Let's Do BrunchDec 20, 2018 04:02PM ● By Niz Proskocil
Love weekend brunch? A better question is: who doesn’t? For many, it’s the most important, and most fun, meal of the week—a sweet, salty, savory, often boozy feast where it’s equally appropriate to enjoy eggs Benedict or a BLT and wash it all down with mimosas and bloody marys.
Across Omaha, there are plenty of places to indulge in omelets, waffles, avocado toast, and other breakfast and brunch favorites. Since opening in November 2017 in midtown's Blackstone District, Early Bird has become a go-to spot for many local brunchgoers, and not just on weekends. A modern take on the classic diner, the restaurant aims to give guests “an elevated brunch experience,” according to Ben Brigman, general manager. “We thought we could bring that whole diner feel and elevate it.”
Open daily, Early Bird offers a handful of breakfast staples and brunch favorites, along with sandwiches, salads, and other dishes. Pancakes are available in flavors ranging from chocolate chip, to blueberry, to cinnamon roll, to pineapple (and more). I opted for a pancake flight, three kinds of cakes on one plate. They were light and fluffy with golden exteriors. Mine were plenty sweet and didn’t need syrup.
The menu also includes a few types of eggs Benedict. My dining partner ordered a meatless version with spinach and asparagus. Toasted English muffin halves each held a poached egg draped with a luscious blanket of hollandaise. The sauce had just the right silky consistency, not too thin or thick. She asked for the eggs poached hard, and they arrived as specified with a firm yolk.
Grated potatoes used for hash browns are formed into a tiny cylindrical tower instead of a thin, flat layer. Although the presentation is nice, less surface area means less of the crispy, golden-brown crust that makes hash browns so good.
Diners can satisfy their doughnut cravings with doughnut holes served on a skewer or a giant doughnut the size of a plate. The sweet treats are from Bob’s Donuts next door, which shares the same building and owners as Early Bird.
Fried chicken strips are paired with a maple doughnut for a sweet-savory dish that was a hit with the youngest at our table, my friend’s 8-year-old son. He also tackled an order of tots that were hot, crispy, and just salty enough. The chicken, served with a side of turkey sausage gravy for dipping, was crunchy, golden brown, and well-seasoned.
Bright and colorful, the dining room features comfortable round booths, wood and brick accents with pops of yellow and pale blue, plus a bar with counter seating. A focal point is a mural with birds hand-painted by a local artist, a perfect complement to the relaxed, casual atmosphere. “Fun is very much a theme here,” Brigman says.
From day one, business has been brisk, he says. Hourlong waits are common, especially on weekend mornings. Brigman attributes the popularity to the broad brunch-focused menu and the prime location in Blackstone. “It’s such an up-and-coming area of town. The neighborhood is outstanding,” he says. “There’s a real sense of camaraderie.”
Early Bird 3824 Farnam St. | 402-934-5535
Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Price: $$ Overall: 3.5
Visit earlybirdbrunch.com for more information.
This article was printed in the January/February 2019 of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.