Editor's Note: First Things First
Almost a decade ago, I wrote a profile of Martha Hoover—she of the Patachou empire—and interviewed an up-and-coming chef for the story, an accomplished toque who seemed genuinely annoyed and perplexed by Hoover’s success and diners’ cult-like devotion to her menus. “What’s so special?” the chef sniffed. “It’s just a bunch of omelets.”
Let the record—and our “Brunch of Champions” package—show that lawyer-turned-brunchketeer Martha Hoover does not have egg on her face. She knew then as we know now: Indianapolis is crazy for the love child of breakfast and lunch, bananas for bananas Foster–like crepes and kitchen-sink hash with Tulip Tree Creamery beer cheese. (Please pause to wipe drool.) On Sundays, Twitter folks are twitterpated by images of imaginative Benedicts and Bloodys, while offline in Fletcher Place, hungry masses form outdoor lines like groupies. Milktooth—we want to have your Dutch baby!
But, going back to the original question, why the hysteria? What’s brunch have that, say, breakfast doesn’t? For starters, anyone who’s ever had cold pizza for breakfast (guilty) understands the illicit delight that comes with eating food out of its natural time zone. The same holds true for starting the day with a dolled-up cocktail or mimosa. Brunch seems like a forbidden pleasure.
But our team, led by dining editor Julia Spalding, who after months of diligent reporting probably has hollandaise coursing through her veins, dug a fork deep into the blossoming brunch scene and found no shame in Indy’s obsession. “Nothing is expected of you when you go out to brunch—none of the normal dining conventions apply,” Spalding says. “Just come as you are and start your day on a culinary high note.”