Brunch isn't new. The concept of something in between breakfast and lunch has been around a long time. The craze of making the meal an all-day affair is newer, but even that has been going on for years now. It almost seems inconceivable that a restaurant could open today and not offer a Sunday brunch. They've become so popular, especially among the younger set, that it's becoming common to see brunch offered on Saturdays and Sundays. In New York, I've seen some restaurants with weekday brunch menus.
Soco, the Thornton Park Southern contemporary restaurant, did not offer a Sunday brunch when it first opened more than three and a half years ago. But it soon joined the list of restaurants offering Saturday and Sunday brunch menus, and both days have become wildly popular.
And why not, with so many inventive things on the menu? I finally stopped in to try brunch (on a Sunday; I'm old school) and enjoyed my food very much.
Enjoyed my drink even more. There seem to be a lot of special brunch drinks and even pitchers of cocktails and bottomless mimosa options that... Ohhhhhhhh, now I get why brunches are so popular.
Anyway, I enjoyed the Sparkler, shown at top, which features Bernheim Wheat Whiskey, Aperol, lemon, agave and a splash of sparkling wine. The whiskey gave it a manlier note, though the presentation in a slender flute neutered it somewhat. Refreshing nonetheless.
From the list of Small Plates I chose the Meatloaf Skillet Hash, a small cast iron pan with a medley of potato chunks blended in a sausage gravy and topped with a sunny side up egg. The yolk blending with the gravy made a wonderfully rich mix.
From the Main section of the menu I selected the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Shrimp and Grits, which is pretty much all the explanation needed, except that it included a wonderful tomato gravy along with the chewy bits of bacon and just cheesy enough grits. Would have preferred having the tails removed from the shrimp, but I was still able to manage removing them with knife and fork after one Sparkler; couldn't guarantee it after another.
Service was good. (And this is a good place for me to mention that when Soco opened in 2014 it was a client of Scott Joseph Company's consulting services but is not currently.)
My companion and I sat on the patio, which has always been one of the more popular spots in Thornton Park, even when the space was home to Hue. We managed to stay mostly in the shade and under a fan, but in the coming summer months even that might not be cool enough. Luckily the interior dining space is lovely, too.
Soco is at 629 E. Central Blvd., Orlando. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The phone number is 407-849-1800.