Banjos and Bellinis for brunch

by Sydnee Brooker

Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor
Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

Heading south on 30th Street, just past University Avenue, one particular establishment stands out. Look for a yellow building accented with brick, forest green French doors, stained glass windows and a second-level wraparound porch. Inside, patrons will find an experienced staff serving up elegant, traditional food with a side of southern charm. The restaurant is Urban Solace, which is exactly what it is. In the midst of hectic, swarming city life, this classy eatery provides consolation and relief for customers in need of a break.

Sunday mornings are a special time in this southern oasis because from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Bluegrass Brunch is in session. Senses are sure to be awakened upon entering this breakfast bastion. Colorful, modern art decorates wood-trimmed white walls, and a massive wine and liquor menu rests against a beautiful brick façade behind the bar. The smell of sweet pecan cinnamon rolls and freshly baked bread wafts throughout the restaurant as guests sip complimentary coffee.

Urban Solace also features live music during its Sunday brunch, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable. For breakfast, it is absolutely necessary to order the Finger Lickin’ Home-Made Buttermilk Cinnamon Roll with cream cheese frosting. After 10:30 a.m., this appetizer should be eaten in the charming waiting area or at the bar, because a seat inside might be a 20 minute wait and a band side patio table could take up to an hour. After sitting down, a celery-sticked Bloody Mary or a peach-infused Bellini will wake anyone up before the main meal.

Between various gourmet breakfast sandwiches, salads, small plates and lunch sandwiches, it is a challenge to choose what to indulge in, but the EBLT will not disappoint. This thick, toasted egg bread sandwich is filled with brown sugar slab bacon, fried eggs and lemon-thyme aioli and accompanied with a side of sweet potato fries. Meat lovers should try the Steak Benny, a house biscuit smothered with smoked ancho chili hollandaise sauce and topped with prime hangar steak and fresh poached eggs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, vegetarians can replace the steak with a portobello mushroom.

While it would be difficult for other breakfast destinations to beat Urban Solace’s food, music and ambiance, there is still more that makes this restaurant rise above the rest. The service is impeccable and every employee takes the responsibility of satisfying customers’ needs. Diners can be assured their coffee cups and water glasses will never reach half empty and before there is even time to realize a salt dish is depleted or ketchup is needed, a server will be there. It is impressive how the front of the restaurant is kept so organized and the group of guests so happy with such a busy crowd.

“Crazy is the perfect way to describe Sunday brunch,” server Tony Kinsel said. “I have worked in the restaurant business for years, and I have never seen a place completely full for a whole shift. During the whole brunch people are at the bar, in the front waiting area, out on the patio. It’s crazy.”

Along with comfort, hustle is part of Urban Solace’s charm, especially on a Sunday morning. Though seemingly a glaring oxymoron, buzz from the busy front is quickly drowned out by live music and pleasant conversation.

The bill will not burn a hole in guests’ Sunday’s best either. Most of the large entrees range from $9 to $12, and breakfast for two with coffee and an appetizer is only slightly more than $30. The bluesy music, friendly people and comforting food make for an elegant but casual Sunday brunch.

Urban Solace

3823 30th St.
San Diego, 92104