9 Hottest Brunches in Boston

By Scott Kearnan  |  September 15, 2015
Credit: Brian Samuels

It's never to plan your weekend brunch, especially with so many newly launched options around town. Here, to give you something to look forward to as you slog through the week, is a look at some of the hottest options right now: From Southern noshes at a Jamaica Plain newcomer to new quirky brunch eats at an industry-friendly Downtown favorite.  

  • Back Bay Harry's

    You have to hand it to Hell's Kitchen alum Jason Santos: He's carved out a creative niche in Back Bay brunches by hosting monthly theme parties with kitsch and camp appeal. (Past hits have included a "Katy Perry Vs. Taylor Swift Brunch," with the dining room decorated as two competing halves, each with separate menus, and a "Golden Girls Brunch" with sitcom episodes on constant loop.) Next up, and just in time for Halloween: A "Thriller"-inspired Michael & Janet Jackson Brunch on October 25, with seatings at 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Tickets are $35 costumes will be encouraged, of course. 

    Must-Try: Themed menus vary, of course. But the regular Sunday brunch menu (11 AM-3 PM) includes an awesome lobster benedict ($19) with chive hollandaise. 

    142 Berkeley St.; 617-424-6711

  • Credit: Melissa Ostrow

    Bee's Knees Supply Co.

    Because where else can you knock out a brunch while you're grocery shopping? Twice as large as its Fort Point sibling, this just-opened Bee's Knees in Allston doubles as a gourmet grocer (stocked with small batch food brands, craft beer and wine)  and a cafe with fair trade coffee, a juice bar and cooked-to-order meals. Starting at 8 AM you can do your weekend food shopping and snag a bite with a neighbor too. 

    Must-Try: Specials change often, but we've already spotted a tasty lobster egg souffle ($8.50) with lemon dijonnaise and tomato on a muffin from local purveyor Stone & Skillet. 

    1316 Commonwealth Ave., Allston; 617-277-BEES

  • Centre Street Cafe

    JP brunch crowds were at a loss when this popular pick, known for lines that stretch out the door, changed ownership and underwent a major renovation. Now helmed by same team behind Tres Gatos, and with Rialto alum chef Brian Rae in the kitchen, Centre Street Cafe has returned with a brunch spread (Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 AM-2:30 PM) that includes a pancetta-packed fried egg sandwich, rotating donut varieties, and a mac 'n' cheese take with fontina, smoked ham, mascarpone and pineapple.

    Must-Try: The Maine Grind Burger ($14), one of our favorite new patties, topped with pancetta, provolone and herb aïoli on a housemade bun. 

    669A Centre St., Jamaica Plain; 617-524-9217


    Over the summer chef Brian Poe suddenly re-imagined his Estelle's Southern Cuisine as CLUCKIT!, a casual eatery specializing in piri-piri chicken (and pork... and shrimp...). If you can handle some spice on your Sunday brunch (11 AM-2:30 PM), you'll find it here — plus a huge selection of craft beers for washing it all down. Plus the wide wall of windows facing Mass Ave. makes for excellent South End people-watching. 

    Must-Try: Grilled wings ($9.95) are a dialed-down version of the full piri-piri experience. Or for something totally different, try the zanzaipoe pizza ($7.95): tandoori naan topped with goat cheese, prosciutto, peaches, mint and arugula. 

    782 Tremont St.; 857-250-2992  

  • Credit: Brian Samuels

    Elephant Walk

    The trendy South End is one of the most popular neighborhood's for brunching, and this relative newcomer just launched its service over the summer. What you'll find (every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM-4 PM): French-Cambodian fare that lends to intriguing, exotic plates. 

    Must-Try: We can't stop quacking about the Crêpe au Canard ($12), a crepe filled with duck braised in soy tamarind juices, portobello mushroom, crème frâiche and scallion.

    1415 Washington St.; 617-247-1500

  • The Frogmore

    Southern brunch may sound like a belt-loosening proposition, but this Jamaica Plain newcomer specializes in the lighter, brighter Lowcountry cuisine — so you'll find hearty options (like biscuits & gravy and peach marmalade-topped hoe cakes) alongside lighter plates too. Plus: Clever variations on Bloody Marys (the "Smoke Alarm" version has pickled jalapeño) and mimosas (we liek the Kiawah Sunrise with smoked peach and pomegranate). 

    Must-Try: The lone holdover from the dinner menu, we can't get enough of the Watermelon Salad ($9), which pairs the sweet fruit with the sour of pickled green tomato and tartness of shaved jalapeños. They're cut by a creamy housemade goat cheese.

    365 Centre St., Jamaica Plain; 857-203-9462

  • Gather

    We're bending the rules a bit here: Gather doesn't ordinarily offer brunch service, per se, just straight up lunch starting at 11:30 AM. (That's the time most of us are rolling out of bed on weekends anyway.) But the Seaport District hot spot, housed inside the innovation industry hub that is District Hall, happens to be hosting what will surely be one of next month's most popular food events: the First Annual Brunch Battle on Saturday, October 10 from 12-3 PM. The throwdown will see a bunch of Boston restaurants compete for the title of best brunch-slinger, including Brownstone, Lulu's Allston, Trina's Starlite Lounge, Pastoral and The Tap Trailhouse, among others. Guests get live music, coffee, boozy brunch drinks and of course, the chance to sample the submissions. Tickets ($15 for now) are here.

    75 Northern Ave.; 617-982-7220

  • JM Curley

    So hot, it just launched yesterday! The downtown gastropub is getting into the Monday brunch game (12-4 PM) with a new series called "Cold Tea Brunch." (Explained: Monday brunches are popular with restaurant industry staff, and "cold tea" is the clandestine term for scoring booze after serving hours. Get it?) The menu is divided into "Snack & Share" (think fried pickles with Creole mayo and Sriracha-filled deviled eggs), "Tea Sandwiches" (we like the spirit of the Polynesian Persuasion, featuring grilled ham with caramelized pineapple and charred red onion), and "Hangover Helpers." (Duck poutine. Say no more.)

    Must-Try: The Whole 9 Yards ($45) pull together the best of cheese and charcuterie worlds for one massive spread laden with various additional accoutrements. 

    21 Temple Pl.; 617-338-5333

  • Stephanie's On Newbury

    This Back Bay institution has always been a popular pick for people watching; it has without doubt one of the best patios in Boston. And after its recent renovation, it has also taken a new approach to the early side of eating. Over the summer Stephanie's (finally!) launched weekday breakfast from 7:30 AM-11:30 AM, where you can find a mix of light early-riser favorites (like egg white frittata) and heartier plates for those of us who lean toward lunch even in the AM: like the breakfast burger, topped with fried egg. In addition, the pre-existing weekend brunch hours have been expanded further into the morning, and now runs from 9 AM-3 PM. 

    Must-Try: From the new  eats we're all about the Breakfast Quesadilla ($15) folded with scrambled eggs, Monterey jack cheese, salsa, jalapeno, black beans and caramelized onions. Add guac and salsa, of course. 

    190 Newbury St.; 617-236-0990