Morning Stars

Roxy Restaurant’s new breakfast burger

Roxy Restaurant’s new breakfast burger

Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit

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When the weekend rolls around, we like to play our own version of the hunger games, seeking out our favorite meal of them all—brunch. In our latest quest, we tracked down sweet ’n’ savory chicken and waffles in Davis, a magnificent mango-stuffed French toast in Roseville, perfect pumpkin bacon pancakes in midtown, and a tangy Welsh rarebit omelet downtown, along with dozens of other egg-cellent dishes. So, top of the morning (or afternoon) to you, Sacramento—here’s our region’s best of the brunch. Let the games begin!

Roxy Restaurant
Brunch is served Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
2381 Fair Oaks Blvd.

Sometimes brunch can just mean pancakes and eggs for lunch (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but at the elegant, Western-themed Roxy Restaurant & Bar, brunch is clearly a special kind of crossover meal. Sure, there are straight-up breakfast items like the light and tangy buttermilk pancakes, but it’s the dishes with something extra that really make a brunch, and Roxy has plenty, starting with its irresistible doughnut holes, which are warm and airy little sugar-coated orbs served with chocolate, caramel and vanilla bean dipping sauces. Healthy eaters can opt for the farmers’ market omelet, made with a seasonal selection of regional fresh veggies. But if you’re looking for creativity, look no further than the slow-braised pork belly with jalapeño cheddar grits, the luxurious tri-tip beef Benedict, or the brand-new breakfast burger with a half-pound patty, sunny-side-up egg, smoked bacon, aged white cheddar, caramelized onions and house-made steak sauce. (A cornerstone of the menu is the naturally raised beef from Lucky Dog Ranch in Dixon, which belongs to Roxy owners Terri and Ron Gilliland.) And for the adventurous: the Bacon Mary, a twist on the Bloody Mary with bacon-infused vodka and garnished with a hefty slab of, you guessed it, bacon. “It’s almost its own meal,” says executive chef Danny Origel. We’ll eat to that. —Rick Kushman

Roxy’s doughnut holes are the perfect start to any brunch meal. (Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit)


Bacon & Butter
Weekend brunch is served Sat. & Sun. 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
1119 21st St.

If butter makes everything better, then adding bacon to the equation surely makes everything spectacular. So it’s no wonder that Bacon & Butter, the midtown breakfast spot that debuted last May with liberal servings of both ingredients on its menu, has quickly become one of our new favorite brunch spots. Bacon & Butter’s buttermilk pancakes (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)

Creative comfort food reigns supreme—and sublime—here with inventive dishes by chef-owner Billy Zoellin, formerly of The Golden Bear, such as his perfectly cooked, made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes in rotating flavors like blueberry ricotta and pumpkin bacon that just might be the best flapjacks in town; the deeply satisfying breakfast biscuit sandwich with bacon, eggs, onions, chives, mascarpone and a crispy cheese skirt; and thick slices of French toast dipped in orange custard and topped with cranberry sauce and whipped cream.Western-chic interior (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)

And complementing B&B’s down-home fare is its country-chic décor—think Roy Rogers posters, distressed wood tables and curtains made of coffee burlap bags (the restaurant’s logo hand-stamped on white paper tablecloths is an especially nice DIY touch)—which makes the 1,300-square-foot dining room feel that much cozier as you tuck into the popular B&B potatoes with melted cheddar, lardon and eggs. Trust us, one bite and you’ll be saying, “Mmm, bacon—and butter.” —Elyssa Lee

Breakfast biscuit sandwich (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)


Fox & Goose
Weekend brunch is served Sat. 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
& Sun. 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
1001 R St.

The tofu scramble with pesto (Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit)

Since 1975, the Fox & Goose—which is housed in a former Fuller Paint and Glass warehouse and boasts soaring ceilings, frosted industrial window panes, walls filled with quirky, antique British ephemera, and a battered wood floor that just might date to the building’s origin in 1913—has been one of downtown’s hottest spots for morning meals, with devotees often braving hour-long waits for brunch.

Happily, 2012 saw a number of improvements that have alleviated wait times, including nine new outdoor tables for al fresco dining and an extension of its Sunday brunch hours from 2 to 3 p.m.

British ephemera fill the walls at  the Fox & Goose. (Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit)One thing that has not changed in this British pub is the same hearty quality, not to mention quantity, coming out of the kitchen. For the crowd that loves authentic English food—insert joke here—there’s the Welsh rarebit omelet with its tangy cheese sauce, and the British omelet with juicy bangers and a zippy English cheddar. And what’s an English breakfast without crumpets? But the menu here is as eclectic as its walls, and blue-blooded Yankees will appreciate that the New Yorker may be the best smoked salmon omelet in town, with plenty of cream cheese and a generous helping of salmon. There’s also a range of tofu scrambles (try the pesto) and cereals, including their homey Harvest Grains. Quite simply, as it approaches its 39th anniversary, the Fox & Goose hasn’t lost a step. And that’s no joke. —Rick Kushman

The salmon-stuffed New Yorker omelet (Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit)


The Porch
Brunch is served Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
1815 K St.

The Porch may be the ultimate embodiment of the lazy Sunday ethos.

Inspired by Southern slow cooking found in research trips to the Carolinas, the team that owns the Capitol Garage opened The Porch just over a year ago.

As you step through the actual front porch for which the restaurant is named, you’ll notice the faux window frames on the walls giving you a peek into the lush landscape at Charleston’s Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, replete with white pedestrian bridges and bald cypress trees. And in another nod to the region, each table features a glass jar filled with uncooked black-eyed peas holding a candle.

For brunch, take our word and start with the light, golden, piping hot beignets, artfully dusted with powdered sugar. For something a bit more toothsome (and filling), bring on the cornbread skillet, made with sweet corn, garlic, pimentos and sharp cheddar.

The entrées change frequently, with a recent menu featuring creative plates like a Duck McMuffin, with duck confit and Creole mustard hollandaise; the Sactowne Fry, with pan-fried oysters, scrambled eggs, cheese and applewood-smoked bacon; and the barbecue gulf shrimp with creamy organic cheddar grits. And there are always at least a couple of dishes featuring freshly made, oversized biscuits, like the brisket and biscuit with poached eggs and barbecue hollandaise. Or simply get a biscuit on the side and smother it in the frosting-like house-made honey-jalapeño butter, then wash it down with an artisan mint julep.

Southern comfort, indeed. —Rob Turner

The Porch’s plate of beignets and fruit sprinkled with powdered sugar (Photo by Ryan Donahue)