As a mom, I get a kick out of those t-shirts that say “But first…brunch.” Seriously, if you are a mom you know “but first” includes a whole heap of other things like diaper duty, sibling spat intervention, shushing during worship service, hair detangling, and possibly fishing small toys out of the toilet. And when you finally do get to brunch it’s quite possible that you will not remember what you ate anyway because you were so busy buttering someone else’s biscuit (or preventing it from landing across the table).
Still, all moms deserve brunch. And the great thing about brunching in Columbia is that no one really cares whether your kids have on their perfectly pressed smocked dresses or a tutu, unicorn headband and several hundred bangle bracelets (or all of that at the same time). Last year, my Columbia SC Moms Blog colleague, Kimberly Poovey rounded up eight family-friendly brunch spots. Now I’m serving up eight more options, from the newcomers to the traditional.
So throw that hair into a messy bun and dig in:
Owner Kiki Cyrus is not only a South Carolina Chef Ambassador, she is also a mom. Which means she knows a thing or two about feeding a family. Her spot is the first in the Columbia area to serve up the famed dish of chicken and waffles. The chicken is crispy, the waffle is sweet and there is that option of drizzling syrup over the top. Even if your children prefer to separate the various components of their meal, they may leave a happy (albeit sticky) Kiki’s deveotee. There are also plenty of other options on the menu, but definitely go for the signature dish the first time.
Lexington mamas likely know about this traditional breakfast eatery located in an old mill. It’s worth venturing up the road a piece for some traditional fare. They offer pancakes, French toast, breakfast bowls and more at affordable prices. They also have the “Junior & Senior” Breakfast for those who want a smaller portion.
With locations on Devine Street and in Irmo, Urban Cookhouse offers fresh, local ingredients and tasty, healthy fare. They “get” Columbia families, because the president of Urban Cookhouse (yep, of all of ‘um, even outside SC) is a local Columbia dad. Kids will love the menu, but you might find the Veggie Quesadilla or the Pepper Patch Salad to become an obsession of your very own. Bonus: both locations have a drive through in case you find yourself shuttling someone who decided to take nap time early and/or someone who left home without shoes.
You might know Za’s for its fam-pleasing pizzas and salads, but they also have an amazing brunch menu and a relaxed, kid-friendly vibe. Their breakfast bowl is a decadent combination of hashbrowns, spinach & artichoke dip, cheddar cheese and two eggs over easy on top. Also noteworthy: the BLT on a toasted baguette with Gruyere cheese and the “mimosa kit” (yes, please!). The outdoor patio area is spacious and pleasant. Outdoor seating is key if you happen to be accompanied by someone who will be brunching from a stroller or cannot sit still for five minutes.
There’s something about this place that will make you feel like you are on vacation in your own backyard. Perhpas it’s the happily bustling yet relaxed atmosphere and the pale blue shutters. Or maybe it’s the sight of families lingering over decadently huge cinnamon rolls, breakfast sandwiches and steaming hot coffee. Regardless, arrive early to get a table (and a coveted parking spot).
A new Forest Acres location recently joined the Devine Street location, and both open at 6 a.m. (which is excellent news for parents of early risers). Traditional and tasty offerings like perfectly-cooked eggs, bacon and grits are quick to arrive. The seemingly endless stream of coffee (and kids coloring sheets, thank you very much) will keep everyone alert and happy. This is the spot to fuel your crew quickly and heartily.
This might just be the only place in town where your kids will ask for the veggie plate. And, yes, the menu counts mac and cheese as a veggie but also count on them gobbling up baby limas, black eyed peas, squash and dozens of other options. And everyone leaves happy because how can you not smile when your waitress calls you sweetie?
Another sleeper agent on the brunch front is Henry’s. Don’t just think of it for an adult night out with friends or a late dinner while watching the ball game. Henry’s’ brunch game is strong, and with locations on Devine Street and in Cayce, you are not far from delicacies like hearty omlettes, Crab Cakes Benedict and Biscuits with Gravy. And I promise, no one will give you side eye because you have your kids in tow.
So hurry up and unload the dishwasher, check your email, take that stroller around the block a couple times, locate the missing shoe in the floorboard of your car, and then, then, sweet mama … brunch!
What is your favorite family-friendly brunch spot?
Looking for more options? For a list of over 500 Columbia area restaurants, including more brunch spots, visit ExperienceColumbiaSC.com.