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Photos by Paul Quitoriano; shot at The Williamsburg Hotel

Need Mother’s Day Plans? 15 Brunch Ideas to Impress Mom

Give Mom what she really wants this year — a delicious whisky cocktail and brunch to celebrate her day.

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Few people are pickier than Mom — especially when it comes to brunch. But this year, you can go beyond that boring old brunch and look towards memorable, unique restaurants: Will she want an upscale dining experience with luxe ingredients or a more laid-back Southern joint that serves up chicken and waffles? What about a classic Italian joint with a fully loaded breakfast pizza?

Now that you’ve got the food on lock, it’s time to drink. But this Mother’s Day, we’re telling you to skip those flavorless bottomless mimosas (do they even have any booze in them anyway?) and treat Mom to a whisky cocktail instead. Trust us: Brunch and The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a combo you’ll come back to year after year.

In case you’re wondering where to go, we’ve rounded up our favorites in five different cities, but all of these places have at least one thing in common: a solid bar and whisky cocktails. Because we know if there’s one thing Mom really wants this Mother’s Day, it’s a drink. If you were thinking of getting her another dozen roses this time around, just remember — flowers wilt, whisky won’t.

1. The Williamsburg Hotel, New York City

96 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249

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Harvey, located inside the Williamsburg Hotel, might be home to healthiest brunch on our list. The menu is loaded with grain bowls and diet-friendly salads, like an heirloom tomato number with burrata toasts. Alternatively, if you took Mom to a spin class, you can always indulge with a wagyu beef burger, topped with bacon and onion jam, fontina cheese, and guanciale, and served with a side of barbecue fries. After brunch, pop over to the hotel bar for another drink. The bar’s tucked-away location is perfect for slowly nursing a whisky cocktail.


2. Freeman’s Restaurant, New York City

Freeman Alley, New York, NY 10002

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This modern New York classic has been a brunch staple for more than 15 years, offering up a boozy brunch like none other in the city. Located at the end of Freeman’s Alley in the Lower East Side, it’s easy to get lost trying to find the place, but you won’t feel lost upon entering. The old school, clubby feel of the restaurant is cozy and provides the perfect atmosphere for downing some of the restaurant’s famed brunch dishes. Expect starters like devils on horseback and hot artichoke dip, as well as main courses like banana buttermilk pancakes. Throw in one of their eponymous Freemans Cocktail (made with whisky, pomegranate molasses, lemon, and orange bitters) and you’re in for an unforgettable afternoon, as long as you can remember your way back to the street.


3. Morandi, New York City

211 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

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On a nice late spring day in New York City, you’ll find the sidewalk outside of Morandi to be packed, and not just because of the idyllic West Village digs. Keith McNally’s rustic trattoria features a Pinterest-worthy interior, with painted terracotta tiles, bricked archways, and shelves loaded with knickknacks straight out of your nonna’s farmhouse. The dining room will be predictably boisterous on a weekend morning, but let’s be real: It’s hard not to have a good time when you’re eating a loaded breakfast pizze topped with stracchino cheese, mushrooms, and a golden sunny side up egg.

4. Root & Bone, Miami

1801 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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Root & Bone’s self-proclaimed “honest Southern food” took New York by storm a few years ago but now has landed in South Miami. Many favorite dishes from the original East Village outpost made the trek, like the sweet tea-brined fried chicken, which gets its piquant flavor from a dusting of lemon and a side of Tabasco infused with honey. Dessert here is best consumed in liquid form — Root & Bone has a list of more than 80 whiskys, served neat in a two-ounce pour or mixed into your favorite cocktail.


5. Upland, Miami

49 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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A Miami outpost of a New York favorite, Upland is an all-day brasserie that’s become famous for chef Justin Smillie’s California-cool cuisine. The brunch menu includes sweet snacks like housemade doughnuts but, in keeping with the West Coast vibes, is also mostly vegetarian-friendly. Expect small plates like wood-roasted beets topped with feta and chives and an avocado omelet served with fresh salsa and crumbles of kicky cotija cheese, served in a classic dining room lined with cozy hunter-green leather banquettes and sleek brass finishings.


6. Michael’s Genuine, Miami

130 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137

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Few restaurants in Miami have as much of a following as Michael’s Genuine. Chef Michael Schwartz opened his Design District stalwart in 2006 focusing on seasonal cuisine and top-quality ingredients from the best purveyors — many local to Florida. Twelve years in, Schwartz’s vision is stronger than ever and it shows in his food. Solid plates like the kimchi Benedict (a classic egg benny updated with the addition of crispy pork belly and kimchi mayonnaise) are surprisingly cocktail- and whisky-friendly. What better way to toast to Mom?


7. Chicago Athletic Association, Chicago

12 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

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This former private club used to play host to Hollywood greats as well as athletes of the era, now it serves up some of the best food in town — and brunch is no exception. At the Cherry Circle Room, which hearkens to Chicago’s bygone era of power brokers and multi-martini lunches, diners can choose from a selection of dishes ranging from fish and chips to duck confit tartine. The cocktail menu features boozy drinks from Frank Meier’s 1936 tome, The Artistry of Mixing Drinks. Try the Polly’s Special, made with whisky, Curacao, grapefruit, and lemon.


