Cross Woodberry Kitchen's deliberate rusticity with Miss Shirley's crowd-pleasing menu and high-volume efficiency, and the result is Iron Rooster, a new brunch sensation in historic Annapolis. Since opening in late 2014, the draw of this row-house space, decorated with vintage signs and old-fashioned ephemera, has been its all-day breakfast menu featuring decadent re-imaginings of morning staples—plus some lunch and supper options thrown in for good measure.
One recent Sunday, we tested the Rooster's brunch bona fides. (Iron Rooster does not accept reservations before 4 p.m. on weekends, so practice patience.) Even before our visit, we'd heard that the house-made pop tart ($5.95) was the thing to try, so we did. Fillings vary, but the version we tried was a flakey pastry envelope filled with mixed-berry jam and topped with berries, whipped cream, and sprinkles. It was tooth-decaying-ly sweet, but undeniably tasty and tided us over while we perused the novella-length menu that offers everything from a yogurt parfait with house-made granola ($7.95) to a bowl of bacon and egg ramen ($9.95).
Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we settled on chicken and waffles ($14.95), the brisket "Benny" ($13.95), and chocolate-chip pancakes with strawberries ($11.93). (Brunch is no time to be virtuous—and we weren't.) Everything we ordered was above par, though some dishes suffered from too much of a good thing: The pancakes were fluffy, but arrived dusted with powdered sugar and extra chocolate chips, plus a dollop of maple-bourbon butter.
The chicken and waffles were a more successful pick, enlivened by savory cornbread-jalapeño waffles. The spice of the waffles tempered the saltiness of the fried chicken and the richness of the buttermilk gravy. We also enjoyed the twist on a classic eggs Benedict—in this case, a moist beef brisket mixed with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro and topped with two poached eggs doused with hollandaise and served on yet another cornbread-jalapeño waffle. Portions are impressive, so expect your all-day breakfast to last well into the night.
›› Iron Rooster, 12 Market Space, Annapolis, 410-990-1600. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Prices: $3.50-37.95.