Austin’s first festival celebrating brunch is an egg-citing success

Kamari Esquerra

Austin’s brunch scene just got a whole lot sweeter.

The city, known for its fun festivals, live music and unique eats, launched the first ever ATX Brunch Festival Sunday March 3, showcasing the beloved late morning breakfast and lunch hybrid.

Event founder Alex Shebar said Austin is the perfect city in which to launch an event like this.

“Austin loves brunch,” Shebar said. “No doubt about it. I’ve been in Austin for about a year, and I have rarely if ever seen a city that is as obsessed — in the most wonderful way — by brunch than Austin.”

But it’s not just brunch as a whole that Austinites rave about. It’s the specific menu items offered that you are unlikely to find during any other time of the day.

“It’s these individual items that every single person makes from breakfast tacos to organic pancakes to huevos rancheros,” Shebar said. “There are such unique brunch items in the city that are really worth celebrating and showcasing.”

The brunch event featured a variety of local Austin brunch spots such as Austin Tea Xchange Cafe, Cane Rosso and The Funkadelic Brunch. Guests purchased tickets online and were given a food card at the event with each restaurant’s logo on it. As the guests visited each vendor, their cards were stamped.

“I really dislike food festivals where (food) runs out or you don’t get to try everything,” Shebar said. “This (gave) you a chance to make sure you get to try every single brunch spot.”

Brunch festival attendees Rose Robinson and Latischa Hall are fellow brunch fanatics who often attend the mid-morning meal together.

“We like to brunch and try new things, so why not come to a place where they have all the good stuff and you get to sample it all?” Hall said. “It’s a win.”

Robinson said it is oftentimes a struggle to try new brunch spots due to brunch being offered exclusively on the weekends.

“Austin is a big city for brunching, so it’s really nice to have a whole bunch of places in one area so you can try new places,” Robinson said. “You can only look forward to brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, but it’s nice to be able to have the availability of everything in one spot.”

Michael Wake, chef and owner of The Funkadelic Brunch, said he is constantly trying new things and offered an exclusive item that is not featured on the restaurant’s menu, a braised carnita tostada.

“I thought I could definitely try this out for a mass audience and see how people like it,” Wake said. “It’s just kind of a fun dish, it’s got pretty colors, texture. It’s an interesting dish.”

The tostada was served on a corn tortilla, with citrus braised pork shoulder, pickled vegetables, red onions, carrots, queso fresco, lime sour cream and mango avocado sauce.

“The most exciting thing is taking something that you created and hoping that other people resonate with it when they try it,” Wake said. “They recognize what it is you’re trying to create and appreciate it.”

Fortunately for Wake, many people did resonate with his food. Funkadelic Brunch was the first annual winner of the brunch festival. The restaurant took home the title of “Best of the Brunch,” along with a pancake trophy.

“I’m excited about spreading the name and having more people try our food,” Wake said.