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The National Trend Includes Charleston
It’s not uncommon to see lines of people wrapping around popular breakfast and brunch destinations in Charleston and around the country. This is true not only on weekends, as we saw more in the past, but during the week, as well.
Several factors are driving the trend, going back to 2008 and the Great Recession. During that time, people were seeking a better value when dining out. Lunch, as opposed to dinner, and especially breakfast served all day, fit the bill. Changes in traditional 9 to 5 hour workforce and a burgeoning millennial and senior citizen clientele are especially drawn to the menu format. The ability to linger and savor a more diverse breakfast menu for longer periods of time also increased the appeal of indulging in a mimosa or a Bloody Mary and other less conventional “breakfast or brunch’ cocktails.
A recent report from statista.com reveals exactly what folks are looking for when they’re eating breakfast or brunch at a restaurant forecast by professional chefs for 2018. Leading the list are ethnic inspired breakfasts. In the survey, 63% of respondents are interested in “ethnic inspired” breakfast items that might include Asian-flavored syrups, Chorizo scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes. Forty five percent cited avocado toast, 39% cited traditional ethnic breakfast, 36% cited overnight oats, and 29% cited breakfast hash as likely breakfast trends this year.
But the hottest of all is perhaps one of the oldest favorites on the breakfast books, the humble potato. Side Delights reported potatoes as a favorite growing brunch trend as consumers continue to embrace brunch beyond the weekend. According to Side Delights, “Brunch is a top food trend in 2018 for restaurant goers and home cooks, with the four top breakfast components being eggs, potatoes, bacon and bread.”
We conducted a survey with 5,000 of our Facebook followers (almost all based in greater Charleston) asking them what they look for in brunch or breakfast when dining out.
Here are some of their responses:
Dewey Kirkland: “Bacon and booze. Rich Hollandaise over cured meats and crunchy, buttery, toasted bread. What’s not to love?”
Stephanie Philips: “I love brunch! I mainly eat it on the weekends, but would eat it any day. I don’t know a girl who doesn’t love a mimosa or any variation on it. I agree on bacon and am also a big fan of country ham.”
Kimberl Drake: “Brunch is awesome, but breakfast for dinner is the absolute best. As a southern girl, bacon makes breakfast.”
Stephen Ulak: “Something on the light side and different. Maybe avocado toast, an open-faced egg sandwich, something with an egg on top and the yolk runs all over, cornmeal pancakes, breakfast sandwiches with a variety of bread choice and vegetable based rather than bacon, sausage or ham, and bowls with fruts, nuts and yogurt.”
Genny Smoak: “Shrimp and grits for both brunch and for dinner. Mimosas with brunch.
Judy Bernstein: “I’m not a huge brunch person per se, but there are times when breakfast food is just what you need. After a long day of travel, I want a warm, gooey omelet. When I’m sick, cinnamon toast is my comfort food. When I need something light, it’s scrambled eggs. For these reasons, I love places that serve breakfast all day.”
Melanie Neichin: “I find it romantic to dine with someone after sleeping in and going out for yummy food. Eggs Benedict, bread basket with strawberry butter, omelets with potatoes and great coffee and I am in.”
Judith C. Johnson: “I think that brunch as an all day affair should include veggies. I love omelets with lots of greens and cheese, too. Here in the South, be prepared to be served buttery grits or even cheesy grits.”
Shelley Mahon Wood: “My favorite brunch item is eggs Benedict. A gourmet omelet bar is nice as well. If I were to have a cocktail, it would probably be a good Bloody Mary.”
Responses to similar questions from Toast! General Manager Andrew Abernathy reflect the opinions and preferences of those queried here and general national trends. At Toast, which serves breakfast all day (along with Toast of West Ashley and Toast of Summerville), Abernathy says Mimosa’s and Bloody Mary’s are the most popular beverage. Eggs Benedict, Eggs Meeting Street (an indulgent stack of fried green tomato, a crab cake, poached egg and remoulade sauce), and the garden omelet are the most popular breakfast choices. Stuffed French toast and surf and turf are also very popular with the Toast crowd, which he describes as “customers of all different ages and from a variety of countries.” Every day peak hours are from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Nearby Eli’s Table also serves elegant breakfast options seven days a week and it is served until 3 p.m.