Since opening the popular Vern’s in Charleston, South Carolina, last year, co-owners Bethany and Daniel “Dano” Heinze have been spending nearly every evening in the restaurant’s kitchen. So when the couple is looking to recharge with friends and family, brunch is a go-to. It’s also an ideal meal for entertaining, not only because of the inviting menu options (Eggs! Hash browns! Pancakes!), but also because it sets the tone for your guests’ whole day. “Bethany’s mom is a brunch host master, always frying up bacon and eggs in the morning when we visit their home,” says Dano, the executive chef at Vern’s. “The smell immediately sparks hunger and excitement for what’s ahead.” When the Heinzes invite guests for brunch, they lean toward dishes that can be prepped in advance and offer some lighter bites with big flavors, like their crunchy salad, a frittata with homemade romesco sauce, and a fluffy stack of benne seed pancakes topped with seasonal fruit and drizzled with honey. Bethany, the restaurant’s beverage and operations director, has a favorite brunch drink, too: the Vern’s Michelada, inspired by visits to a favorite beach dive in Los Angeles, where the couple lived for five years. “Brunch is a methodical meal,” Dano says. “It needs enough sustenance to prevent people from becoming hangry, but also needs to be light and energizing so it can carry everyone forward into the rest of their day.”
Listen to the Heinzes’ brunch playlist.