What is it with brunch and Southerners, anyway?
The term brunch was coined in Britain in 1895 to describe a Sunday meal for “Saturday-night carousers” in the writer Guy Beringer’s article “Brunch: A Plea” in Hunter’s Weekly. “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting.” Beringer wrote. “It is talk-compelling. 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.”
So Rock Hill is basically full of a bunch of Saturday night carousers (I feel a Meetup.com Group idea coming on).
Southerners and Rock Hillians, in particular, have always held this traditional meal right up there with church. It’s no coincidence, people.
The word “brunch” was a little bourgeois and passé at the beginning of the 2000s, but it has come back with a vengeance since then with Rock Hill leading the way in the Sacred Sunday Brunch trend.
Here is our list (in no particular order) of the brunchiest spots in Rock Hill. Bon Appétit!
Claim to Fame: “The cheese grits are the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot growing up in the south)!” -Yelp reviewer
Established in 2012, the Yolk has had some ups and downs with a fire at their first location, they’ve made themselves at home at 1912 Mt. Gallant Road. A very uplifting note discovered on their website: “Chef Greg also sits on the Board of The Catawba Farm and Food Coalition – a non-profit organization working to create a lasting, secure, and sustainable food system in Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union, York Counties, and the Catawba Indian Nation.” If that doesn’t say ‘community’ I don’t know what does.
Unfortunately, brunch just isn’t brunch without the booze, but the quality of their home cookin’ makes up for the fact and allows guests to get doing to the business of brunch as soon as they’re served.
Claim to Fame: Chicken and waffles (and the atmosphere)
Ah, home to history, this little diner is the gem of Old Town. Recently, Five & Dine added chicken and waffles to their brunch menu and this is one southern meal that’ll make you slap your grandma! (Sorry MawMaw!)
The Five & Dine, formerly McRory’s, is beautifully kept in vintage style from the typeface on the outside window to the original Friendship 9 counter, complete with plaques of their names on the bar stools.
Claim to Fame: Huge servings
Known for its speedy service, this greasy spoon isn’t so much as a fancy brunch spot as it is a good late-morning diner for college students and those pesky Saturday night carousers we discussed earlier. It’s located right near Winthrop, so it’s in a central location just off Cherry Rd. at 1025 Camden Ave and has an old-school. They are so old-school in fact, they don’t have a website, but you can find them on Facebook.
Claim to Fame: The drink menu
Michael’s Rock Hill Grille (so fun to say!) earned Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2015, and it’s no wonder. Since 2007, this tropical escape has been a favorite for locals and transports diners the second they walk through the door. With a menu full of quirky menu titles like Pasta Pleasure, Outrages Ocean Options, and a dessert called Reese’s Peanut Butter Shudder alliterations and deliciousness abound.
Claim to Fame: Fish, chips, booze
Good old McHale’s, what can I say? This is one of those icon places every town has. Locals are often seen there on the back patio milling with other guests and the food has Irish flair. While not known in the brunch category, this Bar/restaurant has all the qualities of a good old dive brunchery for those looking to drink off their hangovers or chomp on some leprechaun balls. All jokes aside, McHale’s has killer fish and chips and is still going strong in Rock Hill’s Old Town as it’s often the center of many festivals and activities.
Claim to Fame: “Southern Cuisine and ambiance in a casual and intimate setting in the heart of Old Town” -Yelp reviewer
Another Old Town favorite, Hampton St. Cafe is one of those mimosa/bloody Mary kind of places, but sadly they only serve beer and wine. As long as you can ignore the whole City Club member dining thing (no one gets it, seriously), guests enjoy classic Southern Cuisine that includes Carolina Burgers, shrimp and grits, and sausage gravy biscuits.