Notorious for long lines, brunching in the city can easily turn into a whole-day affair. From wait times and signature dishes to ambiance and drink selections, Braving Brunch is your go-to resource for navigating mid-morning meals.
The Spot: The Front Porch
The Neighborhood: Bernal Heights
The Cuisine: Cajun/Southern Comfort
Specialty Item: Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles
Worth the Wait? What wait?
Despite being a mere 49 square miles, San Francisco becomes infinitely larger when the haze of Saturday night clears and the time actually comes to lazily roll out of bed on Sunday and make good on your offer to meet up with your friends for brunch. So although the ride to The Front Porch was only two and a half miles, it might as well have been in the South Bay.
Through Hayes Valley, past the Mission and across Caesar Chavez, I assumed there was no way to miss the Front Porch. Surely the line that must already be wrapping around the corner would be a dead giveaway. Yet as I approached, I nearly cycled right on by: there was nary a soul in sight. No pressure whatsoever to even put my name on the list while waiting for my buddy to arrive, and once he did, we were seated in an instant.
Honestly, I nearly glanced over their signature dish. Once a novel combination, the chicken and waffle duo has become but a ubiquitous staple of brunch spots everywhere. Though upon further inspection, the slightest two-word tweak caused me to reconsider my shrimp and grits order.
This was no ordinary waffle -- this was a sweet potato waffle.
Crunchy skins encased moist meat for a fried chicken to rival almost any in the city, but it was the waffle that stole the show. While it could have been a bit crispier on the outside, the flavor exuded the essence of all that is fall; emanating spices like cinnamon and nutmeg that almost made me forget the little fact that seasons don't actually exist here. The lightest drizzle of maple syrup sealed the deal, and if I closed my eyes tightly enough I could begin see the leaves on the trees changing colors.
Sure, their specialty takes a few extra minutes to prepare, but we barely noticed as we occupied ourselves with chicory coffee and piping hot beignets generously doused in powdered sugar and served in an adorable brown paper bag.
If there were a wait, would I stick it out for an hour? No. Forty-five minutes? Probably not. I think half an hour is worth it, especially if you could nibble on some beignets to tide you over.
By the time we left, only one group was waiting to be seated -- simply because they longed to be outside among the rocking chairs and love seats that give off the vibe of dining, well, on someone's front porch.