Crooks Corner Brunch in Chapel Hill, N.C.

I can pinpoint exactly the beginning of my Brunching Bitchiness. It was long before I met Becca, and she said to me, “We should start a blog. What would we call it?” The true origins of my love for brunch began a long, long time ago down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

This time period, sophomore year of college, is also known as “the best year ever.” I was living in my sorority house, taking classes I loved, dating a boy I adored, and having the time of my life. I’m fortunate that I have a pretty speedy metabolism, but at 19 I could drink and eat whatever I wanted with reckless abandon. And I did so without thinking twice.

That semester my girlfriends and I had a routine that essentially revolved around drinking sugary cocktails, chasing frat boys, and eating carbs. And, yes, it was glorious. The itinerary went like this: cosmopolitans at La Residence, Midori sours at Pantana Bobs, sleep, and French toast at Crooks Corner.

Despite constant partying, excessive intake of sugary drinks and late night food, I stayed just north of 100 pounds and made great grades. Like I said: the best year ever.

Crooks Corner is a renowned Southern restaurant on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, N.C. The charming spot serves up some of the best shrimp ‘n’ grits and, hands down, the best French toast you’ve ever had in your life. Six pieces of French loaf, coated and soaked over night in cinnamon, vanilla egg batter, then stacked high and covered in house-made whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

I still dream of that French toast.

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When I returned to Chapel Hill five years later for homecoming, it seems that both I and the French toast at Crooks had changed. Gone are the days of sugar cocktails and bad decisions for yours truly. And, strawberries and French bread are no longer the key components of Crook’s French toast recipe. For better or for worse, I guess we’ve both grown up.

Nowadays, the French toast is layers of delicious, cinnamon-and-egg-soaked bread, baked and then cut into squares. It’s still topped with house-made whipped cream, powdered sugar, and fruit—but pineapple rather than strawberries. When it arrived at the table, I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t the French toast of days of yore. However, it was really really good. So good, that Lee, our Brunchin’ Bro that day, declared it the best French toast he’s ever had in his life.

You see, I was brunching with my best friend Steph, my sorority sister, study abroad companion, running buddy, and favorite cream puff. Next summer, I’ll be a rookie bridesmaid in her wedding to Lee, who was a good sport and brunched with the Bitches this Sunday. As a matter of fact, Lee is always a good sport, which is why I’m so glad they’re tying the knot.

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We began with jalapeno cheddar hush puppies, which I was surprised to discover that they were served with marinara sauce. Again, if you’re looking for amazing Southern food, Crooks Corner is the place to be; and the restaurant does hush puppies right.

In keeping with the theme of amazing Southern comfort food, I ordered the shrimp ‘n’ grits. The shrimp were OK, but they were prepared with a flavorful mix of bacon, scallions, and mushrooms atop cheese grits. This is a hearty, flavorful bowl of shrimpy, gritsy goodness.

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Steph ordered the cheese pie, a quiche of sorts made with crab, fresh veggies, and cheese from Chapel Hill creamery. It was served with a lovely, fresh side of mixed greens, and roasted red potatoes. There’s not much more that we Bitches love than cheese, crab, and flakey crust and the cheese pie had all of the above, served warm, buttery, flakey and delicious.

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Hoping to get svelte before the wedding, Lee (who looks like a handsome lumberjack) ordered the Eggs Florentine. This particular Benny was Crook’s yummy, house-made buttermilk biscuits, sliced tomatoes, perfectly poached eggs, and a lovely light Hollandaise. It was simple, pure Southern perfection.

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The Bitches say: A+. And, not just because we’re feeling nostalgic.

Crooks Corner
610 West Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
(919) 929 7643

Crooks Corner serves brunch Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Crook's Corner on Urbanspoon

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