Chicken and waffles: Admit it. You’re over it. Or at least you’re over the lazy approach countless restaurants are taking to the dish, and many other brunch classics.
Brunch is supposed to be fun, so the food should live up to the hype. But honestly, is that truly the case in Dallas? Half the chefs cringe at the thought of brunch and only partake because they feel they must. But Jessie Washington, owner of Brunchaholics, isn’t one of them. And he’s looking to change the way people think about the beloved weekend indulgence, which is one of the reasons he left Houston.
“I moved to Dallas because I thought the Houston food scene was kind of saturated," he says. "I feel like the Dallas food scene is kind of wide open. And I know a lot more people here, so the support is kind of built in. So it was a good business decision.”
Washington, who’s the son of a military dad, moved around quite a bit growing up.
“I’ve lived Alabama a few times. I lived in Houston most of my life, but I went to high school in Baltimore,” Washington says. “Even though they’re both in the south, Texas and Alabama have different cuisines. Living on the east coast was all about crab, seafood, pizza, subs. And people in Texas think I’m crazy because I like blue cheese.”
And despite having settled into a region that thrives on Southern cooking, he’s not letting where he lives fully dictate his menu — something that, for some, can create pushback. But for Washington and his food stand at Dallas Farmers Market, it seems to be working quite nicely.
“I switch up my menu each week, for the most part," he says. "The shrimp and grits is my number one. When I got into catering and cooking for people, that is what everybody wanted. So it’s my go-to dish, and I usually always have that on the menu. But I try and think outside the box because a lot of brunch places I go to have the same thing. Like chicken and waffles or a chicken biscuit. There’s no variation. That’s why I try and bring a new take on things — like the soul food burrito. I don’t think anyone has done anything like that.”
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That soul food burrito is stuffed with fried or blackened catfish, mac and cheese and greens and served with a side of hot sauce. Another customer favorite is bacon, egg and cheese egg roll served with salsa and/or maple syrup.
Washington’s Brunchaholics booth is located at The Shed at the Dallas Farmer’s Market. And as long as Dallas’ obsession with brunch thrives, by the looks of things, so will his business.
“I believe brunch is here to stay,” Washington predicts. “I think the restaurants that do brunch just to do it and please patrons will eventually stop serving it. And the restaurants that specialize in brunch will increase. At least that’s what I’m hoping. But right now, I think people are doing it for more business.”