Bring on Brunch

Local eateries offer diverse midday menus

Pictured above are some tried-and-true favorites from the brunch menu at Chives Door County in Baileys Harbor. Photo courtesy of Chives Door County.

Ahh, brunch: that late-morning meal that blurs the lines between breakfast and lunch with a diverse spread of food options, and the meal that makes it socially acceptable to raise a glass with friends before the sun is even noon high.

Many local restaurants offer brunches that feature both sweet and savory dishes, as well as house-favorite cocktails, so they provide hungry diners with plenty of options, as well as inspiration for preparing the perfect brunch menu at home.

As with any good recipe, it starts with the ingredients.

Chives Door County, 8041 Hwy 57 in Baileys Harbor, serves a pleasing variety of farm-to-table dishes that are inspired by American and French cuisine and use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. 

“Many of the items we select for our menu come from local fishermen, like the Baileys Harbor Fish Company; and farmers, such as About Thyme Farm and South Side Farm,” said Sara Newcomer, Chives’ general manager. 

Brunch at home offers the perfect opportunity to visit local farmers markets and farm stands and to find new ways to showcase seasonal ingredients.

“Seasonal features highlighting local fisheries and farms add variety to our daily offerings, which creates a brand-new experience,” Newcomer said. 

Along with the ingredients, having distinctive recipes is another key component in preparing a standout brunch menu, whether dining out or at home. At Chives, some of the recipes are personal favorites of the owner, JR Schoenfeld; and the executive chef, Brady Miner. 

The BLT Benedict at Scaturo Baking Co. & Cafe in Sturgeon Bay is a popular pick with the morning crowd. Photo from social media.

Preparing the perfect brunch menu is also about including enough variety, said Robert Rupp, executive chef at Scaturo’s Baking Co. & Cafe, 19 Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay.

Scaturo’s brunch menu, served on Saturdays and Sundays, features a generous array of options, including fresh bakery, lunchtime staples and some house favorites such as its BLT Benedict. 

Another hallmark of a solid brunch experience is the beverage menu. Including a mix of boozy classics – Bloody Marys, sangrias and mimosas – as well as refreshing mocktails ensures that everyone has something to sip. 

The cherry sangria and cherry mimosas are popular picks at Scaturo’s. At Chives, the Bloody Mary – garnished with a grandiose assortment of charcuterie-style meats, cheeses and house-pickled vegetables – is a standard go-to.

The great thing about a brunch menu is that it can take the form of a traditional plated or buffet dining experience, or you can make it an interactive activity for your guests. 

Brunch at Kitchen Barons Public House, 23 W. Oak St. in Sturgeon Bay, marries the best of both worlds: favorite brunchy eats and drinks with a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar and a bottomless mimosa bar.
“It gives interaction between our guests with their family and friends,” owner Brad Hunsader said. 

A make-your-own omelet station, rotating carving station and guest pianist round out the food and entertainment offerings. 

“We think going to brunch should be an event not just reserved for holidays,” Hunsader said, and he has a point. Although many will use Mother’s Day weekend as the perfect reason to dine late into the morning, it seems like brunch is always a good idea.