Sunday brunch has undergone a total makeover. What used to be a giant ballroom filled with dessert tables, omelets to order and chafing dishes of potatoes and various leftovers from the restaurant has transformed (thanks to a younger demographic) into à la carte menus and all-you-drink rosés and bloody Marys.
Here are my favs for the one meal of the week you need before a two-hour nap on your pool float:
1990 Main St., Suite 112, Sarasota, (941) 953-2900, maderestaurant.com
My personal pick is the brisket Benedict, which comes with a toasted English muffin, a local corn hash, pepper jack cheese, "billionaire bacon," a pepper milk sausage gravy, poached eggs and a chipotle hollandaise. Decadence in every bite.
1528 State St., Sarasota, (941) 993-1435, brickssmokedmeats.com
I go for the chicken and waffles for two. While the platter is enormous, I still can barely share. It includes a near-perfectly fried half chicken, house-made buttermilk waffles and a peach habanero syrup. I am only willing to share if someone next to me orders the avocado toast—light, fresh and creamy, with chili ranch and two poached eggs.
Several locations, firstwatch.com
I never ever saw this one coming. For many years, it was just another average breakfast-lunch spot, but then came the chain's big makeover and their delicious quinoa pancakes. I'm a convert.
4900 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 359-9500, sunnysidecafesrq.com
It is the potato pancake that really gets me. It comes as a side, but I double-order it with sour cream. (If I really need some fuel, I order a Greek omelet, as well.)
115 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 220-7463
Between the lemon curd and blueberry pancakes and the corned beef hash, I might never give up my seat here. The place is spotless, serving a farm-style breakfast with outdoor seating and some of the friendliest service around. Go early, as they tend to fill up quickly and for good reason. Caramelized onions and peppers with over-easy eggs put its corned beef hash up there with the best.