Today I had the pleasure to visit with a dear friend in town from Los Angeles. Not only was she here visiting, but it was her birthday as well, so I knew the pressure was on to find the perfect brunch spot for the jovial occasion. Her trip was sprung on me last minute, and as some of you may already know, trying to secure a brunch reservation at a hot spot is nearly impossible a few days out! I wracked my brain for ideas of a place that would be equal parts delicious, festive, and (let’s be honest) Instagram-able. Soon enough a restaurant came to mind that was not only charming, but also a hidden gem of sorts. I thought of Freemans, a colonial tavern tucked away at the end of a mural-lined alley. I checked their reservation system and was disappointed, but not surprised, to find that they were completely booked. I remained confident that this was not the end! My friend agreed to a brunch time just before noon (actually quite early by NYC standards) so I was able to sneak to the restaurant before meeting her at her hotel. I explained my case to the maitre d’ and he was very accommodating. A wait of only about 20 minutes he said! I raced to the hotel to get the birthday girl and her husband, and we proceeded to Freemans. They were a bit confused as I directed them to turn down the alley, but amused and curious nonetheless. Soon they realized that there was a bright blue storefront with a door at the end of the alley and they admired the art as we walked along. Upon arrival we were taken upstairs to a couch area where we enjoyed delicious, tart grapefruit mimosas while taking in the antique finishes, rustic charm and even some taxidermy… We enjoyed a brunch of both savory and sweet delights. We shared the artichoke dip, a turkey sandwich, cheeseburger and french toast. The french toast was divine, and I don’t identify as a sweet bruncher! I will come back again just for that. Brunch was delicious, the setting was endearing, the birthday surprise was successful and the company was even better!