By Brian Thalhammer | Photography by Holly Leitner

Springtime in the Geneva Lake area ushers in a wave of culinary delights served as part of that quintessential mid-morning feast: the beloved brunch. From classics like breakfast pastries and cooked-to-order omelets to full carving stations and an array of delectable seafood dishes, the area’s spectacular brunch options offer a little bit of everything. (Our definition of brunch: a meal that includes both breakfast food and heavier dishes, as well as the option for alcohol, often consumed in the form of a mimosa or Bloody Mary cocktail.)

With spring comes the celebration of events such as Mother’s Day, Easter and graduations, all of which lend themselves to a special brunch experience. Picture this: sitting lakeside or on a pretty patio, a gentle breeze carrying the fragrant aroma of freshly brewed coffee and tantalizing dishes while the sun paints the beautiful scenery beyond in shimmering hues. All of this and more is possible locally, so we decided to embark on a journey to savor the best brunch options in the Geneva Lake area.

For a truly decadent experience, try the classic Sunday brunch at Geneva ChopHouse at Lake Geneva’s Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, a AAA four-diamond resort with dining options to match. The ChopHouse’s all-you- can-eat brunch service is incredible, offering everything from smoked salmon on mini bagels to an avocado toast station, from fresh oysters to a tantalizing spread of pastries, each dish boasting an artful presentation and delicious taste.

But the crown jewel of this experience? The chef-carved prime rib and the mouthwatering pork belly Benedict, each bite an ode to culinary excellence. Then there’s the free- flowing champagne and a bottomless mimosa bar. This brunch is perfect for catching up with friends or family over one of the most impressive menus Lake Geneva has to offer, with impeccable service and a symphony of flavors.

For a fantastic brunch with picturesque views, head to The Getaway on Lake Como. This one-of-a-kind space was once a speakeasy during Prohibition, adding to the historic ambiance of this brunch experience. Today, the full-service restaurant boasts a popular breakfast menu as well as a full bar, welcoming guests to savor their favorite libations while basking in the cozy atmosphere.

The Getaway breakfast menu is available Thursdays through Sundays and includes enticing options like the homemade prime rib pot pie (Thursdays only). Don’t miss The Getaway’s “Homemade Basket of Biscuits” or “The Bootlegger Stuffed Breakfast Biscuit,” which includes a delicious homemade biscuit stuffed with scrambled eggs, sausage gravy and cheddar cheese, topped with extra sausage gravy, for a warm and inviting meal. The Crab Benedict is a “big fan favorite,” according to The Getaway’s friendly staff. This dish is made with two toasted English muffins topped with poached eggs, lump crab meat, avocado, Hollandaise sauce and Old Bay seasoning, a perfect brunch item for those who enjoy lakeside views and seafood eats. And for those looking for an alternative to mimosas, The Getaway’s “Whiskey Thursdays” highlights a fine assortment of whiskey, rye and bourbon options.

If you’re looking for a local food-focused, chef-created brunch experience, try Fire2Fork in Delavan. This isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a celebration of local produce. Chef John Schnupp and his sons, Jesse and Jakob, bring classic expertise from the Culinary Institute of America. This farm-to-table establishment boasts a rustic, open-kitchen concept, where every seat offers a view of the culinary creations in real-time.

Their highly-coveted brunch is a pop-up event, taking place on select Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The frequently changing menu showcases their commitment to locally sourced ingredients. Fire2Fork is dedicated to the craft, with a mission that defines the team’s motivations. “Every ingredient and product has been carefully chosen,” their website proudly boasts. “Every recipe is prepared with enthusiasm for our craft. We know where our food comes from, and we think it’s important that you do, too.”

Featured brunch items currently include chilled East Coast oysters and crab cakes, followed by delectable dishes such as locally revered “Millie’s caramelized apple German pancakes” (a nod to Fire2Fork’s location in the former Millie’s Restaurants and Shopping Village space), fried chicken and waffles and their mouth-watering “Breakfast Pizza,” designed with the best morning ingredients: tomato, spinach, cheddar and fried egg. Those with a sweet tooth can also find pleasure in cobbler, crème brulée and cannoli, and the best part of this brunch menu is that all of the alcoholic beverages — mimosas, Bloody Marys and Spotted Cow — are included in the price!

For those who prefer live entertainment as part of their brunch experience, head to the Sunday Harborside Champagne Brunch at 240 West at the Abbey Resort. The Abbey’s main dining room offers a buffet teeming with breakfast favorites and savory seafood in a classic resort fine dining experience, plus the added bonus of live music.

240 West suggests trying their “Meaty Sunday Starter,” a “carnivore omelet” comprised of chicken sausage, bacon, brisket, Wisconsin cheddar, caramelized onion and rustic potatoes for those seeking extra protein. There’s also a variety of treats such as savory crêpes, frittatas and a personal favorite — lemon blueberry cornmeal pancakes! The star of the menu, however, is the 240 West Signature Bloody Mary, a drink that reimagines the classic with Kurvball whiskey (from nearby Pewaukee, Wisconsin) and Bloody Mary mix, rimmed with a BBQ spice rub — it is a must-try for cocktail aficionados.

History buff brunch diners can transport themselves to a bygone era at The Baker House in Lake Geneva, located in a converted Victorian mansion built in 1889 and once hailed by USA Today as the area’s Most Beautiful Restaurant. Here, Sunday brunch is a harmonious blend of nostalgia and gastronomy. Reserve a seat to immerse yourself in the charm of an era long past while appreciating the carefully curated menu offerings, designed to elevate your morning ritual.

With classical guitar tunes by Garry Allen often setting the tone on Sundays, diners can indulge in a bottomless mimosa brunch experience where culinary delights await at two buffet lines. The “cold line” offers refreshing fruit salads and delectable desserts, while the “hot line” boasts a tempting array of options such as eggs, bacon, sausage, succulent salmon and cod.

Adventurous eaters can relish the bold flavors of their popular kielbasa hash which keeps diners coming back time and again.

What truly sets these brunch spots apart from a prosaic breakfast isn’t just their drinks, menus or settings; it’s the intangible personality of springtime socializing they exude. It’s the laughter that mingles with the clinking of glasses, the conviviality shared among strangers-turned-friends and the warmth that emanates from passionate chefs and attentive servers. It’s the perfect time of year to plan an elevated brunch and seize the opportunity to make new memories with close friends and family over culinary delights.

This article was originally published in February 2024 in the Spring 2024 issue of At The Lake Magazine, our sister publication. Find more things to do in the Lake Geneva area on their website

Editor’s note: Special thanks to 240 West at The Abbey Resort and The Getaway on Lake Como for hosting the photo shoots for this piece.


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