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Best in Brunch: Check Out These Weekend Restaurant Destinations

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Engine Room in Mystic

With menus equal parts savory and sweet and drinks to die for, these dozen restaurants are upping the game when it comes to brunch. Eat light on Saturday so you can feast on Sunday!

Engine Room, Mystic

There’s one more b-word to add to Engine Room’s tagline of “beer, burgers & bourbon”: Brunch. And it’s hangover brunch to the fullest, so if a little hair of the dog is your remedy, this is the place. Large-format cocktail service is available for most Sunday morning concoctions, but don’t gloss over their list of brown liquor and craft beer. Soak it up with something carby like apple cinnamon French toast or biscuits & gravy, or get something they’re known for, a hangover cure burger with barbecue aioli, bacon, a sunny egg, and a big beer-battered onion ring to top it off. 14 Holmes St., 860-415-8117, engineroomct.com

Washington Prime, Norwalk

One of Connecticut’s premier steakhouses scrapped their brunch buffet and replaced it with composed dishes fit for weekend indulgences. Thick-cut bacon and eggs (with home fries) takes a popular steakhouse item and gives it a morning iteration. That cheat day menu continues with biscuits and sausage gravy, short rib and egg poutine, and a fried chicken BEC sandwich. But hey, if you’re in the mood for raw bar and a proper cut of dry-aged beef, that’s totally allowed. 141 Washington St., 203-857-1314, washingtonprimect.com

Bageutte/pork belly brunch plate from The Corner, Milford

Bageutte/pork belly brunch plate from The Corner in Milford

The Corner Restaurant, Milford

The Corner opened in 1997 and has earned praise and loyalty ever since. Awards could crowd every wall of the little space, but the vibe feels like eating in someone’s home. The kitchen made a name with its stuffed French toast, and draws diners from surrounding towns and states for brunch every Sunday. The entire menu is recommended, but keep an eye out for brunch specials, like truffle pesto spread over a toasted baguette, topped with eggs, seared pork belly, Portobello mushrooms, and crumbled bacon. 105 River St., 203-882-1150, thecornerbrunch.com

Firebox, Hartford

An anchor to the Frog Hollow neighborhood since it opened, Firebox offers an eclectic brunch menu in a newly renovated space. Heavily focused on local ingredients, you can find bread, kielbasa, cheese and vegetables from various Connecticut producers scattered across their menus. Spice up your morning with an order of honey-sriracha bacon, or satisfy your sweet tooth with their baked French toast with warm berry syrup. There are cocktails for drinkers and non-drinkers alike, including bloody marys with bacon-salted rims, and spirit-free swizzlers with pomegranate grenadine, fresh lime and soda. 539 Broad St., 860-246-1222, fireboxrestaurant.com

The Spread, Norwalk and Greenwich

Sundays at The Spread is one of the most affordable experiences in all of Fairfield County, making it a favorite for locals, bridal brunches, and mini parties of any kind. Expect lots of yolky dishes on the menu, and above-average classics like brioche French toast, eggs Benedict with bacon, and huevos rancheros. If you’re starving, crush their grass-fed breakfast burger with bacon, egg, and add jalapeños for a spicy kick. If you’re drinking, bottomless mimosas or the DIY bloody mary bar adds to The Spread’s bargain factor. Norwalk: 70 N. Main St., 203-939-1111; Greenwich: 18 W. Putnam Ave., 203-900-1887; thespreadsono.com

Elm City Social, New Haven

If you’re at one of New Haven’s hottest cocktail bars, start there, preferably with the fun (and tasty) Rubber Ducky (citra hop-infused gin, basil, grapefruit, lemon, seltzer), complete with a mini rubber ducky party favor. Gimmicky? Sure. But every drink Elm City Social mixes is professionally excellent, like their peanut butter and jelly take on an old fashioned and a tropical version of a negroni. The food is no slouch either, with decadent lobster scrambled eggs, duck confit eggs Benedict, red velvet waffles, and a Tex-Mex style steak and eggs. Chill at the bar solo or with a friend or assemble your brunch crew and hold down a table. 266 College St., 475-441-7436, elmcitysocial.com

