Brunch at South Congress Café
I’ll try brunch anywhere; I do not discriminate when it comes to breakfast for lunch. By the time I rolled out of bed ready to try South Congress Café, there had been a great deal of hype from yelp and other bloggers. South Congress Café, in a touristy section of South Congress Avenue, comes off as unassuming. Parking is always a hassle, and the few times that I had been there for dinner, the wait was considerable. My past experiences didn’t do wonders, the hostess didn’t wake up on the nice side of the bed, and the food wasn’t worth the wait and tight crowds. But, I hadn’t been there for brunch, so ready for a mimosa, I headed down to SoCo.
The theme of waiting continued this trip, and 45 minutes after we arrived, we nabbed a seat at the bar where I ordered my overpriced frozen peach bellini. It was mind-chillingly cold, very strong, and the peach flavor was muddled. I suppose I’m partially to blame for waking up, parking my car, and going straight to alcohol, but I still felt the drink left little to be desired.
When we were finally seated, I ordered the croque madame, which included eggs, gruyere, ham, and a cream sauce on a brioche bun, served with fries. It was good, but not life-changing. The entire dining room was crowded and loud, and I just didn’t get that homey, brunch atmosphere I would’ve hoped for. It was light and bright, which was a huge distinction from my dark dinnertime visits. My coffee was standard at best.
Overall, South Congress Café has a few things going for it – location, variety, flexibility. It is in the heart of so many small businesses, shops, and where first Thursday is home, so the foot traffic is considerable, and there is no shortage of activities to do after you eat. The menu has a wide range of cuisines, healthy or unhealthy, hot or cold, and it is easy for everyone to find something they’ll enjoy. The cookstaff is great about making alterations for allergies, and they have vegetarian options, gluten free menus, and can work with you to meet your dietary needs, which is something that some places just seem irritated to do.
I’d say it’s worth a try, but don’t expect a small bill or to get in and out. Take your time, level your expectations, and embrace the atmosphere and it’ll be a great experience.