. Glenn’s served many New Orleans-style dishes with a Southern influence until it closed its Columbia doors in 2002. After a seven-year stint in Boonville inside Hotel Frederick, Glenn’s re-opened in Columbia last November inside of the Tiger Hotel with a presentation vastly different from a gas station diner; exposed hanging light bulbs and dazzling chandeliers add a glow to the warm, dark wood that lines the interior floors. The Cajun flavor continues to spice up the new menu, as brunch offerings include hearty and heavy Southern favorites such as shrimp creole and fried chicken. Although Glenn’s feels more like a refined restaurant than a casual cafe, its roots have helped it grow into the classy eatery it is today.
— ALLISON POHLE
1111 E. Broadway
MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH
10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A newcomer to the Columbia breakfast scene, The Roof inaugurated its brunch buffet on Easter Sunday and continues to offer rotating chef’s specials with other fancy buffet spreads on holidays. The restaurant is the top-floor venue at The Broadway, which joins 11Eleven as one of the building’s two dining options. Jeff Guinn, the executive chef for 11Eleven and The Roof, is still experimenting with the restaurant’s menu and plans to vary the brunch offerings. He says a pancake or waffle plate will always be available, as well as more experimental dishes that will distinguish the rooftop venue from its downstairs companion, which offers brunch on Sundays.
A full dessert menu will also be available during The Roof’s brunch service, including an unapologetically rich white chocolate cheesecake with crust made from DoubleTree Hotel’s famous chocolate chip cookies. The entire creation is doused with a macerated strawberry sauce and served by the slice.
811 E. Walnut St.
Sun. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bleu has three signature brunch dishes worth mentioning — all gourmet twists on contemporary American cuisine. The first is a decadent roast turkey pot pie with luxurious touches including truffle oil and a tarragon white wine cream sauce. Topped with puff pastry and freshened with chives, the dish is a staple on Bleu’s menu and one of its most popular selections.
The restaurant offers a caloric bonanza with its signature mac-and-cheese, a dense blend of orecchiette pasta and garlic-thyme cheese sauce, finished off with chunks of bacon and a sprinkling of crispy parmesan and panko bread crumbs. It is too much in the best way possible — almost too gooey and rich, with cheese oozing from every rivulet in the pasta. It’s possible to order the dish sans bacon, but unless you’re vegetarian, you don’t really want to. The meat adds a whole new layer of flavor; its smoky undertones complement the richness of the cheese.
Chandra Valentine, Bleu’s director of marketing and events, also cited the shrimp and grits as an essential menu item. Head chef Andy Burris updates a classic Southern recipe by infusing the shrimp with a citrusy flavor that balances the chipotle spice and gouda cheese in the grits. Crisped shallots add a necessary crunch.
— KATE MASTERS
11eleven’s Cold Smoked Salmon Frittata
Instead of traditional omelets, 11Eleven offers frittatas, an Italian egg dish that’s baked in the oven and accentuated with savory additions. Executive chef Jeff Guinn especially emphasized the restaurant’s Cold Smoked Salmon Frittata, which starts with sautéed leeks and shredded Swiss cheese and ends as a fluffy mound of eggs on a plate, garnished with a little red onion and cold lox.
44 Stone’s Deviled Eggs
The cooks at 44 Stone turn deviled eggs into an art. The recipe features dill, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and chives atop the usual egg white and whipped yolk mixture, and they throw on some smoked salmon, too. The dish comes with pickled cauliflower, carrots and celery on the side, and it has a bit of sweet and a note of savory to it. Six deviled eggs disappear before you know it.
Broadway Brewery’s Turner Farm Veggie Omelet
Several of Broadway Brewery’s dishes incorporate eggs but usually as accouterments. Eggs are the stars of the Turner Farm Veggie Omelet, the Croissant Sandwich and the Farmer Benedict, and they play supporting roles in just about every other dish.
Glenn’s Cafe’s Eggs Nouvelle Orleans
With ingredient buzzwords such as “oyster-tasso hollandaise” and “harissa ketchup,” the Glenn’s Cafe brunch menu can be intimidating to spicy Southern brunch newcomers. It’s the Eggs Nouvelle Orleans, however, that artfully combines seafood and spice into a filling brunch dish perfect for any dining time. The dish features shellfish cakes made with shrimp, crawfish and crab. The cakes are topped with yolky, golden sunny-side-up eggs, which are then covered in an oyster-flavored spicy tasso ham hollandaise — a Louisiana specialty.
JJ’s Cafe’s Mizzou Scramble
Owner Sara Paben’s mother created this dish when she worked at the old JJ’s location. Eggs are made any way you want and sandwiched between two halves of a large biscuit. A heaping portion of JJ’s signature gravy smothers the entire dish for a delicious finishing touch.c