Early in December, Rosie's Bar and Grill was decorated — I mean decorated! — for Christmas. I couldn't begin to count the number of pink Christmas trees I saw there. It was also Rosie's 10th anniversary weekend, so each customer was offered a free Hawaiian-style lei. Given Rosie's location at the epicenter of South Florida's gay community, you can only imagine the double-entendres being thrown around regarding these complimentary leis.
While it would be wrong to call Rosie's a gay bar, it also wouldn't be incorrect. That said, the biggest fans of Rosie's Sunday brunch that I know are two heterosexual couples. Who wouldn't love Rosie's big welcome, warm service and inventive brunch fare? I've had other meals here over the years, but Sunday brunch remains my favorite.
Owners John Zieba and Cliff Mulcahy operate Rosie's like a well-oiled party machine. A DJ spins just the right kind of upbeat stuff you want to hear on Sunday morning. If you have to wait, there's always a spot at the bar where, on Sundays, the Bloody Marys cost $3 and five-bottle buckets of beer run between $8 and $12. While there are about 100 seats inside, most folks sit on the covered patio, where there are another 120 seats. Misters keep the place cool in the summer.
There's something about the music, the sitting outside and the free-flowing drinks that makes a simple Sunday brunch at Rosie's feel festive — somewhere between a fancy hotel brunch and a diner's bacon-and-eggs breakfast.
If you like French toast, you're going to love Miss Truvy's Deep-Dish Southern-Style Not-So-French Toast ($9.50). A wedge of eggy bread cooked until golden is topped with a pecan-praline glaze. It's New Orleans meets breakfast. There are plenty of pancakes, from basic ($7.50) to wild berry ($9.95), s'mores ($9.95) and bananas Foster ($9.95).
And who can resist a menu item called the Fat Elvis ($8.95)? It's as over-the-top as its name suggests. A peanut-butter-covered banana is stuffed inside challah and then soaked in French toast mix. It's then deep-fried until crunchy and served with whipped cream and syrup.
My favorite dish, however, is Nelly Frittata ($10.95). (I wonder if singer Nelly Furtado knows there's a brunch dish named in her honor.) Egg whites are baked with turkey sausage in a small skillet with chives, zucchini, squash, peppers, onions, spinach, mozzarella and Swiss cheese. Like many dishes here, it can be ordered with a biscuit.
Those biscuits are the base for most of the items in the Benedict section of the menu, which includes classic poached eggs with hollandaise ($8.95) and something called Goldie Lox ($10.95) — smoked salmon, steamed asparagus, poached eggs, herb hollandaise, whipped cream cheese, capers and red onions. The inventive fried green tomato ($9.95) Benedict is a good idea, but not as successful as other dishes on the menu. Biscuits get replaced with tomatoes. The eggs are fried, and it's served with tomatoes, onion rings, avocado and ranch dressing.
There are plenty of nonegg and nonpancake offerings. These dishes are served with a choice of fries, loaded baked potato, coleslaw, Rosie's loaded brown rice, home fries or the delightful sweet-potato waffle fries. The Gypsy Rose Lee Wrap ($9.50), for instance, features chicken tenders, lettuce, tomato and blue-cheese dressing in a tomato-basil tortilla. The BLT ($9.50) is served on toasted grain bread. Cheesy Over Easy ($10.95) is a hamburger with American cheese and bacon topped with a fried egg.
There are always specials on the brunch menu. On my most recent trip, there were red-velvet waffles ($8.50) that were dark-burgundy but tasted just like regular waffles. A steak-and-egg feature ($18.95) combined a rib-eye with pineapple.
Some folks joke that gay men invented brunch. While I will neither confirm nor deny that claim, I'd say we've pretty much perfected it at Rosie's.
email@example.com or 954-356-4632. Read his blog at SunSentinel.com/sup and follow him on Twitter at @FloridaEats.
2449 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors
Cuisine: Eclectic American breakfast
Hours: Brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, lunch and dinner daily
Reservations: For eight or more
Credit cards: All major
Bar: Full service
Sound level: Can be noisy
Outside smoking: No
For kids: Highchairs, boosters, menu items on request
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Parking: Free valet