What makes brunch brunch? Many would say it’s the combination of late-morning reservations, eggs on everything, and gingerly nursed hangovers that sets the weekend ritual apart from other meals. But Jason Bass and Ryan Rhodes, cofounders of The Night Brunch, are questioning that formula, and the success of their bimonthly foodie fête proves that brunch isn’t relegated to lazy Sunday mornings anymore.
Bass and Rhodes met five years ago through mutual friends, and although neither partner has a background in food—Bass is the cofounder of local bag shop Treason Toting Company, and Rhodes spins records as DJ Impulse—Rhodes points out, “We’ve been eating brunch a long time.”
After years of sampling how cities such as New York and Los Angeles approach the weekend meal, the Maryland natives wanted to bring a taste of that bustling lifestyle home. The duo launched The Night Brunch series this past April at Remington’s popular R. House food hall, and since then, hundreds of gourmands have flocked to the exclusive Wednesday and Saturday night gatherings at local eateries such as Wet City, Gertrude’s, and Topside.
Each event boasts a specialty menu of brunch eats ranging from shrimp and grits to coffee cinnamon rolls, with Bloody Marys and mimosas flowing throughout the night. Tickets run between $5-10, and they go quickly: August’s event at Southern Provisions in Canton sold out in just 14 hours.
The Night Brunch redefines brunch not just as a meal, but as a meeting place where people of all ages and from all corners of the city can rub elbows. Bass and Rhodes have already expanded their concept to include Night Brunch-branded cooking classes, and they hope to continue to use brunch as a way to unite all eaters.
“People are starting to come together more than ever,” says Bass. “Through these kinds of events, we can create the culture we want to see in our city.”