Brunch Review: Tupelo Honey Cafe

Several (maybe more than several) months ago, my roommate and I went to visit my sister in Charlotte, North Carolina. While down there, my sister took up to a really great brunch spot. So great, that I have sporadically tweeted about that one time I ate there months ago since then. I have been waiting my fair turn to get to go back. And then Jesus – or a person named Avery, who is basically a brunch Jesus – answered my prayers/tweets.

The restaurant of my brunch dreams was opening about an hour and a half away from me, and they wanted me to come up for brunch. Praise be. My immediate response was, “Do you need me right now? I can be there right now. I’ll just come now and wait outside,” but was able to gather myself and articulate my excitement in a way that (hopefully) didn’t make me seem obsessed.

What made this trip even better was I was allowed to gather up a crew and host six of us there for brunch. Thankfully everyone who came with me was just as excited as I was about welcoming Tupelo Honey Café to Arlington.

I’d just like to put this out there on the brunch table now: I ate a lot that day. Please keep your judging to a minimum, as you’d have done the same in my seat.

Now, onto first course (yes, there were brunch appetizers because Tupelo loves you).

For the six of us, we got fried green tomatoes over grits, sweet potato hash, and a plate of pecan crusted goat cheese with bread.

I gravitated to the fried green tomatoes initially, as I have had them before and was excited reunite them with my taste buds. Like you’d know if you’ve read my review of Social 52, I don’t really like grits, but will eat them when served. Well – I take that back. I LOVE grits, but only when they’re done well. These grits had goat cheese mixed into it, which gave the grits a much creamier consistency. That consistency was the yin to the yang of the crunch of the fried coating of the tomatoes. Lush.

The sweet potato hash gave me a severe throwback to the lamb hash of Queenstown Public House in San Diego. I loved how fresh this dish was and that they bulked it up with an egg.

And don’t even get me started on the goat cheese with the dates and apples, as it was basically dessert with how sweet it was. Cazey sums it up perfectly, “Make sure the goat cheeses grits end up somewhere on your plate, but not too much, or else you’ll be overwhelmed by the richness.”

Our main brunch courses at Tupelo Honey

The six dishes we had arriving to our table to try were:

  • Two orders of the sweet potato pancakes
  • One order of the shoo mercy omelet
  • One super southern breakfast bowl
  • One genuine country breakfast
  • One chicken sandwich with roasted potatoes with jalapeno aioli

In an effort to speed up the review, all I will say about the sweet potato pancakes are that they are their signature dish for a reason and we ordered two orders of them because we knew we’d never regret that. I don’t care if you order it as a side to share with your table or as your meal, but you really need to have it in your stomach before leaving Tupelo. That’s my rule for you.

I ordered the shoo mercy omelet, which Cazey described as, “the size of a premature infant.” While I may not have selected that exact description on my own, it was fitting. It was probably about a pound of meat, shacking up with jalapenos, pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes in a huge fluffy egg. There’s definitely a lot going on in this omelet, but all the flavors compliment each other and don’t compete for your attention.

I was also really impressed with Cazey’s breakfast bowl, which was a fresh take on huevos rancheros. Instead of heavy black beans and sausage, it featured grits, black-eyed peas, bacon and fresh salsa. I keep using the word fresh, but the bowl is truly the definition of fresh in taste and ingredients.

Since I’m now drooling all over my keyboard and am at risk of drowning my computer, I’ll let one of my fellow bruncher sum up our trip to Tupelo:

My North Carolina friends were right, Tupelo Honey is excellent. The atmosphere is warm and comforting, like their food. As a vegetarian, I had plenty of tasty options. I highly recommend the fried green tomatoes with goat cheese grits. I will be back for more and recommending it to my friends.
— Rebecca H.


Agreed, Rebecca. Friends – go to Tupelo Honey and you’ll never regret it. And Tupelo Honey, do a girl a favor and open in Richmond.