Breakfast is almost a dirty word these days; we’re so hounded about “the most important meal of the day” that it feels like a chore. Brunch, on the other hand, is breakfast’s glamorous cousin: the popular kid in school, the one people clamor to devour. Granted, brunch is a special occasion, once or twice a month at best, and the offerings are notoriously extravagant and gut-busting. After all, brunch is two meals in one—breakfast and lunch—an excellent reason to go all out. It’s best to stay close to home when brunching, because the recommended follow-up is a nap. Guess what? Plymouth has some fantastic brunch options, so eat yourself silly and get lazy.
The Rancher (with blueberry wild rice sausage)
Peg’s Countryside Cafe
Now, do a 180—a thematic one, not literal—and bring the whole fam to Peg’s beloved Countryside Café in nearby Hamel, where you’ll be greeted with a silly-grinning, apron-wearing chicken. There’s a separate kids’ menu featuring a fun build-your-own breakfast. The dish we like is called The Rancher, which is simply two eggs, cooked however you like, with your choice of meat: bacon, pork links, smoked ham, sausage patty, or—wait for it—blueberry wild rice sausage. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Of course you haven’t, because it’s one-of-a-kind and it’s Peg’s own recipe. It’s sweet and chewy, nutty, smoky. You’ll get hooked fast. It’s served with potatoes and toast, but you’ll hardly notice those poor, upstaged fellas. Peg’s is happy to serve breakfast “anytime,” so you can snag one of those sweeties whenever you get a hankering. $7.50.
842 Minnesota 55; Hamel; 763.478.6869
Jake’s City Grille
Jake’s, our go-to for classic-with-a-twist chow, does a buffet brunch on Sundays that can only be described as insane. Here is just a partial list of what you might enjoy: roast beef au jus, seared Ahi tuna, peel-and-eat shrimp and southern fried chicken, along with brunch beloveds like eggs benedict, breakfast sausages, bacon and made-to-order omelets. Do not miss the Gouda au gratin potatoes, because cheese fixes everything, and Gouda is a perfect balance of velvet and tang. Sweet stuff? Sure–caramel rolls, fruit, ciabatta French toast and muffins, not to mention desserts like amaretto mousse with chocolate ganache served a la mode; banana cream pie with caramel, whipped cream and a graham cracker crust. If you can’t find anything you like on the buffet table, the regular menu kicks in at 11 a.m. For the grownups, a decent William Wycliff glass of Champagne or mimosa is only three bucks. $17.95 adults; $8.95 kids, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
3005 Harbor Lane N.; 763.559.1595
On Cowboy Jack’s weekend Rehab Menu—an awesome alias for brunch if there ever was one—you’ll find The Rehab: get it? It’s a giant egg sandwich with jalapeño bacon and cheese perched on a Bloody Mary with a Bud Light chaser. The golden domed bun is spiked with an olive on a toothpick. Check out the website and you’ll see a picture of it that will make your jaw drop and your mouth water. (Probably not the ideal place to bring the kiddies, though they are certainly welcome). $12.
4120 Berkshire Lane N; 763.559.0257
Eggs Benedict—poached eggs, ham on English muffins with hollandaise sauce—is a brunch superstar; rich as all get-out and therefore perfect for the glorious gluttony of brunch. Lucky’s 13 Pub does a marvelous Minnesota version with our state fish instead of the ham. The walleye is blackened on the outside, flaky and tender on the inside; a tomato slice adds welcome moistness and a touch of sweet-tart. The hollandaise is also updated with lemon-pepper, which is feistier than the regular stuff ($10.99). The Bloodies are fantastic, and there are four different kinds: traditional, horseradish, jalapeño and bacon. Get a “flight” and taste them all. $10.
3000 Harbor Lane N.
Original Pancake House
The apple pancake at the Original Pancake House is justifiably famous; it’s the size of a newborn and just as sweet! The puffy baked pancake is topped with caramelized granny smith slices oozing butter, sugar and cinnamon. The tender pancake is light, eggy and touched with nutmeg. It’s worth the trek—just allow a few hours to digest. $10.50; with whipped cream or Häagen-Dazs ice cream, $1.50.
1415 County Road 101; 952.475.9151
Weekend Buffet brunch
Tea House Chinese
Here’s a fun adventure: Chinese brunch. Some things are familiar, many are not: go out on a limb and educate your palate. Chicken congee, a sort of porridge, is a popular breakfast item in China; you can also sample Chinese egg pancakes as well as all sorts of dumplings, soups and other more familiar fare, like mapo tofu, which is nicely spicy, refusing to pander to the notorious Minnesotan preference for blandness. The digs were recently remodeled and looking fab. It gets crowded quickly so get your tushies out of bed and to the Tea House post-haste. $13.50.
88 Nathan Lane; 763.544.3422