In its way, brunch is the most luxurious of meals out. The elements can be as basic as eggs and potatoes, though upping the ante with Champagne is always nice. The place can be as modest as a diner, but its timing is predicated on having the weekend off, sleeping in a little. We eat at a leisurely pace and linger at the table — but nobody schedules a working brunch. Dining alone for a regular meal is lovely but brunch is meant to be social. And if the last couple years have taught us anything, it's what a luxury gathering can be.

The return of Saturday and Sunday brunch at the Pub at the Creamery felt auspicious, especially with its newly built patio. Swaths of sail cloth cast shade on the bench seating, café tables and chairs. There's greenery at the base of the trellis and a mural of potted plants painted along the wall. "On a nice day, it's the best seating in the house," says Pub co-owner Jake Pickard.

The best seat on the patio might be the one with the chicken and waffles in front of it, though. "Chicken and waffles is definitely my favorite brunch item. Kristen [Callahan], our head chef, does a really nice job." The waffle, light and crisp outside with a springy interior, would make anyone happy on its own. But topped with a wonderfully juicy, buttermilk-brined chicken thigh fried to a lacy crust that produces an audible crunch that may turn your neighbor's head. For those sticking to savory, the Breakfast Burger is a satisfying option: a stack of sausage, bacon, cheddar cheese and arugula topped with a fried egg and served on a soft house-made bun swiped with maple aioli. The home fries — jackets on, evenly browned and spiced — hold their own on the side.

There are options for devotees of biscuits and gravy: The rolled biscuits layered with green onions can be smothered with a spicy pork sausage gravy or an equally rich mushroom gravy. (Though a shareable side of the mushroom gravy won't go to waste no matter what else is on the table.) The sourdough Arcata Toast makes the case for a lighter meal with avocado, garlic and a tumble of bright cherry tomatoes drizzled with a tangy balsamic reduction. But if you're truly famished, the Tater Tot-stuffed California breakfast burrito may be the challenge you seek.

Come back to peruse the bevy of taps for beers local and far-flung — brunch offers its own drink menu for a lazy weekend morning. Fresh-squeezed orange juice, kombucha and yerba mate in one column, bubbly cocktails and mimosas in the other. Of the latter, the guava and mango varieties of the Pubbly are particularly sunny choices made with Wycliff Brut.

"Brunch is forever and always," says Pickard, though some changes may be on the way for the lunch and dinner menus. Callahan, who has worked in the kitchens at the Alibi and Humboldt Brews, is working on a late-night menu with items like meatball subs.

Pickard opened the Pub with Timmaree Finigan and her fiancé Corbin Larson in June of 2019, offering counter service with an enviable list of beer and wine, and a menu that spanned from woodfired pizzas to bulgogi bowls. But Pickard says the industrial elements and reclaimed redwood that create the feel of the place, indoor and outdoor, is owed to Timmaree's parents, Brian and Lisa Finigan, who also own the building.

"They're masters at their craft ... they made the cabinets, made the bar," says Pickard, who put in sweat equity hammering and hauling under their guidance. The bar is a fine example of reclaimed redwood, constructed of three slabs from a single burned tree. Overhead are old library dividers from Cal Poly Humboldt. The tap box is built from heat exchanger plates, which were also used to make the hanging light fixtures. The overall effect is clever and nostalgic, in keeping with the historic building.

There are touches from Pickard's family, too, in the form of the pool table from his childhood home. "We got that when I was like 15," he says. "My parents got it so we wouldn't go drinking and driving, so we'd have something to do." (Attention parents with space in the basement: It mostly worked.) Playing pool at the Pub is free but it's $1 if you drop a ball or a cue. The foosball table is free, too, and there are board games and cribbage for customers to grab for their table or booth. Pub staff don't mind if you linger. Bask in the luxury.

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About The Author

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal. She won the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2020 Best Food Writing Award and the 2019 California News Publisher's Association award for Best Writing.

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