Where can you have a great Sunday brunch if you live in one of the wealthiest counties in America? Oakland County, just northwest of Detroit and the lucky beneficiary of well-paying jobs in the auto industry and elsewhere, is in the top 10 wealthiest among counties with a population of more than 1 million residents. But it's not only affluent, it's also packed with possibilities as the second most populous county in Michigan.
If you lived in Oakland County, you wouldn't gravitate toward the International House of Pancakes or Bob Evans. You'd want something a little more interesting. So we found a few good places for you. Here are 16 restaurants in some of the county's prettiest towns that can make brunch (or breakfast) an event.
They include everything from casual bistros to fancy restaurants, locavore retreats to homey pancake dens. Birmingham and Royal Oak locations stand out for choice and quality. Take your pick and be sure to check websites for current menus, hours and prices before booking, and check in with social media for customer satisfaction snapshots.
- 220 Merrill: If you want to be seen at brunch, this is the place for pretty people and pretty food. Get your cocktails from the bar and order chicken and waffles or make your own omelet.
Address: 220 E. Merrill. Phone: (248) 646-2220
- The Bird and The Bread: This big casual place is great for family weekend brunches. You'll find plenty to please everyone, from a Benedict or two to lofty pancakes.
Address: 210 S. Old Woodward Ave. Phone: (248) 203-6600
- La Strada Dolci e Caffé: Patrons say this place reminds them of Italy, and why not? Everything about it reads Italian. You could take it easy with a tomato-basil bruschetta, an Italian meat and cheese board and a cappuccino. But if you're with a group, go ahead and fill the table with Mediterranean small plates and wine, throw in some delectable pizza, then finish with a basket of flaky pastries and big cups of really good coffee.
Address: 243 E. Merrill St. Phone: (248) 480-0492
- The Stand Gastro Bistro: You're definitely in the big leagues here with the gorgeously restrained fine-dining decor and wonderful menu. There is no brunch menu per se, but there are choices that suit an adult brunch. A trilogy of oysters and diver scallops with creamed leeks might do, finished with a semi-sweet cocktail like the gin and amaretto-based Nutty Brit with maraschino cherry liqueur and fresh lemon juice. You might need a coffee and a driver to get home after this. Reservations recommended.
Address: 34977 Woodward Ave. Phone: (248) 220-4237
- Bill's: Very Ivy League, Bill's calls itself "a classic, comfortable social club." There is a dedicated brunch menu for the weekend with healthy options like steel-cut oats and farro, grapefruit warmed under the broiler and a kale Caesar salad. But there's also brioche French toast and a Croque Madame. Your choice.
Address: 39556 Woodward Ave. Phone: (248) 646-9000
- The Fly Trap: Brunch goes on all day, every day at this inexpensive, campy diner. What about green eggs and ham or "eggs ala boring" (just eggs) with house muffins. The chef might be happier if you ordered something like the Fire-Breathing Dragon made with grilled chicken, wheat noodles, basil and sambal peanut sauce. Kudos for imagination. You might have seen this chummy place on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Address: 22950 Woodward Ave. Phone: (248) 399-5150
- GreenSpace Café: Started by a cardiologist who wanted to pioneer "a fully vegan, plant-based bar, and eatery," GreenSpace Café unveiled a new weekend brunch to eat at the restaurant or to take out. There are starters (think almond milk chia pudding), main courses like country biscuits and gravy with seitan sausage, and sides that range from blackened tempeh to spicy pinto beans.
Address: 215 W. Nine Mile Rd. Phone: (248) 206-7510
- The Breakfast Club Restaurant: This homey place, which feels like you're visiting friends in a cozy house, is beloved by its patrons. The generous portions of uncomplicated, yummy food might have everything to do with that. Think salmon Benedict, waffles with eggs and home fries, and breakfast nachos smothered in scrambled eggs and veggies.
Address: 30600 John R Rd. Phone: (248) 307-9090
- Park 600, at the Royal Park Hotel: Weekend brunch here is simple and good, ranging from very healthy to not so much (but delicious). You can have a cholesterol-free egg-white frittata or a fully loaded country breakfast with every fat known to brunch, a romaine-egg-blue cheese farm salad or s'mores French toast. These are difficult choices. Reservations recommended.
