The Jefferson Hotel’s Sunday Champagne Brunch is one of Richmond’s classic must-do events. Guests gather in the rotunda for a smorgasbord of delicious food along with live music, ice sculptures, and a festive environment. The brunch is special no matter how you do it, but I’ve assembled some top tips to ensure you get the most bang for your buck at the Jefferson’s famous Sunday brunch.
Get the Best Brunch Rates in the Summer
The Jefferson’s brunch costs $45 throughout the year or $60 on holidays and from around the day after Thanksgiving through the week after New Year’s while the holiday decor is up. Reservations open six months ahead of the date and tend to fill up one to three months ahead, so plan ahead if you have a specific brunch date in mind. If you go during July and August, the brunch is only $39 per person. It’s also usually easier to get reservations, so take advantage of the summer season.
For Holiday Brunch, Call Really, Really Early
As stated above, from Thanksgiving through the week after New Year’s Day, brunch costs $60 per person. The Jefferson’s Christmas tree and holiday decor are a Richmond top holiday attraction, so reservations go early for this time of year. In fact, they are known to book up the day they become available. If you want to go, I’d call for a reservation during the summer. Seriously.
Get an Early Time Slot
Reservations are available at 10:30, 11, 1, and 1:30. I’ve gone on the earlier and on the later side. With the amount of food that has to be prepared for this extensive buffet, a lot of it has to be prepared in advance of all the brunch services. Therefore, if you choose the brunch at 10:30 or 11, your food is likely to be fresher. I’ve found that this is the case on my visits. In addition, if you go for the 1 or 1:30 seating, you will notice the staff stops refilling items like dessert as the service gets later.
Ask for a Table in the Rotunda or the Lounge
The brunch buffet is located in the hotel’s main rotunda and there are tables located in the rotunda itself, in TJ’s Lounge and in the mezzanine. I’ve done all three and my least favorite is the mezzanine. If you sit here, you have to go up and down the stairs to access the buffet. It’s good for burning calories, but bad for grabbing an extra muffin or waffle! The rotunda provides the most immediate access to the food and is also the most lively. If you have a smaller group, Tj’s Lounge is fun because it provides a more secluded dining experience that’s still within easy access of the food.
What to Wear to Brunch at The Jefferson
There is no specific dress code for The Jefferson’s Sunday Champagne Brunch, but many people choose to wear their Sunday best. The average bruncher is dressed in business casual attire with ladies in sundresses and men in khakis with a polo shirt. Ties and sport coats are not required, although many choose to wear them. You know you’re going to want a snazzy photo in the elegant atmosphere, so dress to impress!
Take a Lap Before You Eat
Before you stuff yourself with bacon and sausage, take a quick lap around the entire buffet and take note of everything you want to taste. The selections span breakfast dishes, lunch selections, and desserts, so you’ll want to strategize accordingly.
Don’t Miss Favorites
Sure, made-to-order omelets and freshly shucked oysters look appealing, but I have some other hidden gem favorites you won’t want to miss. In terms of breakfast, go for the eggs benedict, particularly if you arrive early. Expertly executed Hollandaise, salty country ham, and perfectly poached eggs combine for breakfast perfection that is impressively executed in mass form.
Also try the three-cheese grits, which are creamy, gooey and sharply cheesy. Another dish you might not think to taste is the signature spoonbread. It hits a perfect point between sweet and savory with a creamy texture that is supremely satisfying. In terms of dessert, don’t miss local favorite Sugar Shack Donuts, particularly if you’re from out of town. These signature favorites come in a variety of indulgent flavors. Think maple bacon or Butterfinger.
Know Your Drink Choices
Your brunch comes with unlimited orange juice, sparkling wine (not actual champagne, but I’ll take it!), coffee, and tea. You can’t get the Jefferson Blend tea that is served during the Jefferson’s famous tea time. You also cannot order Bloody Marys or beers, even for an additional charge. Some friends of mine who had been over-served the night before were sad to learn this on a recent visit. Make sure your brunch buddies are ready for bubbly!