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About The Author


Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 10 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is an online content producer for and the Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their three dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: April 30, 2014

Brunch: 26 places to do it right in Portland

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Eggs Florentine is a popular brunch dish at The Porthole Restaurant on Portland’s waterfront. (Press Herald file photo)

Brunch: It’s what we do in Portland on weekends. Whether we jump up ready to start the day with exercise, or drag our sorry selves out of bed — possibly regretting (ahem) beverage choices made the night before — chances are we’ll be sitting down to a plate of eggs or pancakes sometime before noon. Preferably accompanied by both coffee and a cocktail. We could also be tucking into huevos rancheros, fried chicken and waffles, Caribbean-spiced corned beef hash or crepes — just a few of the widely varied dishes found on brunch menus around the city. We’ve rounded up 26 restaurants where brunch is not just a noun, it’s a verb. As in, “Let’s brunch.” To which the answer should always be, “Yes!”

The queen of brunch cocktails

A standout Bloody Mary is almost mandatory at brunch. To customize theirs, some local bartenders go over the top with mix-ins and add-ons. Take a look at these:

Bodacious bloodies: hot brunch cocktails with something more


Where to brunch in Portland

Vignola Cinque Terre

10 Dana St. 772-1330; 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The contemporary Italian menu includes various antipasti, egg dishes, salads and pizza. A signature cocktail, the Vig-osa, features Grand Marnier, fresh OJ and prosecco.



The Corner Room

110 Exchange St. 879-4747; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Harding Lee Smith’s Italian restaurant offers an “abbondanza” of options at brunch, from fried-to-order donuts and Italian French toast to pizza, pasta and panini.




83 Exchange St.; 207-772-7774; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Latin-leaning choices include huevos rancheros, Johnny’s tri pork Cuban sandwich, empanadas and fish tacos.



Petite Jacqueline

190 Exchange St.; 207-553-7044; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. French bistro classics dominate the menu: soupe a l’oignon; a variety of crepes; croque madame and pastries are among the options.




98 Portland St.; 207-774-0005; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Where locals go for omelets and benedicts, but also for dark chocolate waffles and seafood bisque.




Five Fifty-Five

555 Congress St.; 207- 761-0555; 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. A small, balanced menu includes steak and eggs, fish and chips, or simpler options like a cheese plate and granola with fruit and yogurt.



Blue Spoon

89 Congress St.; 207-773-1116; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. This neighborhood bistro serves creative takes on classic egg dishes, sandwiches and salads.





58 Pine St.; 207- 772-1110; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The whimsical menu changes regularly, but may include housemade cinnamon and sugar pop tarts, smoked salmon croque monsieur and egg creams.



Local 188

685 Congress St.; 207-761-7909; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Options include Caribbean spiced corned beef hash with eggs, smoked salmon bagel plate, burgers and salads.



The Front Room

73 Congress St.; 207-773-3366. One of Portland’s most popular brunches is a daily event, served from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu ranges from baked beans and brown bread with eggs and biscuits and gravy to salads and sandwiches.



Schulte & Herr

349 Cumberland Ave. 207-773-1997; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Portland’s only German restaurant serves a rib-sticking brunch that includes potato pancakes with house cured salmon, bratwurst with sauerkraut and the “Sunday roast” with potato dumplings and gravy.



Eventide Oyster Co.

86 Middle St. 207-774-8538. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday, so restaurant folks can also take advantage of a changing menu that always includes oysters and at least one dish starring pork belly.



Hot Suppa!

703 Congress St., 207-871-5005. This fun-loving restaurant serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., when we’ll call it brunch. The house specialty is corned beef hash and it’s one of the few places in town with grits on the menu.



Brian Boru

57 Center St.; 207-780-1506; 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The menu features hearty egg dishes, sandwiches and pub fare that pairs well with beer or with $2 Bloody Marys.



Bayou Kitchen

543 Deering Ave. 207-774-4935; Breakfast/brunch served Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just off the peninsula, this Cajun food haven serves gumbo, red beans and rice and a host of omelets, including Mudbug Madness (crawfish, cheddar and homemade salsa).



The Porthole

Custom House Wharf; 207-773-4653. 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday. The menu at this waterfront mainstay is centered on ramped-up diner classics such as steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy and the Casco Bay omelet – lobster, crab, tomatoes, arugula and local goat cheese with lemon hollandaise.



MJ’s Wine Bar

One City Center; 207-772-1400. Not a traditional brunch, MJ’s “Sunday Funday” means $3 make-your-own waffles and $3 glasses of bubbly, starting at 10 a.m. Not at all a bad way to start the day.




505 Fore St., 207-772-8242; Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sophisticated takes on classic Mexican egg dishes, all of which go beautifully with one of the specialty margaritas, such as blood orange or habanero watermelon.




231 York St. 207-747-4166; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The menu changes regularly, but may include duck confit hash with eggs, lobster eggs benedict and flat iron steak and eggs cooked sous vide.




111 Middle St. 207-747-5307; 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Husband and wife chefs Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez do brunch Italian style at this rustic-chic gem. Try the classic spaghetti carbonara or fritelle — the Italian version of pancakes, with orange marmalade, maple syrup and vanilla cream.




40 Washington Ave. 207-772-0360; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. From the Hashpipe Burrito (veggie burger, sauteed tofu, veggies, vegan cheddar and bbq sauce) to Moonstruck Toast, the menu at fun-loving Silly’s literally has something for everyone.



Central Provisions

414 Fore St. 207-805-1085; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Go for the signature “bread and butter,” sourdough pancakes or the crudo that helped land chef Chris Gould’s restaurant a spot on Bon Appetit magazine’s list of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America 2014.



Local Sprouts Cooperative

649 Congress St. 207-899-3529; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Portland’s vegan Mecca has brunch options for meat eaters too. Options run the gamut from breakfast sandwiches and tofu scrambles to vegan cinnamon rolls.



El Rayo Taqueria

101 York St. 207-780-8226; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dunk churros in your coffee or dig into migas (eggs scrambled with tortillas, salsa and cheese), breakfast burritos and other Mexican favorites.



Little Tap House

106 High St.; 207-518-9283; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The menu includes benedicts, biscuits and gravy, crab cakes, burgers and salads with some pub favorites too. The tap line-up changes often.



Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe

23 Forest Ave.; 207-774-9698; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Egg dishes, including several different benedicts, fruit pancakes, waffles and “satanic eggs” (deviled eggs with various fillings), plus creative brunch cocktails, draw a crowd of local fans.

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