Popularity of brunch growing in Rio Grande Valley

What makes brunch “brunch?”

“Besides the alcohol?“ responded Bodega owner and chef, Adam Cavazos, when asked about the meal. “Breakfast foods.“

“Brunch, for me, is synonymous with shaking off the night before,“ he said, emphasizing the heavier, hearty foods.

Earlier this year, Cavazos credited the Valley’s increased appetite for fine dining to their out-of-town cultural exposure. The popularity of brunch is no different.

“People are experiencing these things in bigger cities and they’re ready for them,“ he said. “The funny thing is we’ve all been going to breakfast on Sunday mornings forever.“

Cavazos remembers Sunday breakfasts with his family at Ponchos.

“But that’s not what I think people think of when they think of brunch,“ Cavazos said. “They think of a trendy restaurant serving up some breakfast-style foods that are a little bit different. The alcohol is flowing.“

Sometimes, it’s a continuation of the previous night, often times you’re with the same people, he said.

“Sure you’ve got your families out there, but a lot of times it’s a social thing — see or be seen, if that makes sense,“ Cavazos said.

Joe Keller, a server at Roosevelt’s at 7 for almost 5 years, calls their monthly brunch an event because it’s not something that happens all the time.

“It is a special occasion because we only do it the last Sunday of every month,“ Keller said. “We also try to do one on special occasions like Easter … Mother’s and Father’s Day.“

Their most popular items are the ones served monthly, Keller said, which include prime rib, crab legs, a shrimp dish, eggs Benedict, and omelet and Belgian waffle stations. But Keller is always eager to learn the month’s specialty.

Keller sees brunch as leisurely meal and a good excuse to day-drink, he said. People love traditional brunch drinks, like bloody marys, mimosas, bellinis, micheladas and sangrias, he said.

“There’s nothing better than relaxing on Sunday … treat(ing) yourself before heading back to the daily grind of the workweek,“ Keller said. “Monday is looming around the corner. It’s like the last hurrah before you have to be back in the office on Monday.“

Cavazos is a self-described seafood fan, and enjoys a good “raw bar.“

“Oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, shrimp cocktail, ceviche — (that’s) usually what I go for,” Cavazos said. “Those are good to have with a cold beer.“

But if he’s going for breakfast, he’s going with the eggs Benedict.

“There are tons of ways to do it with chefs putting their variants and versions,” he said. “I just think that’s one of the best foods out there.“