Eggs came first, but now poultry takes its turn on
the brunch menu.
By Karen Weisberg
Brunch has long been an American
tradition associated with serving the
comfort foods of our agrarian heritage.
Eggs, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, pork,
sausage and smoked meats were—and
often still are—the requisite components
of this leisurely weekend meal.
Many establishments menu brunch as
an all-you-can-eat buffet, but a growing
number of restaurateurs have created
à la carte menus with occasional specials
that more closely resemble their lunch and
dinner offerings, appropriately downsized
and therefore more affordably priced.
Rock Salt Roasted
Chicken with Roasted
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
and Asparagus is a popular
item on the prix fixe brunch
menu at Jonathan at
The chicken or the egg
Eggs certainly have been central to any
brunch menu, while chicken and other
poultry dishes were the rare birds. But
that’s all changing as today’s savvy
“brunchistas” are increasingly receptive to
new yet comfortable concepts.
Ina Pinkney, chef/owner of Ina’s in
Chicago, points out that chicken not being
a traditional part of breakfast just isn’t so,
as she recently (and profitably) discovered.
Long recognized for its extensive breakfast
menu ranging from cheese blintzes to
gingerbread pancakes, Ina’s was also
open for dinner until the recent economic
downturn dictated a suspension of that
service. But what should she do about
menuing her famous fried chicken? To
add it to her breakfast (and brunch) menu,
she’d heard it must be served with waffles.
“Well, we did our research and learned
the combination dated to the Harlem
Renaissance [1919-1940], when musicians
from the South played all night and by
dawn were hungry for chicken but also
wanted breakfast,” Pinkney says. “Now,
lots of places, like Roscoe’s House of
Chicken ’n Waffles in Los Angeles, do
chicken and waffles, so I aimed to make a
healthier, better-tasting version.”
Purchasing 3 pounds of natural, barely
processed chicken (without giblets), she
takes a skin-on, bone-in, back out piece