Brunch time: 11 a.m. 2 p.m. Sundays
Cost: about $15 per person, with a cocktail
The scene: If you prefer your blues in a smoky bar with a couple of whiskey shots on the side, the blues brunch at Junior's might not be for you. But if you're brave enough to don a pair of shades and venture outdoors on a bright Sunday morning, the University Village sports bar's brunch concept could strike the right note. Word about the brunch, which launched two weeks ago, is still getting out, so it's easy to score a front-row seat on the sidewalk patio where the musicians plug in. On a recent weekend, singer-guitarist Fruteland Jackson set a lazy Sunday-morning pace with his acoustic blues sets. This pedestrian-friendly stretch of Maxwell Street, with its brick-paved surface, wide sidewalks and multiple patios, is an ideal place to kick back with a pre-noon cocktail and savor the weekend.
The cuisine: When we go to a bar before 6 p.m., we usually don't expect too much from the kitchen. But by keeping the menu simple and small, Junior's delivers a surprisingly satisfying brunch. Though there are only three items on the menu, the build-your-own omelet ($8) and build-your-own breakfast sandwich ($8) options allow a degree of choice. (There's also a $7 all-American breakfast: eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage, and toast.) We went right for the build-your-own breakfast sandwiches, two scrambled eggs on a choice of bread (white or wheat toast, English muffin, or Texas toast) with a choice of cheese (cheddar, Chihuahua, Swiss or American) and meat (ham, bacon or turkey). Our bacon-and-Chihuahua sandwich on thick, lightly browned Texas toast was deliciously simple--and so huge we couldn't finish it.
Better than a bloody mary: We downed an orange mojito ($9), made with Bacardi O and a few orange slices, in record time--the bright citrus flavors were the perfect match for the drink's traditional muddled mint leaves. Plus, the fruity cocktail was a touch sweeter than a typical mojito, which helped it go down easy in the a.m. hours.
The wait: None.
Loved it: Hash browns! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and not too greasy--just right.
Hated it: Savory breakfast items definitely delivered, but there wasn't one sweet alternative. We hear an expanded brunch menu is coming with football season.
M. Kathleen Pratt is the Metromix print editor.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun