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 racked 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 appeared a bit confused as I directed them to turn down the nondescript alley, but amused and curious nonetheless. Soon they realized that there was a building with a bright blue door at the end of the alley and thus, a method to the madness.
We admired the graffiti-style art as we moseyed through the narrow passageway, stopping occasionally to snap colorful pictures. Once we reached the restaurant we were greeted warmly and immediately taken upstairs to a couch area where we enjoyed tasty tart grapefruit mimosas while taking in the antique finishes, rustic charm and even some taxidermy… The birthday girl beamed giddily and I could tell that she was already enjoying herself. We enjoyed a filling brunch of both savory and sweet delights with the standout dish being the French toast. It was divine, and I don’t even have much of a sweet tooth! I would go back again just for that dish. Brunch was delicious, the setting endearing, the birthday surprise successful and the company even better!