Whether to catch up with friends or have a laidback start to the weekend, here at Soirée, we’re a group who likes to brunch. When it’s perfectly acceptable to indulge in cocktails and chocolate French toast with peanut butter-butter (yes, it’s real!) without judgment during respectable daytime hours, what’s not to like? Here are a few of our staff’s favorite Little Rock brunch spots and must-have dish recommendations.

1. Afterthought Bistro & Bar

If you like to kick start your taste buds in the morning, this charming Cajun-inspired bistro located in the heart of Hillcrest is a must. Previously known as Vieux Carre, neighbor of jazz club The Afterthought, the two are now collectively known as Afterthought Bistro & Bar.

A blend of Southern- and Cajun-inspired fare, the brunch menu is full of favorites with a Creole twist. We highly recommend the rich and creamy chipotle shrimp and Gorgonzola grits. After scraping what was left of this spicy, cheesy delight from the bottom of the bowl, we barely managed to refrain from licking the rest of it. We already can’t wait to go back.

Now, if you like all of your breakfast favorites on one sandwich, go with the Big Boi, which involves a fried egg, Canadian bacon, cheddar, tomato and spinach stacked between two toasted English muffins.

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday  
Where: 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Contact: (501) 663-1196

2. Loca Luna

Offering a selection of American classics and Mexican-inspired breakfast favorites, Loca Luna remains one of the city’s most popular brunch spots. Located in Riverdale, this Southern bistro offers a menu chock full of delicious Sunday brunch options, including the crab cake Benedict, which tops our list of must-eats.

Owner and Chef Mark Abernathy’s Southern flair on classics keeps us coming back Sunday after Sunday. We love the old-fashioned country breakfast (which includes savory pepper-cured bacon and homemade sausage balls that are to die for) and the French toast croissants with roasted pecans, honey butter, warm syrup and caramelized bananas.

We’re also big fans of the Mexican-inspired dishes like the migas — scrambled farm-fresh eggs over tortilla strips, layered with bacon, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, peppers and homemade ranchero sauce.

Sigh … so many delightful options. While we debate our brunch selection, we’ll just sip on our favorite drink — the mango mimosa. But if you prefer your morning libations on the spicy side, we also recommend the Loca Luna bloody mary.

When: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
Where: 3519 Old Cantrell Road
Contact: (501) 663-4666

3. The Root Café

Located in SoMa, beside the giant mural of jubilant fruits and veggies, The Root Café has been a lunchtime mainstay for our staff since it opened in 2011. We love owner Jack Sundell’s commitment to using real ingredients, sourced from local farms whenever possible. In fact, The Root boasts a roster of more than 60 Arkansas farmers and producers from which they source their fresh produce, meat and dairy products.

In addition to a delish lunch, the Root also serves Sunday brunch, imagined by “breakfast architect” Spartagus Woodall. The café is open Sundays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and hungry patrons start arriving at 9 on the dot. Get a table outside and try the eggs banh mi, two eggs shipwrecked, topped with house-made garlic mayo, pickled carrot and daikon radish, jalapeno, fresh cilantro, hoisin and Sriracha. Served with toasted baguette and a small side salad, this dish is legit.

Another solid choice is the Benedictine BLT, which is comprised of a cream cheese, cucumber and shallot spread, Dunbar Gardens roasted plum tomatoes and Falling Sky Farms bacon sandwiched between two grilled slices of Boulevard challah bread. Perhaps one of our favorite brunch dishes is the simplest: a grit cake made with grits from War Eagle Mill, paired with Arkansas honey. Sweet and savory at the same time, we literally can’t stop thinking about it.

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
Where: 1500 South Main St.
Contact: (501) 414-0423

4. B-Side

Tucked away in the Market Place Shopping Center in west Little Rock, B-Side is a staple on the brunch circuit. The beignets are a must-have starter. These delicious pastries are fried to perfection, finished with a dusting of powdered sugar and served with delicious dipping sauces — we opted for the tart and tangy lemon curd sauce, but blueberry is also a favorite.

A twist on a classic, French toast on a stick encased in crispy bacon is the perfect pairing of both brunch and fair food. What’s not to love about deep-fried goodness in the morning without all of the carnival music and smelly livestock?

We advise wearing something with a little give before ordering the B-Side favorite, biscuit mountain. Two biscuits piled high with sausage patties, potatoes and gravy and topped with sunny-side-up eggs is always a win. Also, don’t miss out on the famed Gouda grits, which hit the spot every time.

While mimosas and bloody marys are standard brunch cocktails, the fresh squeezed orange juice and spicy homemade bloody mary mix really set B-Side apart. Yes, I think we will have another.

When: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: 11121 Rodney Parham Road
Contact: (501) 554-0914

5. U.S. Pizza Co.

Pizza, for brunch? Hear us out. On Saturdays and Sundays, U.S. Pizza Co. offers a variety of savory breakfast pizzas. One of our favorites is the bacon, spinach & tomato pizza. Assembled on a crispy 10- or 13-inch crust, all of the main breakfast goods are here: eggs, bacon, spinach, Roma tomatoes and cheese. The Sunday Warrior — which includes Canadian bacon — is also a table pleaser.

Looking for a gluten-free option? You’re in luck. The pizza eatery offers gluten-free frittatas as an alternative to the breakfast pie. Choices include the spinach and the asparagus and onion frittata — all served with a side of fresh fruit. If you don’t see anything on the menu that tickles your fancy, you also have the option to create your own pizza and frittata.

With $2 mimosas and $8.99 bottles of champagne for a table, this is one of the best brunch cocktail deals in town. This “brizza,” or breakfast pizza (we like to keep up with the cool lingo around here) is a great addition to our brunch and is making our weekends taste even better.

When: 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
Where: multiple locations, but we like Hillcrest best: 2710 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Contact: (501) 663-2198

6. Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel

When we saw a dessert course offered for brunch, it didn’t take long — or even 10 seconds — to book our reservation for Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel. This elegant downtown brunch venue offers a decadent three-course brunch at a fixed price of $39. Begin your leisurely meal with a refreshing grapefruit mimosa and settle in for a deluxe daytime dining experience. With a range of menu options — from the mouth-watering oysters Rockefeller appetizer to the decadent chocolate French toast with sautéed bananas and peanut butter-butter entrée — these dishes are worth the extra cardio, and we haven’t even gotten to dessert yet.

The traditional eggs Benedict are a favorite for us, with perfectly poached eggs and delightfully creamy hollandaise that you want savor and sop up before every bite. Finally, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate mousse with vanilla sauce for dessert. This is a brunch spot worthy of a few lazy hours on a Sunday morning.

When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday only
Where: Markham and Louisiana streets
Contact: (501) 374-7474

Share some of your favorite brunch spots and dishes with us on Instagram! Find us @LittleRockSoiree and tag #lrsoireebrunchers.