Where to: The Farmer’s Daughter in Sudbury.
Why: To visit the Holy Grail of superior brunches.
The backstory: The Farmer’s Daughter is a point of pride in Easton, where locals smugly explain where they live by referencing its proximity. Chandra Gouldrup opened the spot in 2013, focusing on food sourced from local farms, with an emphasis on brunch. Now, there’s a new location in Sudbury, whose most notable restaurant until recently was probably the Wayside Inn.
Usually, brunch is an afterthought, a sad hodge-podge of Saturday night’s leftovers served by bleary-eyed waiters who would rather be anywhere but serving your hungover self a coffee-spiked espresso martini with loaded hash browns while Mariah Carey blares on a loop.
But Gouldrup has restored brunch’s good name. She has a soft spot for the meal, since her first kitchen job was as a Sunday morning dishwasher on New Hampshire’s coast.
“I have a love affair with brunch,” she says.
She comes from a family of potato farmers — hence the name — and grew up eating food from her family’s garden.
“It’s all I knew as a child; my first food memories are from my dad’s garden, and a silver lining of the pandemic is that small farms are flourishing,” she says. Many of her ingredients come from Feather Brook Farm in Raynham and Langwater Farm in North Easton.
The expansion was a long time coming.
“We outgrew Easton. We were bursting at the seams eight years in, and we knew we wanted to expand — within an hour, so I could be on-site and hands-on,” Gouldrup says. (She lives in Easton.) She plans to open more restaurants throughout New England in the coming years, all focusing on morning meals.
What to eat: We are a year-plus into a pandemic, and any restaurant that serves chicken and waffles on weekdays deserves special praise. Here, corn-and-cheddar waffles come Benedict-style, topped with chive Hollandaise and a healthy slab of bacon, or as a sandwich with spicy aioli and generous hunks of crispy chicken brined in buttermilk. (You will need a nap after this sandwich.) A more traditional Benedict involves poached eggs on squares of challah with a side of sweet tomato jam worth eating on its own, with a spoon. Add poached lobster or ham, if you like.
I ordered a “Croissant-y Christo” for my mom next door in Acton, who is delighted to have a new restaurant to try nearby. It’s a combination of a Monte Christo and a traditional croissant, stuffed with ham and gouda, topped with a sunny-side-up egg, if you choose. It is greaseless, enormous, and fresh. I tried to add smoked salmon to grilled veggie tortillas but got a call back five minutes later — no more smoked salmon. I appreciated the heads-up.
Also on the menu: banana pancakes, hash brown waffles, peanut-butter-and-jelly French toast for kids (or adults), avocado toast dressed up with caramelized squash.
The only downside: In a takeout era, this food doesn’t travel especially well. Bumping along Route 27 with a jiggly platter of poached eggs isn’t ideal. Really, everything looks and smells so good that you might end up digging in as soon as you get to your car. Just pretend that you’re on vacation in Vermont, not idling at a shiny new shopping complex. Happily, they’re also open for indoor dining, with outdoor seating soon to come.
What to drink: Spiced rum and apple juice; a double espresso vodka with oat milk; Prosecco and house-infused vodka; a French Toast martini with cinnamon whiskey and rum, plus vanilla vodka (save this for a weekend, maybe); and an assortment of local Simpson Springs sodas and MEM Teas. Coffee beans come from Jim’s Organic in Wareham.
The takeaway: I think back to the Sudbury of my youth, when I worked at Starbucks on Route 20. The notion that you could someday walk across the street for exquisite chicken and waffles and pancakes of every stripe, to say nothing of creative brunch drinks, seems unfathomable. A friend who grew up here texted me after seeing photos I took of my meal (yes, I was that person): Why couldn’t Sudbury have this in the 1990s? Well, it does now — and it’s delicious.
The Farmer’s Daughter, 534F Boston Post Road, Sudbury, 978-261-6832, www.thefarmersdaughtereaston.com