Although I live in Dallas, I was born and raised in the east coast. New Jersey, if you want to be specific. My family is actually from the Caribbean and I was the first in my family to be born in the US. Even though I've been in Dallas for a significant amount of time, I am still an East Coast chick to my heart. Anytime I visit that side of the United States, I'm reminded of why I love the East. The vibe, the sights, the people, the food--it's a different flow. The south has a laid back kind of feel; the east is in constant movement. It's probably one of the first things I noticed right away, when I first came to Texas. But I was more than happy to head back to the east to gather some intel for Brunchlust. This trip brought me to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.
Everything you think you know about Philly--cheesesteaks, art, historic sites--it's all true. It's an eclectic and vibrant city, full of life and characters of all sorts and things that will make you literally stop in your tracks. And this was pretty much how I stumbled upon the location for brunch: Hawthorne's Beer Cafe. It was a beautiful day in Philly--sun was shining, the air was crisp, folks were out and about. Hawthorne's is built for days like this. With sidewalk seating and a restaurant that has plenty of windows, Hawthorne's is a great place to catch up, enjoy the weather, and do some good people watching. So let's get right into it.
Drinks: There is no drink special at Hawthorne's. As a matter of fact, there really aren't any traditional brunch drinks, like mimosas or bloody Marys. So if you want some sparkling, you'll pay by the glass. It was priced about as expected in the situation--about $10 a glass. If you want a mimosa, they'll bring you a glass of sparkling and a side of juice, so you can pour to your preferred level.
So, about this "no brunch drinks" thing...Hawthorne's is not only a cafe. It's a BEER cafe. Meaning this is the spot you want to go to if you love beers. They have plenty for you to try. They also have wine, but not in the same levels as the beers. However, you won't be disappointed if you ARE a wine love, like myself. There's a good spread to choose from. And if you are local (or staying local, for that matter) you can order beer and wine to be delivered to you.
So over to the food portion of brunch. This is where things start to get intimate. The brunch menu isn't very long but I had a hard time choosing because everything sounded amazing. But I finally settled on a fan favorite: The Crabby Dick. What can I say. I can't resist the D :) The Crabby Dick is their spin on a crab benedict--a jumbo homemade crab cake, sandwiched between a lightly toasted and buttery brioche bun, topped with with two poached eggs and creamy hollandaise sauce. It also came with a side of home fries (AKA diced breakfast potatoes) and a spicy chipotle aoli. The crab cake ALONE was worth the trip. It was well made and flavorful. It made my mouth happy and I wouldn't hesitate to have it again.
Brunchlust Rating: B+ While I felt the brunch drink options were severely lacking, I appreciated their commitment to the term "beer cafe," by offering a large selection.
Hawthorne's Beer Cafe
738 South 11th Street