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Griddle me this
Why settle for a boring breakfast when you can flip your own at the Funky Brunch?
MICHELE MOBLEY - All early morning-to-afternoon appetites can be sated at the Funky Brunch Cafe, including a hankering for a delicious craft cocktail from bar manager Dylan Ilinitch. - photo by Michele Mobley

If you think about it, everyone wins at brunch.

No matter how late you sleep, it’s still socially acceptable to order peanut butter pancakes. Those go-getters who have been up since dawn can move on to soups and sandwiches. And at what other meal can poached eggs be paired with vodka?

Also: Bacon. With everything. Including the vodka.

Whatever your early morning-to-afternoon appetite, you’ll find your favorite at the recently-opened Funky Brunch Café on East Broughton Street. All the classics are on the menu: Eggs Benedict (renamed “The Traitor” and topped with tangy, real hollandaise), crispy hash browns, steak and eggs, omelets stuffed with fresh veggies and melted cheese, the aforementioned crunchy bacon in both pork and turkey. Yearnings for lighter fare will be satisfied with spiced oatmeal and parfaits of lusciously layered yogurt, granola and fresh fruit. Gluten-free bread and vegan dishes allow every palate to be a player.

And here’s the cutest kicker of ‘em all: There’s a griddle built into the center of your table to make your own gourmet pancakes ($7). Your server brings a squeeze bottle full of your choice of batter (buttermilk, whole grain or gluten-free made from rice flour) and toppings (everything from bananas to almonds to M&M’s), gives the griddle a good spritz of non-stick oil and flips the switch. Then it’s up to you and your spatula—make ‘em big, small, smiley faced-shaped, write your name, whatever you like.

Funky Brunch owners Deanne and Trey Skinner came across the “cook your own” concept several times in their summer RV travels around the U.S. and were charmed by the interactive fun it brought to breakfast out. They decided Savannah could handle it, though some diners may need more practice than others.

“The first batch always comes out a little weird-looking,” warns Deanne with a chuckle. “Just like at home.”

Imported from Germany, the griddles have a two-inch perimeter that stays cool and a slightly concave center to prevent accidents. Act like an idiot and touch it in the middle, however, you’re going to get burned.

Hey, no worries if it’s too much responsibility or you’re just feeling lazy; the line cooks are happy to prepare a perfectly-browned stack for you—the Funky Brunch is all about options.

“I’m a picky eater myself,” confesses Deanne. “We wanted people to be able to order what they like without a lot of trouble.”

Which brings us to the lunch side of things. For $7, you can build the salad of your dreams from five different lettuce mixes, add in cheese (blue, cheddar, parmesan or feta) and meat (grilled chicken, diced ham or shrimp) and top it with three offerings from a veritable garden of fresh vegetables and nine different dressings.

While some diners dig the freedom, the Funky Brunch bunch appreciates that too many choices can be overwhelming. There are plenty of ready-made recipes like the Zingy Chick, a fresh croissant stuffed with lemon-tarragon chicken, and the Roasted Sammy with roast beef, Provolone cheese and caramelized onions served with au jus. Carnivores can sink their teeth into the Signature, a giant beef/Andouille sausage burger smothered in Asiago cheese and sprinkled with sun-dried tomato aioli. Sandwiches range from $7 to $14 and are served with a choice of side salad (if your decision-making skills freeze up, just go with the bacon ranch macaroni.)

It may be illegal in certain states to eat brunch without a sumptuously garnished Bloody Mary, and bar manager Dylan Ilinitch has created a list of craft cocktails to rival any nighttime lounge. Start the morning off right with the Bellini-esque Flowers & Fun, served with a candied hibiscus bloom, or a traditional mimosa with squeezed-right-before-your-eyes orange juice. Those seeking more along the lines of some hair of the dog might try the bourbon-based Kinky Tea or Ilinitch’s wickedly delicious take on Irish coffee, the aptly-named Good Morning, Good Luck.

With its sleek silhouettes, steel flourishes and cheerful orange-and-green palette, the Funky Brunch is what might happen if Henry Ford and Donald Duck opened a Route 66 diner. A massive fixture made from actual streetlights overlooks the bar, and hurricane storm panels painted by local street artist Rodney Duran adorn the walls. Deanne calls the look “retro industrial” and designed the interior as the antithesis of the Barbie Dream House she didn’t have when she was growing up.

“My mother had these stainless steel tables and I would stack them up to make my dolls this ultra-modern hideaway,” she remembers. “It was so much better than pink plastic!”

The clean, bright space is also versatile: There’s outdoor seating under the canopy, and the entire floor can be cleared for special evening events. Hopscotch and cornhole are coming to the courtyard, in keeping with the Skinners’ family-friendly aesthetic.

“I’m a mom,” assures Deanne, who has one son in college and the other already eagerly bussing tables and cooking on the line.

“This is a place that kids can enjoy as much as the adults.”

See? Brunch is for everybody. But no matter how comfortable you feel, please leave your fuzzy slippers at home.

The Funky Brunch Café is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 304 Broughton St., (912) 234-3050,

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