What makes brunch so different from breakfast?

Morning Rules

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RUTA SMITH
  • Ruta Smith

For a definitive take on brunch vs. breakfast in this week's "Rise and Shine" breakfast issue, we turned to two local foodpeople who are always sunny-side up, Xan McLaughlin and Robert Donovan.

According to Park Cafe's Xan McLaughlin: "We differentiate breakfast and brunch as gluttony. On Saturday and Sunday I want to reward myself — I don't eat waffles every single day but Saturday and Sunday, why not? I deserve waffles. For brunch [at Park Cafe] we have healthier options and I think we're known for that. But [brunch is] the reward during the weekend, something you normally wouldn't have before the lunch meeting (and the mimosas of course). We call them 'Day Ruiners' on the weekend."

According to Charleston food arbiter Robert Donovan: "The technical differences between breakfast and brunch are really just time of day and the addition of typically 'lunchy' menu items. But that's obvious. When I cooked, a big part of brunch was utilizing some kitchen magic with eggs to hide what you were emptying out from the walk-ins. Luckily there are brunching options where the restaurant takes the same approach at brunch they do at dinner... Creatively using farmers, butchers, and bakers' products to fill out an interesting and inviting menu. Bob at EO [Bob Cook, Edmund's Oast] is great at this. But in general most of what you find is still 'how can we utilize egg and pork and bread in a way to accompany bottomless mimosas?' Functionally the difference between breakfast and brunch is the appearance of alcohol and cheeseburgers and the elevated level of the attendees' hangovers."

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