Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend! It’s that time of year again, when we partake in excessive boozing and merry-making to celebrate this great, Irish holiday. What better way to kick-off the celebration than with bottomless mimosas and brunch? After an agonizingly difficult search for the best, boozey brunch locations in Atlanta on my dying phone, juggling price, location, and quality of said booze and food, I settled on Urban Pl8, partly because I remembered grabbing a decent, late brunch there once two years ago. My friends and I had happened to be in the area and starving, and Urban Pl8 had been the closest restaurant. I had enjoyed it, but hadn’t been back since due to its distance from my place.
With its bountiful brunch offerings for those who didn’t feel like drinking first thing in the morning and its $15 bottomless mimosas for those who did, Urban Pl8 seemed a solid choice. I called the restaurant in the morning to see if they took call-aheads or reservations, but they didn’t. Hoping to bypass the earlier pre-parade and later post-parade crowds, we met at the restaurant just past 1 on Saturday.
Tucked away on a side-road by Howell Mill Road and just a few blocks from the Star Provisions complex of heavy-hitting restaurants, Urban Pl8 shares a relatively limited parking lot with its neighboring stores. It took Blondie and I a few minutes to hunt down an open spot. At Urban Pl8, the bustling Saturday brunch crowd filled up the sunny patio outside, the coffee bar, and the plentiful tables within. Luckily, we seemed to have arrived in between rushes and didn’t need to wait for a table.
Laura, Blondie, and I started off with drinks and chatted as we waited for our fourth member, J, to join us. Unluckily, our server got hit with a table of 18 or so after he brought us our drinks, which wasn’t a big deal at the time seeing as we were still waiting for J to arrive. She messaged Laura with the bad news of being trapped in parade traffic, which had turned her 5-minute drive to a 30-minute one. Two mimosas later and surrounded by the tantalizing scents of bacon and sausage, we couldn’t wait any longer and placed our orders. In a ridiculously short amount of time, I’d say about 5 minutes, a foodrunner brought out our food, just as J arrived. It seems that servers at Urban Pl8 work very independently, for no one helped out our poor server as he dashed about his tables, balancing jugs of mimosas and plates. It took a bit of hand waving and attempted eye-contacts to finally attract our server so that J could order.
Meanwhile, the three of us dug into our food. Laura got the paleo breakfast hash with scrambled eggs. The dish consisted of roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini, red peppers, onions, jalapenos, and turkey sausage sauteed together and topped off with 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, and pico de gallo. A stunning dish to look at, all of the ingredients had a chance to shine in this simple dish – and shine they did. Well-seasoned and surprisingly not too greasy or heavy, even with the duo presence of bacon and sausage, the breakfast hash immediately caught the eyes of a woman at the table beside us, who leaned over and asked, “Excuse me, but what is that? It looks amazing!”
Blondie ordered the full order of organic buttermilk oatmeal pancakes, choosing to reserve the majority of his stomach capacity for mimosas. Personally, I think that three plate-sized pancakes requires more than the tablespoon of syrup that came with the dish. I love simple dishes expertly prepared with quality ingredients. I don’t doubt that Urban Pl8 selected choice ingredients for these pancakes, but the execution failed. The pancakes were rather flat, lacking the quintessential fluffy, light texture of a good pancake. Also, rather than adding a little texture to the pancakes, the oatmeal simply vanished. After a few puzzled bites, Blondie asked, “Are these actually oatmeal pancakes, or just…pancakes…?” Seeing as they had no plain pancakes on the menu, we concluded that those must, indeed, be oatmeal pancakes.
Our whole table could smell the nutty aroma of the peanut butter in my dish the moment it was set down. I eagerly sliced off a bite, dipped it into the syrup, and popped it into my mouth, only to be slapped by disappointment. It was cold. Not lukewarm. Not a single degree close to warm. Just, cold. It took me a while to flag down our server to ask for another, because there was no way in the world I was going to eat cold french toast. At least I had my mimosa to keep my stomach happy until our server came back. When he finally did, he asked if I wanted another one and whisked my dish away when I said yes. It irked me slightly that no apologies were offered, but he did bring me another one very promptly, so all was forgiven. I would have preferred a little more peanut butter and a crisper exterior, but the french toast was french toast – I have no complaints or compliments. It’s what you would expect for french toast.
Unsurprisingly, J’s food arrived before we were even halfway through our dishes. She ordered the grilled chicken pesto omelette, which consisted of goat cheese, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, and pesto, as well as a side of oven-roasted glazed sweet potatoes. Stuffed with large chunks of succulent grilled chicken and a generous amount of goat cheese, the omelette was proclaimed the favorite dish of the table. The tang of goat cheese paired with the fresh, flavorful pesto really brought the omelette to another level. Rather than being overshadowed by the main dish, the side of sweet potatoes, lightly glazed and served with cracked black pepper, could easily have stood on its own. In fact, Laura ordered an additional side of the sweet potatoes later to bring home.
Our server did his best to keep our mimosas and waters topped off at all times, although the large table he had meant that his best was not sufficient to keep our glasses full. Near the end of our meal, we didn’t have a single drop left to drink at the table, be it alcohol or water. It also took a long time for us to receive our bill, but we were enjoying each others company, the warm sun flooding into the restaurant, and our mimosas, so we didn’t mind.
With its bright, sunny space, bottomless mimosas, and some very tasty dishes emphasizing local and sustainable foods, Urban Pl8 can hold its own against the plethora of brunch places found in Atlanta. My favorite aspect of the restaurant has to be how light and refreshing the dishes were. Too often, brunch and breakfast foods are sodden with grease and butter, which, as delicious as the initial first bites taste, make you feel kind of sluggish and heavy afterwards. Instead, I felt satisfied and happy after our meal at Urban Pl8. Or maybe that’s the mimosas talking. Who knows? One thing’s for sure – I will be back for the egg dishes and mimosas, regardless of the drive.
1082 Huff Road
Atlanta, GA 30318