Can't even begin to express how pleasantly surprised I was at the brunch offerings at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough, NC. Well 1st of all, I don't know of too many breweries that offer brunch to begin with. 2nd of all, the quality of the food was impressive. I could just leave it there but I won't.
Take notice of the top photo featuring their spin on a good 'ol favorite, shrimp & grits. It's different, and not always is that a good thing, however this here was really good! The side of collards was a nice compliment to the buttery tasting grit cake and the pure unadulterated shrimp which you could woosh around in the sauce if you want, was delicious. Some of us like to enjoy our flavors separately. ;)
Here are a few snaps from that day. Pimento cheese eggs Benedict, tacos, beer cookie sandwhich oh and the deviled eggs. All were stellar eats.
Founder Erik Myers kindly posed for a pic with me. Check out those awards in the background.
Hillsborough may seem like a bit of a hike if you live in the Raleigh area, but it's not much longer than a drive to Durham, & it's well worth it.
Now, this was a media event that I attended, so I got to try EVERYTHING. Not just all the brunch offerings but (almost) all of their beers as well. The nice folks at Mystery Brewing paired each sampler dish with the perfect beer. Specifically suggested beers are noted on the menu next to each dish. Or you could just ask for a recommendation if you want something other than what's listed. These folks love to talk beer.
What else is appealing about this place? Their beer AND their food menu is seasonal. That's a first I've ever heard of such a concept at a brewery but I really like it!
Another plus? The vast grassy field across the street which pretty much guarantees that you'll be able to park with ease and walk a short distance to Mystery Brewing.
Personally, I'm kind of particular about the feel of a place. I found the casual decor and layout very welcoming. They've got a wall of books and games to enjoy too.
Mystery Brewing is split into 2 areas, although neither feels isolating. You can move from the bar area which has high-top tables and stools, into the sit-down room with tables and chairs. Both areas have large windows so it's nice to be able to glance outside when you want to, or just sit by a window and feel the sunshine on your face while you chat or read or play games.
There is also an outdoor sitting area out back, to which you could bring your well-behaved dog, on a leash of course.
And if you're like me, then you like to have more than one reason to venture into new territory... assuming Hillsborough is "new" territory for you. There are a few other great stops within Hillsborough that you could make before or after hitting Mystery Brewing.
I suggest stopping for some coffee or tea at Cup A Joe (112 W. King Street) and if you've got a sweet tooth like me, then swing by Matthew's Chocolates (107 N. Churton Street). The more I think about it, there are a few eateries there that are pretty worthy. Time flies when you're discovering new places, so before you know it, it will be dinner time. Why not make a full day of it in Hillsborough? If you're up for some amazing farm to fork Southern Italian cuisine, then you really must check out Panciuto (110 S. Churton Street). Reservations may be needed, so plan ahead. The chef proprietor is a James Beard Foundation semi finalist for best chef in the Southeastern region. I've only eaten there once but it was memorable and I highly recommend it.
For more casual eats and perhaps even more beer if you haven't had enough at Mystery Brewing with your brunch, is the Wooden Nickel (105 N. Churton Street). Small, cozy and casual.
The following two places I haven't had a chance to try out yet but I've heard from a few trustworthy foodie friends that these are good places to eat at: La Place Louisiana Cookery (111 N. Churton Street), and Antonia's Italian Restaurant (101 N. Churton Street).
Note: Keep in mind that the brunch menu at Mystery Brewing has changed since I visited. There's that whole seasonal concept again... Check out their social media sites for pics/captions of their latest offerings. Btw, none of which look disappointing in the least. Think I need to revisit and brunch it up again.