The Mysterious Origin Of Brunch

Sunday Brunch is a Pensacola tradition. From families looking for a delicious treat to college students looking to recap Saturday night’s events, brunch is a weekly meeting for many people to let the mimosas flow and enjoy the last moments of the weekend before Monday morning shocks you back to reality. Here at O’Brien’s Bistro, we offer a delicious brunch. With Pensacola favorites like Shrimp and Grits and Crab Cakes Benedict. Plus, other classics like Belgian Waffles and an array of tasty omelets. While we love inviting you into O’Brien’s bistro every Sunday for brunch, recently we stopped to wonder, how did Sunday brunch become such a popular tradition? As it turns out the answer is more complicated than you might think. 


Brunch’s British Origins

As with many things that become immensely popular, lots of people like to take credit for being the first one to think of it. This is no different with brunch. From the Brits to the Catholics, to the Hollywood silver screen stars of the 1930s the origins of brunch are all over the place. What we do know for sure is that the first written usage of the word “brunch” does belong to the English. In 1895 author Guy Beringer wrote an article in Hunters Weekly entitled “Brunch: A Plea,”. There, he argued that the lavish meals that had become common before upper society hunts were too heavy. He suggested that the meal should be lighter fare. His words are still relevant today as he describes brunch as a meal that should be sociable and talkative. You could find this attitude in today’s brunches in Pensacola, with close-knit groups of people chatting over light sandwiches, egg dishes, and salads, as well as some delicious heavier fare too. But this English hunting breakfast wasn’t the only popularization of a midday breakfast meal enjoyed with friends and family. 


The Devout Side Of Brunch 

The origins of brunch as a meal could have also started with devout Catholics who practiced a custom of fasting until the end of the traditional Sunday mass. After this long fast, it was custom to gather with family and friends and have a large mid-afternoon meal. 

But the Catholics aren’t the only group with a large and devout following to have possibly popularized brunch. Back in the 1930s movie stars would take trains across the country from New York to Los Angeles and would often insist on stopping in Chicago for a mid-afternoon meal. This practice then became fashionable in the big cities, with New York restaurants suggesting that they popularized it. This could be true as well given how some popular dishes, like bagels and lox, are New York specialties.


Brunch Today

Though movie stars, New Yorkers, and British hunters all have a claim to the origins of brunch, it may have been something as unexpected as World War II that caused it to be such a standard in America today. As American women entered the workforce post-war, their time at home began to become more valuable. Why waste it cooking a large breakfast when they could go out and enjoy quality time with their family? Additionally, the post-war economic boom boosted most people’s bank accounts. This made this kind of regular eating out was financially possible. In that way, the simple concept of brunch becoming immensely popular serves as a kind of mark of progress in society. Today it is more popular than ever. It is a time to connect with family or friends, recap the week, and prepare for the upcoming one. Brunch is more than just a meal, it is a tradition that provides comfort. It can be a mainstay in tumultuous times, plus it is just plain delicious. 

Whether it originated in the U.K. or Chicago, there’s no denying that the best brunch for your family and friends is right here in Pensacola at O’Brien’s Bistro. O’Brien’s is happy to welcome you for your first time, or welcome you back for your weekly tradition. Our Sunday brunch is from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Reserve your table today.