What Is the History of Brunch?

The word “brunch” is a combination of “breakfast” and “lunch” – a breakfast-lunch hybrid if you will. It is typically eaten in lieu of these two separate meals. The low-energy culture around brunch has turned it into a wholesome meal in itself and is usually served from late morning to afternoon.

But, have you ever wondered about the history of brunch? How did this meal come into being? Interestingly enough, it involves not just bacon and eggs, but also a revolutionary movement in the women’s workforce.

The History of Brunch

Connoisseurs of brunch buffets may have heard different stories about the origin of the meal. According to some, it used to be a part of the English tradition of feasting after a hunt. Other stories claim that it came from the Catholic tradition of fasting before attending church and then indulging in a big lunch afterward. Many New Yorkers also believe that the concept of a Sunday brunch originated in the city, thanks to the amazing breakfast and lunch choices after a long night out.

Regardless of the theories about the history, it is a known fact that it was an ingenious wordsmith named, Guy Beringer, who combined the words “breakfast” and “lunch” together to create the word “brunch” way back in 1895.

In a publication called Hunter’s Weekly, he famously wrote that post-church Sunday meals shouldn’t be long or full of heavy meats and cheese, but a lighter spread is ideal for a late breakfast. And although Beringer did come up with the term “brunch,” he did not create the meal itself.

Traditional brunches were a lavish affair, consisting of both savory and sweet items. Eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit were a staple at these gatherings.

Since the early days, dining spots across New York have served some of the best brunch dishes, such as eggs benedict and bagels. Today, these are considered a classic in every weekend brunch menu.

Brunch Buffet in the 1930s

Brunch became huge in America in the 1930s when Hollywood stars started undertaking train journeys from New York to California for their publicity tours. During these long trips, they’d stop in Chicago to enjoy a meal late in the morning. This convenient timing allowed them to catch up on their sleep. Needless to say, the trend caught on.

Soon, hotels started serving brunch to cater to this need as most restaurants would be closed on Sundays. Then came World War II, when fewer people were attending Sunday morning church services and instead, were looking for an activity that would allow them to sleep till late without missing a meal. And brunch it was!

Thanks to the rising popularity of this meal, restaurants caught up to the hotels soon enough and started offering spreads of food and signature morning cocktails, such as Bloody Marys, mimosas, and bellinis.

The emergence of brunch can also be attributed to a major movement of progress for American women. When women started entering the workforce, they felt they needed a break from cooking full-course meals daily, and pushed the family to go out for a meal on Sundays.

Brunch Buffet Today

The 1980s witnessed a rising brunch culture that continues to influence menus even today. It was the age of conspicuous consumption and extravagant buffets.

Modern-day brunches may have gained popularity due to their presence in pop culture a la, the ladies in Sex and the City. It comes as no surprise that Food & Wine magazine named New York City the best brunch city in the US. After all, eggs benedict, the most popular dish of the unique meal, did originate there. Other local favorites include smoked sturgeon, Nova lox, and pancakes.

Apart from the Big Apple, brunch is big in Atlanta. It includes dishes that highlight Southern influences, such as fried chicken benedict served with buttermilk biscuits. Las Vegas is also well-known for serving lavish, all-you-can-eat buffets during this time of day that includes high-end, luxury food items like crabs, lobsters, and oysters.

Many of these buffets often serve unlimited or “bottomless” cocktails. This concept has been a huge hit amongst brunch lovers but comes with a one or two-hour limit before the cocktails make an appearance again.

Best Dishes You’ll Find on a Typical Weekend Brunch Menu

Brunch menus typically feature several sweet and savory dishes. Some of the most common items are:

  • Eggs: Eggs benedict, fried eggs, omelets, and breakfast burritos
  • Bread: Pancakes, waffles, French toast, burgers, and sandwiches
  • Pastries and croissants: Donuts, cinnamon rolls, banana bread, scones, carrot cake, coffee cake, and other baked items
  • Fruit: Apples, melons, berries, and citrus fruits are often served as side dishes. They are also served with French toast, waffles, pancakes, and yogurt.
  • Drinks: Bloody Marys, mimosas, margaritas, bellinis, lemonades, and good ol’ coffee.

Looking for Restaurants Near You with Brunch? Visit Our Restaurant in Wilkes-Barre

Brunch is everyone’s favorite weekend meal and the team at Bank+Vine in Wilkes-Barre gets that! If you’re looking for a restaurant near you with brunch, your search should stop at Bank+Vine.

Stop into our place during the weekend and enjoy some of the most delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients and a lot of care.

Make your reservations at Bank+Vine today to savor a meal in an incredible ambiance!

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