There are some bar/restaurants that serve a great brunch but the décor isn’t welcoming in the harsh light of day — the poor choices some patrons made the night before are almost palpable. But I like the décor of Next Chapter — the bright yellow walls, dark wood floors and tall tables lend the space to brunch, dinner or just drinks. Next Chapter owners have renovated the space, leaving it looking nothing like its predecessor, Mt. Adams Fish House. They serve what they call “Pub Staples” all week and brunch on weekends. Although it feels a bit more like a bar that serves food than a restaurant that serves drinks, the food is as good on the plate as it sounds in print on the menu.
There are only five brunch choices and several a la carte options, but I like a small menu. They have French Toast ($4.99), Goetta and Eggs ($6.99), Biscuits and Gravy ($5.99), Loco Biscuits with green chili salsa and eggs ($6.99) and Breakfast Tacos ($6.99) with egg, cheese and choice of goetta, bacon or sausage. Of course, there are Bloody Marys, even one with a homemade mix, but I decided against it as I had to make a Target run after brunch. (I cannot go to Target with a buzz, because many unnecessary items end up in my cart.)
We ordered French Toast, Breakfast Tacos with Goetta, Loco Biscuits and a la carte scrambled eggs ($2.50) and potato pancakes ($2).
I have never heard of a meaty green chili sauce, and since the homemade green chili on the Loco Biscuits had sausage in it, my friend opted to substitute it for hot salsa. While there are no vegetarian/red meat-free options on the brunch menu, the full Next Chapter menu is served and there are a few delicious-sounding meat (red or otherwise) alternatives there, including the Grilled Fish Tacos ($7.99) and a Veggie Sub ($6.99), plus a few appetizers that could work. Notable meaty items from the Pub Staples section include a Bison Burger ($9.99) and build-your-own deli sandwiches served on a Servatii pretzel bun ($7.50).
The French Toast was fine, but nothing special; it was fluffy, well-cooked and came with a good amount of syrup, which, for me, means a lot. Brunch items come with two potato pancakes (so the side order seemed extraneous), but they all were eaten. Palm-sized patties of mashed potato are fried crisply and have a hint of onion.
The Loco Biscuits were OK, served as two large biscuits with the substituted salsa covering them and a side of scrambled eggs with cheese. The dark red, almost brown chunky salsa was obviously homemade, but since it was cold, it didn’t work well with the biscuits. I would have preferred the eggs over easy so the yolk could add to the sauce.
The Breakfast Tacos are two soft tacos with crumbled goetta, scrambled eggs and cheese. They are served with a mild salsa but needed a little something, so we ordered a side of the green chili sauce. The sauce was creamy, served warm and had a hint of spice from the sausage. That’s when I understood the idea behind the Loco Biscuits — the green chili would have worked as a gravy of sorts, making the dish much more successful. Lesson learned.
As we made our way to explore the upstairs space, I saw multiple orders of biscuits and traditional sausage gravy being served (obviously a great hangover cure); the ample plate looked like a great deal for just $5.99. Upstairs is a bit stark and seemed like a “Hey, look what I did to the rec room”-type renovation. A few tables were scooted against the wall, while another large bar and a yet-to-be-finished DJ booth stand in the corner. I get what they are trying to do: successfully combine food, music and live entertainment all in one space. Next Chapter has only been open for a few months — and the food is a newer addition — so I look forward to its evolution.
Go: 940 Pavilion Street, Mount Adams
Brunch Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Entrée Prices: $4.99-$6.99
Accessibility: Call ahead to have the access point opened