Address: 600 East University Drive. Phone: (248) 652-2600
- Lily's Seafood Grill & Brewery: Kids are welcome here. Hopefully, they'll sample some classics, like beer-battered fish and chips or Lily's crisp calamari over roasted red pepper relish. Cultures have a place at the table with Mardi Gras hash of andouille sausage, crawfish, shrimp, and veggies or a full Scottish breakfast of fluffy scrambled eggs with blood pudding, haggis, bangers, home fries and Scottish white toast—all washed down with a micro brew.
Address: 410 S Washington Ave. Phone: (248) 591-5459
- Pronto: Pronto is much more than its breakfast menu. Why? Because the restaurant-cum-deli serves the morning meal with such panache that it's a favorite with locals. The restaurant's omelets don't skimp on ingredients; plus, you also get garlic potatoes, fruit and toasted challah or your choice of another fresh bread.
Address: 608 S. Washington Ave. Phone: (248) 544-7900
- La Dulce: The place combines superb tapas served in a beautiful dining salon with a patisserie, an open-air market, and a coffee and tea room. No wonder La Dulce was named one of the top 15 new restaurants in the Detroit area. For brunch, some of the musts: a Spanish ham board with Ibérico ham, the world's best, grated tomato and bread; gildas (skewers of anchovy, olives, pickled pepper and cornichon); chilaquiles of tortilla chips with red salsa, duck confit and queso fresco over refried beans; torrijas, which is bread pudding with a homemade cinnamon-honey syrup; and homemade churros with dipping sauces. Reservations recommended.
Address:115 S. Main St. Phone: (248) 268-1719
- Ale Mary's Beer Hall: Named one of the Detroit area's best new restaurants and one of its most sociable, you could sit at communal brunch tables and down beermosas with your Scotch eggs, fluffy fresh corn bread and poutine (the French-Canadian classic of beer-battered fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds). Top this off with a desert of beeramisu and wash it all down with a flight of craft beers.
Address: 316 S. Main St. Phone: (248) 379-5760
- Bistro 82: This upscale eatery serves modern American dishes in a clean-lined dining and bar space. The place has a thing for oysters and other fresh shellfish, so you'll find plenty. A dozen chilled oysters and sauces could be a fantastic brunch for two with orange cauliflower (sesame, ginger, orange marmalade, veggies, and cashews) or goat cheese salad and whole wheat epi bread with house-cultured butter finished with cinnamon-sugar beignets for dessert. The Champagne and wine lists are memorable, so go ahead and indulge.
Address: 401 S. Lafayette Phone: (248) 542-0082
- The Original Pancake House: This is part of a 65-year-old national chain based in Portland, Oregon. It doesn't get high marks for decor or food presentation, although some locations have charming outdoor seating. But the menu is first-rate, with dishes you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, which is probably why there's a line out the door most weekends. Try the amazing apple pancake baked with copious apples and cinnamon glaze or the homemade corned beef hash with five potato pancakes and eggs. Lingonberries accompany several dishes. Note that there's a second Oakland County location in Birmingham.
Address: 19355 West Ten Mile Rd. Phone: 248-357-3399
WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP
- The Root Restaurant & Bar: Named best restaurant of 2012, this casual, chef-driven place prizes Michigan ingredients. Start with a classic brunch cocktail. Then get right to the brunch menu, which is an embarrassment of homey riches. How about buttermilk biscuits or a pecan sticky bun, artisanal cheeses, house-made bacon or breakfast sausage, Michigan eggs and French press coffee? Or Great Harvest molasses–whole wheat toast and coffee with the beautiful Root Orchard Salad for four: green apple, red leaf lettuce, Marcona almonds, dried Michigan cherries, saga blue cheese, pickled onion, house-made bacon, hard-cider vinaigrette and pulled chicken.
Address: 340 Town Center Blvd. Phone: 248-698-2400