The two months right before Richmond Brunch Weekend are both the best and the most expensive, as Sara and I try to tackle brunch reviews at all of our newly participating restaurants. This year has been crazy so far as we have more than 40 restaurants onboard. Words do not do justice for how grateful we feel toward these restaurants for a.) giving back to VCU Massey Cancer Center and b.) helping grow a little dream Sara and I had three years ago just to get people to hear about our blog.
This past weekend my parents came up to tour the VMFA’s Terracotta Warriors Exhibit (which is open through March 11). My parents actually aren’t big brunchers, and my mom didn’t even know what a mimosa was until last year. When a waitress brought me coffee, my mom asked what it was. I told her vodka. So I take back saying they aren’t “big brunchers.” They aren’t brunchers. Period.
I chose Strawberry Street Café because it’s a.) close to the VMFA and b.) this is their first year participating in Richmond Brunch Weekend. We’re thrilled to have this quintessential Fan District restaurant on our list.
First things first, café is a bit of a misnomer. Strawberry Street is an actual restaurant and bar. Don’t come here if you’re looking for a quaint latte. They probably serve that, but you’d selling yourself and them short.
Strawberry Street is most notorious for its bathtub brunch bar. (“Notorious” is supposed to mean something is famous and bad, so I try to avoid using that word too flippantly, but I think their brunch bar in a bathtub is famous and it can’t be good for your waistline.) Legitimately, there is a detached bathtub in the center of the restaurant stocked full of Smithfield ham, lox, cheese, beets, and other tasty assortments (“beets” is probably a weird thing to say “and other tasty assortments,” but I find beets tasty). Around the bathtub is the rest of the brunch club: eggs, bacon, sausage, potato hash, biscuits, donuts, cinnamon rolls, bagels, salad, etc.
Sara and I had been to Strawberry Street Café once years prior and separately. At that time, we both indulged in the brunch bar, and we remembered being underwhelmed. I actually visited on New Year’s Day 2014, and I think I was seeking coffee more than food after the night’s endurance challenge, so the brunch bar was probably a poor selection.
I briefly contemplated not getting the brunch bar this time around, but I am a sucker for a deal, and the bar contains basically everything on the menu plus more, and I hate seeing someone’s food come and thinking, “Darn, I wish I got that.” Therefore, you guessed it, I went for the bar again as did my mom ($13 for the tub; dig in!).
Sara, on the other hand, ordered the fried green tomato eggs benedict ($10). Fried green tomatoes are not on the brunch bar, I will hand that to her. But there are eggs and biscuits and non-fried, non-green tomatoes.
Katherine, my roommate, also joined us for brunch and ordered the café classic—two eggs; ham, bacon, or sausage; and an English muffin plus a side ($8). Both Katherine and Sara ordered the cheddar hash browns with onions as their side, which I would have also ordered—but guess what? It’s on the bar! I’m shook. (But honestly…including cheddar and fried onions in hash browns automatically—that’s not just smart; that’s darn right intelligent.)
My dad surprised me the most and did not get the bar. My dad is one of those people who will always go for a salad bar. Again, he’s not a bruncher, but because the bar includes lettuce and cucumbers, I was prepared for him to wow my friends with multiple plates piled high with greens, devoured in quick succession. My dad’s most frequent complaint is, “I never make it past the salad bar.”
Today he just didn’t make it to the salad bar. He ordered the veggie omelet with fruit ($8.50). Which you can sorta see that salad spirit peeking through, eh?
Our food came promptly. My mom and I had that awkward dance where “well, we could eat now because we got the brunch bar” while everyone else waited for the food, but it wasn’t a long wait. We had good coffee to hold us over. (Again, Strawberry Street isn’t a traditional café, but the coffee might be able to go head-to-head with, say, Lamplighter.)
We hope you’ll check out Strawberry Street Café during Richmond Brunch Weekend! They’ll be participating on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25. 15% from every meal (including beverages) will be donated back to VCU Massey Cancer Center, so that’s extra reason to indulge in that bathtub brunch bar and order a few extra mimosas.
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