Southern Brunch at Lula Is Decadent and Delicious

Chef Bradley Gilmore strikes again. The North Carolina native who opened his pop-up Lula Southern Cookhouse in late 2021 just added Sunday brunch to the roster. It’s an amazing mix of classic brunch recipes Gilmore has concocted—many inspired by his beloved grandma Lula. (Yes, the namesake behind his restaurant.)

Lula Mae

We had barely sat down before Gilmore whisked out his famous orange rolls and blueberry stuffed biscuits with cinnamon icing. Be careful, they’re deliciously dense and will fill you up before you even order. I’m not sure how Gilmore manages to achieve his mile-high orange roll (which is, indeed, a neon tangerine color.) The warm, citrus glaze was so noteworthy I may or may not have licked the plate. (Happens.)

While Lula’s entire expansive menu is available on Sundays, Gilmore’s brunch menu is flavorful lot. His fried oysters—one of his personal faves—is technically an appetizer but can easily be a meal. Feeling adventurous? The seafood frittata features shrimp, oysters, and crayfish—and something Gilmore calls the “holy trinity of veggies.” (Bless.) I call it fluffy seafood perfection.

Given that every other dish flying out of the kitchen was his insanely popular chicken and waffles, we ordered two. The rice waffle and sorghum butter are the perfect complement to the drizzled chili syrup. I’m not sure where he’s sourcing his chickens, but the portions were mammoth. If bathing in that syrup were not so unconventional, the entire table would have attempted it.

A few foodie notes: Gilmore opts for potatoes or grits on most of his brunch dishes. Always, always, always defer to the grits. You can get potatoes anywhere. His grits, however, are so rich I can only assume they’re made with bear lard. There’s homemade hot sauce on the table. Use it sparingly. It packs a wallop. (Anything that looks fluorescent usually does.) And if you’re a coffee guzzler, be mindful. The servers are all running amuck, and it was dicey to get refills.

We made reservations at 11 a.m. and the place was hoppin’. When we left at 12:30 p.m., it was a madhouse of hungry patrons. The line had sprawled down the stairs, up the stairs, and out the door. There was a slew of churchgoers dressed in their finest. They were (natch!) all drinking his spiced bourbon cider. And, yes, if you’re a simple pedestrian, there are $20 bottomless mimosas. Plus, if you’re totally uncouth, Gilmore even offers a Brewmosa—a Miller High Life bottle and shot of orange juice. (Double bless.)

Bring your appetite. And a defibrillator. You’ll need it.