WHAT WE’VE COME TO EXPECT
A sea of strollers and six types of Benedict… harried service and a line out the door.
New Yorkers these days know all too well what Brunch has become without realizing perhaps what it once was. The first mention — in print at least — of the portmanteau appeared in an 1895 Hunter’s Weekly article where British author Guy Beringer suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church feasts that had become the norm on Sunday afternoons. He urged diners to instead consider a lighter meal — not just a culinary event, but one intended to be social as well.
He remarked, “Brunch is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” He went so far as to say that brunch would “make the world kinder and more charitable.”
Nowhere does he make mention of bottomless mimosas.
HE’S DESCRIBING AN ELEGANT AFFAIR
An experience. One that could bring people together to celebrate the end of another busy week. It was about more than fostering community; he’s prescribing a way to help build one.
Culinary historians can’t quite agree on the details of those early days of brunch. Some believe it was the Catholics who first enjoyed a late-morning meal after their pre-mass fasting, while others believe the first brunches were England’s “hunt breakfasts,” rich multi-course affairs filled with game and eggs, stews and sweets.
By the 1930’s the U.S. had imported and embraced this new meal. Trains, often transporting Hollywood stars from Los Angeles to New York, would stop in Chicago for a late-morning bite. The sparkle of these celebrities helped spread the meal’s popularity, as did flagging church attendance and the advancement of the working woman. Brunch soon became the week's most anticipated meal, both respite and reward amid the responsibilities of modern life.
WHAT IS YOUR SUNDAY BEST?
In this spirit, for the first time Gotham will host Brunch every Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whether your "Sunday Best" means dressing up or down, make your world "kinder and a little more charitable" by joining one or all of our live-music brunches this holiday season.