No matter the season, sleeping in on weekend mornings and going out for brunch always feels like a decadent pleasure. If you happen to be looking for late-morning nosh in Washtenaw County, here are a few of our favorite options that are sure to make your stomach growl.
20 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti
Strawberry lemon cream French toast at Beezy's.
Named for owner Bee Roll, Beezy's was an instant sensation when its doors opened in downtown Ypsilanti in 2008, and it’s been a local favorite ever since. With its emphasis on simple dishes that let locally sourced ingredients shine, Beezy’s is great for brunch any day, offering irresistible breakfast items until 2 p.m. Whether you like your brunch sweet (French toast to die for) or savory (chorizo scramble, tempeh hash, and eggs), you just can’t go wrong at Ypsi’s most beloved funky/cozy café.
306 E. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti
An omelet at Bomber.
Ypsilanti’s old-fashioned breakfast diner, Bomber Restaurant, is both a local favorite and an establishment of national note. Its stomach-stretching Bomber Breakfast – consisting of four eggs, breakfast potatoes, toast, and a grill item (seven sausage links, 10 slices of bacon, or two slices of ham) – was once featured on the Food Network. With wartime aviation memorabilia crowding the walls, model planes dangling from the ceiling, and a no-frills, homey atmosphere, Bomber offers a menu that covers all the basics while also offering some whimsical additions (looking at you, Cap’n Crunch French Toast).
1100 Catherine St., Ann Arbor
Angelo’s opened its doors in Ann Arbor back in 1956, and like an old, modest church flanked by skyscrapers, it’s staunchly held its ground for more than 60 years, right in the midst of the University of Michigan’s medical campus. The location makes parking at Angelo’s somewhat challenging, but the eatery is so universally adored that you’ll never not find people waiting to get in on Saturday and Sunday mornings. With its black-and-white tiled interior, Angelo’s big draw is its decadent French toast, as well as its waffle options (cinnamon raisin, chocolate chip, etc.). A can’t-miss.
401 Depot St., Ann Arbor
This is a favorite among in-the-know, cash-strapped college students when parents come to visit and say, “Pick a place to eat.” The Gandy Dancer is noteworthy not only for its opulent Sunday brunch buffet, but also for the building that houses it, originally known as the Michigan Central Depot and built in 1886. The Gandy Dancer – an antiquated name for a railroad track maintenance worker – offers an elegant backdrop as you decide between Belgian waffles with bananas foster, cheese blintzes, smoked salmon paté, or chilled mussels diablo. And you might even get to see and hear a train go right by the restaurant’s back windows as you dine.
2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor
Zingerman's Roadhouse eggs benedict with Newsom's country ham.
It’s hard to argue with local food scene royalty. There’s no bigger jewel in Ann Arbor’s crown than Zingerman’s, which emphasizes high-quality ingredients to achieve thoughtfully curated (and mouth-wateringly unique) flavors. The Roadhouse offers its own take on brunch basics (like corned beef hash, fresh doughnuts, and coffee cake), as well as menu items that might surprise you. The Georgia grits ’n’ bits waffle, for instance, combines classic waffles with grits, Cabot cheddar, and a mix of applewood smoked and peppered bacon. And the biscuits and chocolate-bacon gravy – well, enough said.
Barred Rock Cafe
7049 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd., Dexter
One of Dexter’s newest restaurants, the Barred Rock Cafe – named for a popular breed of chicken – is an unfussy, intimate diner. The orange walls evoke a cheerful sunrise, and charming country-home accents consist mostly of chicken- and rooster-themed decor. Yes, omelettes, frittatas, biscuits and gravy, benedicts, and you’ll-never-possibly-finish-them skillets are on the menu, but there are also savory and sweet crepes, banana Nutella pancakes, an Oreo cheesecake waffle, and cookie crunch French toast. There are loads of tempting ways to treat yourself at Barred Rock – and you’ve got to love a place that offers “late bird specials.”
The Common Grill
112 S. Main St., Chelsea
Chef Craig Common’s restaurant has been a go-to fine dining spot in downtown Chelsea for more than 25 years, but even dedicated fans might not realize the Common Grill serves Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The mouth-watering menu includes lemon ricotta pancakes, a buttermilk waffle egg sandwich, cherry wood smoked salmon hash, a shrimp and Maine lobster omelette, broiled Maryland crab cake melt, and more. (Also, for those who like a drink with their brunch, there’s the usual Bloody Mary and mimosa options, as well as the marvelous peach bellini cocktail.) The lineup is anything but common.
Zou Zou's Cafe and Coffee Bar
101 N. Main St., Chelsea
For something more casual in downtown Chelsea, consider Zou Zou’s. The French-themed, family-owned cafe offers breakfast sandwiches, quiche, a wide array of coffee drinks, beer, wine, pastries, and crepes. There's also more lunch-y fare, if you’re ready for a salad or freshly-made sandwich instead. Perfect if you’re in the mood to linger and talk with friends, or take some time for yourself to read or catch up on work.
Salt Springs Brewery
117 S. Ann Arbor St., Saline
If you want to brunch in one of Washtenaw County’s most gorgeous settings, consider Saline's Salt Springs Brewery. As the gigantic, colorful stained glass window in the main dining area might suggest, the 118-year-old building was originally a church. But these days, it’s the star of Saline’s dining scene – crowned with a huge antler chandelier, no less! Salt Springs serves an a la carte brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, offering eggs benedict, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, rave-worthy breakfast potatoes, mimosas, and more.
Two Black Sheep
115 E. Main St., Manchester
One of Manchester’s newest eateries, Two Black Sheep, got its name from its building’s former, longtime tenant – the Black Sheep Tavern. But the new owner’s focus is on providing made-from-scratch meals. With exposed brick walls and an antique bar, Two Black Sheep doesn’t put on airs, but instead provides a simple, roomy space for diners to gather around a meal. Brunch possibilities include hash brown casserole, tomato and basil quiche, and a breakfast-appropriate banana split – with granola, vanilla yogurt, and berries on top.
Jenn McKee is a freelance writer with a long history of covering arts and culture in the Ann Arbor area. She also has a pair of blogs: The Adequate Mom and A2 Arts Addict.
Beezy's photo courtesy of Beezy's.
Bomber photos courtesy of Bomber Restaurant.
Zingerman's photo by Emma Boonstra.