Avenue Grill starts serving brunch this Saturday. Really

The third time could be a charm for Avenue Grill. The restaurant at 630 East 17th Avenue was originally supposed to introduce its new Saturday brunch in mid-February, then late February. Now, that brunch will debut on Saturday, March 6.

"We're on, no matter what," promises Dallas Massey, director of marketing for Basic Food Group, which manages the restaurant. "We didn't want to launch it until it was absolutely perfect - and we feel like we're there. The presentation of the dishes, the flavor profile, we're ready."

Regulars of Avenue Grill, which opened back in the late '80s (just take a look at the photos on the wall if you doubt that date), have been ready for brunch for a long time. "The inspiration really came from our guests," Massey says. "They've been asking for it."

And come Saturday, here's some of what they'll get: Orange Essence Challah French Toast, House Smoked Salmon Hash and Avenue Poutine -- freshly ground chuck and a fried egg over smothered fries, with beef gravy and fresh mozzarella - along with new, eye-opener cocktails.

But for the traditionalists in the crowd, the kitchen will also serve up the salads, sandwiches and the burgers that made Saturday lunch at the Avenue a popular stop. Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays -- which means that the restaurant will be opening just an hour earlier than it used to. Still, "it's a monumental change for them," Massey says. The equipment and staffing "to do eggs and those kind of things, it's very different."

In fact, the Avenue has tried to do lunch before over the years. "Brunch has come in and out," Massey says. "They haven't really focused on the idea of doing a brunch - and doing the best brunch in town."

They are now. And depending on how Saturday goes, a Sunday brunch might not be far behind. "I can see this moving forward," Massey admits. "Depending on the popularity, we do have it in our vision to open on Sunday as well."

But first, they need to get through this first brunch.

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