During these tough economic times going out to eat has really taken a hit. People are spending much more time at home cooking themselves. Just look at the Thanksgiving circulars and you will see virtually every retailer pushing everything from slow cookers to waffle makers to griddles. Its been widely noted that restaurant menus have become very price sensitive.
I recently read a news article in regards to brunch. Brunch has made a huge comeback in the restaurant industry during the slowdown and has developed into a growth segment. The reasons actually go back to the state of the economy. Patrons like brunch because they get a large amount of food for a reasonable price. Restaurants like brunch because it fills up their customers on items that they actually can still make money. Lots of starches, lots of potatoes, little meat. Brunch also in most cases is a “self-serve” event and therefore cuts down on salary costs. The concept is based on volume and turnover…serving a lot of food to a lot of people in a short amount of time with few personnel.
One of the trends in brunch is making it even more special with “add-on’s” such as a free Bloody Mary or Mimosa drink. By doing this, restaurants are making the dining experience even more memorable with the small cost of a pinch of alcohol.
I have been a patron of several of the brunch experiences here in Bemidji. For a no thrills dining experience, the Sunday brunch buffet at Simonson’s Café on Paul Bunyan Drive is excellent. For a mere $6.99 you can enjoy breakfasts basics such as eggs, sausage, hash browns, corn beef hash, biscuits and yummy waffle sticks and gooey caramel rolls. Your next plate can be ham with a bowl of homemade soup and mashed potatoes. For a higher end dining experience, I have enjoyed the Sunday Brunch at the Green Mill. Use one of the frequently printed ½ off coupons that appear in various publications around and the meal for two is very reasonable. The times I have been there the price has included a glass of champagne. Sometimes it is in the “bar” area and other times its in the restaurant area. When the brunch first began, crepes and omelets were made near the food, but the last time I was there you actually had to have a waiter order an omelet or crepe to be made in the kitchen area.
Other brunches I have enjoyed around the area includes Granite City Brewery’s Sunday Brunch, one which your wait person brings to your table “to die for” huge caramel rolls. They also serve some of the best thick sliced smoked bacon I have ever tasted. In the Twin Cities try Chammps, with several locations. Not only is the Sunday brunch awesome, but the “make your own Bloody Mary” bar will really “kick start” your day.
Bon appetite! And Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!