2012 1st Ave N.
Birmingham, Al 35203

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Bham Brunch: Local Hour at El Barrio

Image via Yelp user Jane A.

There’s a special curse that happens when your favorite neighborhood places are popular beyond neighborhood bounds. After all, a steep wait time during peak hours offsets the convenience factor of a great place down the street. Admittedly, El Barrio’s margaritas make even the longest wait fly by, but it’s nice sometimes to stroll right in. That’s why we think of brunch at El Barrio as the locals’s hour.

Show up around eleven, and you’re practically guaranteed a seat. This despite foodie friends in the know swearing brunch is El Barrio’s best offering. And we’re hard pressed to argue.

The flavors and textures here are bigger than your average brunch, less expected and more interesting. Consider the sopaipillas for breakfast, a savory take on what’s usually a dessert item. At El Barrio, it’s a delicious blend of sweet and savory, of classic pork and apples with the fried dough texture of a beignet. Meanwhile, the Oaxacan donuts soothe a morning sweet tooth without the overbearing sugar rush of a French toast breakfast. And of course, you can usher in your day with a batch of El Barrio guacamole. The only real questions is this: Are you hungry yet?

If you’re in the Loft District, you should be.

This is the neighborhood of simple food re-imagined, of a gastropub take on any cuisine. And El Barrio is part of that. It’s a place to get hearty, reasonably healthy real food when you either don’t feel like cooking, or simply prefer a sense of occasion. It’s also a great way to bring friends to you if you’re in the mood to socialize but not to drive.

And the broad appeal of places like El Barrio is a secret strength of this live/work neighborhood. The Loft District saves you a long workweek commute, without sacrificing your weekend social life. In our last brunch post we suggested this meal makes a neighborhood, and we think El Barrio is further proof. The joy of city living, after all, is having everything at your doorstep, and that includes the weekend.

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