8. The Godfrey, Chicago

127 West Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

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Can’t find the time to take Mom out, but still want to give her the special brunch treatment? You can do brunch seven days a week at the hotel’s aptly named Brunch Room, where the menu features classics like brioche French toast and Cobb salad, as well as an option to design your own pizza, which you can load up with fresh toppings like caramelized onions and local pepperoni.


9. Bar Siena, Chicago

832 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607

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Want to see and be seen while you brunch? Bar Siena is a sprawling two-story Chicago hot spot with an outdoor patio for perfect people-watching. The buzzy bar features classic sweet and savory brunch dishes with fun twists. Instead of ham, a Benedict is piled high with lobster, crispy Brussels sprout leaves, and a pleasantly spicy Fresno chile hollandaise sauce. The extensive cocktail list changes regularly, but you’ll always find plenty of whisky, often paired with less-commonly-seen amaros, bitters, and liqueurs. This is the spot to take Mom if you want her to feel like a celebrity — or at the very least, a reality star.


10. Al Biernat’s, Dallas

4217 Oak Lawn Avenue, Dallas, TX 75219

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Few restaurants in Dallas can top Al Biernat’s when it comes to service, quality, and value. If Mom likes the finer things in life — lobster, steak, and a nice whisky — she’ll be right at home at this Uptown brunch staple. Ingredients are the star of the show here, as even traditional Texas dishes like breakfast tacos have a luxurious infusion of fresh lobster meat. The menu is rounded off with similarly grand savory items like the prime rib French dip sandwich and a Texas wagyu cheeseburger.

11. Rosewood Mansion at Turtle Creek, Dallas

2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75219

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Another Dallas mainstay housed in a Mediterranean-inspired mansion once belonging to an oil tycoon, the Rosewood Mansion at Turtle Creek offers a posh selection of brunch classics served as part of a prix fixe menu. A traditional French toast gets studded with raisins and Texas pecans before being topped with mascarpone, while normally staid Brussels sprouts get a spicy hit from a lemon-chili glaze. The famed tortilla soup — which your mom probably ate with her mom decades ago — is still on the menu, as well as other classics like butternut squash agnolotti, blackened yellowfin tuna, and a wagyu flatiron steak.


12. The Rustic, Dallas

3656 Howell Street, Dallas, TX 75204

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If low-key brunch vibes are what you’re after, don your flannel and hit up The Rustic. The atmosphere at this laid-back Uptown venue will take you back to childhood with its backyard picnic vibe, only Mom won’t be doing the cooking this time. The menu keeps it simple with burgers, steaks, and chicken but doesn’t neglect quality — The Rustic is all about Texas and it shows in the ingredients it sources from area farmers and ranchers. Eager bartenders are well-versed in all the classic cocktails and won’t hesitate to make you a Rob Roy or a similar whisky heavy-hitter. Live music keeps the party going well past brunch hours with shows happening daily.


13. Preux & Proper, Los Angeles

840 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014

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This downtown Los Angeles hot spot brings a little bit of the bayou to Southern California. Owner Joshua Kopel hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and his menu certainly reflects that, with classics like braised collards and baked mac and cheese, both served with cast-iron cornbread, natch. Kopel is in LA though, so he doesn’t skimp on international influence. You’ll also find a few worldly dishes like a Moroccan shakshuka and a squash blossom chile relleno. Kassady Wiggins, the restaurant’s beverage director, brings the same attention to detail to her cocktail menu, which is inspired by the many diverse regions of the South. The Rising Sun, a whisky-based cocktail, offers an East-meets-West approach, pairing yuzu and ginger with a tea tincture.


14. The Rose Venice, Los Angeles

220 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA 90291

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The iconic Rose Venice has been serving up the same Southern Californian cuisine for more than 30 years, but a recent facelift has this much-beloved staple looking better than ever. The airy, concrete-floored dining room boasts a wall loaded with colorful neon art prints and a comfortable vibe. Chef Jason Neroni’s international travels influence the menu, which keeps things interesting — a cauliflower “T-bone” topped with strawberry mole is a standout, and you can expect tons of Southern California “pantry” ingredients, like hummus, burrata, chia seeds, and more. Feeling extra hungry? Give Neroni’s take on a full English breakfast a try. It features juniper bacon, fried potatoes, two eggs sunny side up, country bread, and seasonal jam.


15. Faith & Flower, Los Angeles

Faith & Flower, 705 West 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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Featuring both a wood-fired oven and an extensive raw bar, Faith & Flower reinvents “Californian rustic cuisine,” a category that we quite frankly thought we were sick of until we tried Faith & Flower’s chermoula-topped jerk chicken sandwich. The restaurant’s design skews modern with nods to the area’s history, including a wall composed of vintage doors collected from the ‘20s and a mural by famed street artist Robert Vargas. Meanwhile, the cocktail program celebrates LA’s Prohibition-era drinking culture, highlighting long-forgotten ingredients as well as modern signature drinks, like the Echo Park Rose, made with whisky, lime, pomegranate, and amaro.


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