G.W. Tavern, Washington Depot

G.W. Tavern in Washington Depot

G.W. Tavern, Washington Depot

G.W. Tavern may not be as old as its namesake in Washington Depot, but the space isn’t far off from places our first president may have dined. Fittingly, the tavern — with a comfortable, firelit bar and a rustic restaurant atmosphere — specializes in American comfort food. Their brunch is locally famous, and includes dishes like a crab cake Benedict with roasted potatoes and fresh fruit. A little late to brunch? Keep an eye out for their remoulade-dressed salmon burger and salad. 20 Bee Brook Road, 860-868-6633, gwtavern.com

Bella’s Cafe, New Haven

New Orleans-inspired Bella’s has been a fixture of artsy Westville for two decades. Owner Rose “Bella” Foote and crew turn out decadent weekend brunches with lines out the door, guests visiting from as far as Greenwich. Famed for hearty fare like eggs Benedict on a buttermilk biscuit, Foote is also known for her uncanny deconstruction of desserts into dishes such as chocolate French toast with fresh strawberries, bananas and pistachios, complemented by bourbon pecan maple syrup. 896 Whalley Ave., 203-387-7107, bellascafect.com

Cafemantic, Willimantic

The brunch menu at Cafemantic features their most popular savory small plates along with a handful of breakfast dishes, giving diners a fun opportunity to mix and match. Their commitment to sustainable, local ingredients means the menu items change frequently and the ingredients on your plate might come from right down the road. When offered, the lamb meatballs and the shrimp and grits are a solid choice. 948 Main St., 860-423-4243, cafemantic.com

Oak Haven Table & Bar, New Haven

Shakshouka at Oak Haven Table & Bar in New Haven

Oak Haven Table & Bar, New Haven

A self-described gastropub in New Haven’s Upper State Street fauxhemian ’hood. Dark and cozy, this compact space has a Williamsburg vibe sans the hipster snoot, catering to an even mix of students and locals of all ages. Fancy bottles of brown liquors crown the bar, abutting a runway of young, attentive servers. A menu standout: Tunisian-birthed shakshouka loosely translates to “all mixed up” in Arabic. Nearly poached eggs are served in a cast-iron pan, surrounded by a pool of spicy, chunky pomodoro topped by toast. Variations include eggplant, falafel and chopped peppers. 932 State St., 203-915-9413, oakhaventableandbar.com

Walrus + Carpenter, Bridgeport

This smokehouse/gastropub brings the soul when it comes to their brunch flow. You could indulge in barbecue, or you could get down with a bowl of shrimp & grits or pulled pork eggs Benny. If it’s your first visit, Walrus rocks out some of Connecticut’s juiciest, well-seasoned fried chicken, so chicken and waffles should be your jam. Wash it down with suds from their occasionally rare beer list, but don’t sleep on their cocktails. It’s a good time, and if you catch the right day, there’s live music, too. 2895 Fairfield Ave., 203-333-2733, walruscarpenterct.com

Fortina, Stamford

Pizza, at all times of the day, is acceptable. Good thing Fortina offers nearly their full menu during weekend brunch, so go ahead, order a wood-fired pie (hello, Luigi Bianco fans) or grab something more breakfasty like their bacon, egg, and burrata pie with grape jelly, or a gooey Nutella s’mores pie. Their carbonara-like breakfast pasta (egg, sausage, crunchy breadcrumbs, parmesan), or eggs in purgatory (baked eggs in marinara) with mozzarella-laden garlic bread might be able to sway even the most die-hard pizza geek. 120 Washington Blvd., 203-703-9080, fortinapizza.com/stamford

This article appeared in the March 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.