History of Brunch in the US

Who doesn’t love brunch? It’s that perfect time of day when breakfast meets lunch, and we can shamelessly indulge in a combination of sweet and savory treats. But have you ever wondered how this mealtime tradition came to be? Let’s dive into the history of brunch and discover how it won us all over.

cinnamon bun

The story of brunch takes us back to the late 19th century when the British upper class introduced the concept of brunch as a luxurious meal to bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch.

While there are many theories on why brunch began, it is said that Guy Beringer coined the word itself by combining “breakfast” and “lunch” together to create “brunch.”

Whether it was the desire to sleep in on Sundays after a Saturday night out or just a leisurely meal to enjoy after a morning of hunting or attending church, brunchers would gather in elegant country estates or fancy London hotels to sip mimosas and nibble on an assortment of treats.

Breakfast BLT

Let it BLTE at City Works and Old Town Pour House. (thick-cut hardwood-smoked bacon, baby arugula, beefsteak tomato, sunny-side-up egg, roasted garlic aioli, toasted challah, cheesy potato casserole.)


But how did brunch make its way to the US? That credit goes to “The United States Brunch Invasion.” Ok, we might have made up the name, but it sounds epic, right? In the 1930s, it’s thought that American travelers who experienced the brunch extravaganza in Europe brought the concept back home and introduced it to their friends and families.

Many Hollywood stars were taking transatlantic flights during this time and would often toss off in places like Chicago to enjoy a midday meal. It was a meal championed by hotels since most restaurants were closed on Sundays and, with church attendance flagging after World War II, people were looking for a new social outlet that also let them sleep in a bit. Restaurants soon hopped on the bandwagon and began offering decadent spreads of food and signature morning cocktails, such as Bloody Marys, Bellinis and Mimosas.


Mimsoa Flight

Try a mimosa flight weekends from 10am – 3pm


Brunch quickly gained popularity among the elite circles in New York City. Socialites and celebrities flocked to glamorous hotels like The Plaza and The Waldorf-Astoria, where they indulged in lavish brunch spreads. It didn’t take long for the trend to trickle down to the masses, and soon enough, brunch became a beloved weekend ritual for everyday Americans.

Throughout the years, brunch has evolved and adapted to the changing tastes and trends of each era. In the 1960s and 70s, hippies and free spirits gathered in bohemian cafes to sip herbal tea and enjoy granola.

The 1980s and 90s brought about a decadent brunch revolution, with bottomless mimosa bars, towering stacks of pancakes, and Eggs Benedict.


Stuffed French Toast

Stuffed French Toast – check out our recipe at the end of this article.


Today, brunch has become a true weekend staple, with dedicated brunch spots popping up in every city and town across the country. The menu offerings have expanded to cater to every palate, from classic favorites like omelets, French toast, and bacon to innovative creations like avocado toast, cronuts, and even fully themed brunches – like City Works’ and Old Town Pour House’s Rock N’ Roll brunch.

But brunch is more than just a meal. It’s a social event, a chance to catch up with friends and a moment to unwind while enjoying life’s simple pleasures. It’s a celebration of leisure and indulgence, a time when the worries of the world can be momentarily set aside and replaced with laughter, good company, and delicious food.


Mimosa Tower and Brunch Spread

Old Town Pour House Chicago and Sweetwater have Mimosa Towers. Grab a couple of friends and try one out!


So, next time you find yourself at brunch savoring a fluffy stack of pancakes or sipping on a refreshing mimosa, take a moment to appreciate the history and evolution behind this tradition. Brunch has come a long way, and we’re happy it’s here to stay. Cheers to brunch!

If you’re craving brunch like we are, try making our Stuffed French Toast at home.