Great Brunch Spots To Meet Your Late-A*s Friends
photo credit: Madelynne Boykin
Catching up with friends over brunch is a legitimate Atlanta pastime. The only thing that has and continues to hamper the joys of midday eggs and waffles are your late-a*s friends—we all have at least one friend or family member who notoriously shows up 45 minutes late to everything with no remorse. And of course, many brunch spots will refuse to seat you until (le sigh) “Everyone in your party is present,” which adds to the agonizing wait times for the hangry and hung over. You could pick better friends or you could pick restaurants better suited for their trifling a*ses.
photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee
This counter service taco haunt in Piedmont Heights is an Atlanta brunch sleeper. There are a few breakfast taco additions to the normal Tex-Mex favorites, which help account for a crowded morning taco scene. But the biggest menu win is via a tray of tasty little round pancakes that look like McDonald’s flapjacks but put real bonafide pancake places to shame (don’t overlook the pastries either). Sure, take your place in line to order when your friend texts you, “Be there soon.” But since orders are out quickly to the tables and you know that text really translates to “I’m 30 minutes behind,” we’d suggest hitting the margarita window for drinks while you wait. Then, take a seat in the bright, spacious interior or covered outdoor patio.
Politan Row’s food hall is perfectly suited for a group of brunch veterans to divide and conquer all the stalls while avoiding the awkward tab-splitting conversation. Sunday breakfast specials like creamy grits topped with pan-fried catfish or heavily dressed waffles are added to an already full mix of menu lunch items in the popular Midtown destination. Get-in-where-you-fit-in seating offers plenty of options to crew up, including big leather loungers by the bar, outdoor patio seating, or even the lawn space to set up an impromptu picnic. On Sundays, Colony Square hosts Drag Queen Bingo, so you can play a few rounds until your unpunctual person decides to make an appearance.
photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker
Taking over what we vaguely remember was an old Blockbuster in a Chamblee shopping center and adding walls of framed green plants, Belle & Lily’s serves all our favorite Pan-Caribbean breakfast staples. We’re fans of the St. Lucian saltfish with subtly sweet and airy fried bakes. Bring some friends so you can also share other items like Jamaican ackee and callaloo and french toast made from coconut bread. The space never gets too packed, so securing a table for a mid-size party over the weekend will be easier than getting all your friends on board for that group trip to Negril you’ve been trying to plan since 2017. Just order a couple of sorrel mimosas, sink into a wall booth, and listen to the soca tunes while you wait.
Yes, star sightings are part of the lure at this Midtown dining staple in the Four Seasons, but on Sunday mornings, you’ll be way more fixated on their elaborate brunch spread of crab claws, red velvet waffles, made-to-order omelets, and several carving stations. Other than holidays, the place is usually low-key with just a few other diners, so they won’t make you wait for your entire party’s arrival before you get seated. But we still suggest a reservation so that you can snag a coveted table on the spacious mezzanine area located above the grand staircase. Here’s the best place to people-watch and sip your Bar Margot bellini, which we’d happily do solo anyway.
photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker
Some things in Atlanta are pretty predictable. For example, the self-checkout at your neighborhood Kroger will malfunction when you’re in a hurry and weekend brunch wait times will be at least 45 minutes. That’s why we’re thankful for Le Bon Nosh’s counter service brunch. Since plates are out of the kitchen relatively fast, tables flip quickly. The Buckhead spot is perfect for an impromptu breakfast gathering since a small crew can walk in and easily find a seat inside the French-inspired cafe or covered patio (they also have open seating upstairs when things get crowded). Order a lavender latte and the cardamom cake from the pastry counter until all your friends arrive, then go for heartier items like omelets and shakshouka when you’re ready.
photo credit: Mhandy Gerard
Drive by the Cumberland Copeland’s on a weeknight, and you might see a tumbleweed in the parking lot. But their weekend brunch buffet consistently brings a crowd with people lining up outside before it opens. Since we know damn well our friend who claims they left 20 minutes ago is still in bed, we like to get a headstart on the buffet line that snakes through the dining area. They’ve got all the breakfast favorites, including jambalaya pasta, oysters, and an omelet station with toppings like shrimp and jalapeños. If etiquette won’t allow you to eat without your crew, pass the time with mimosas or a heavy-handed Hurricane instead.
photo credit: Amy Sinclair
Ditch the long waits and usual breakfast crowds with a paid reservation at this Ponce City Market rooftop restaurant for their weekend brunch. If you're gasping at the $25 paid per person reservation, it includes admission to the rooftop and is fully applied toward your food and drink purchases—you know your crew can and has easily absorbed that much or more on a bar tab alone. Their monkey bread makes a perfect starter to share with those that came on time. And with impressive skyline views of the city, it’s an ideal backdrop for group pictures. Just make sure to take at least one group picture early to tag and shame the latecomers.
photo credit: Ryan Aaron
Your friend will arrive blathering on about traffic and not being able to find a parking spot. And this might actually be true since the lot off East Andrews in Buckhead is always a tight squeeze. But since the relaxed Australian cafe takes reservations (a rarity for brunch) and is never too busy, you can comfortably settle at your table and scan their lengthy cocktails and cafe menu as you wait. The quiet venue won’t have much people-watching, but this uber-wealthy corner of Buckhead always promises an interesting conversation within earshot. We suggest sharing an order of fries with the black garlic aioli because it’s easier to stomach their excuses over tasty finger foods.
photo credit: Caleb Jones
With an always lively rooftop scene, getting a table on Drawbar’s first come, first served patio isn’t something you want to hedge your bets on. Sure, maybe your friend will show up on time, and maybe a group of diners will clear out just as you swoop in to claim their patio table. We won’t knock you for your foolish optimism, but we will still suggest keeping a flexible mindset. Know you can grab a pastry and coffee at the nearby Saint Germain French Bakery counter should, gasp, your friend arrive 45 minutes after your agreed meeting time. And with plenty of indoor seating, including comfy couches and big boardroom-sized tables, spaced out across the their stylish lobby bar, know you’ll always find a place to sit for the restaurant’s American brunch menu.
photo credit: Mhandy Gerard
Since the Battery’s two-level Punchbowl is all about the games and activities, it’s easy to scoop up a big (eight person-plus) group reservation for the traditional dining area. And since not many people know about their brunch—a small selection of the usual American breakfast items like biscuits, waffles, and egg and bacon plates—you’re even more likely to walk in right at 10am for a fuss-free, no-wait meal (Just note they don’t serve brunch on Braves game days). After you eat, keep the party going on the bowling lanes, gaming tables, or in the karaoke rooms. You'll be happy to know the full service menu is available on the gaming areas as well.