Station 2, 2016 East Main St., Richmond
Karisa: Sweet potato tots, adult milkshakes, and a great craft beer selection. That should be enough for an amazing brunch, right? You would think so, but you would be wrong... although those sweet potato tots really are amazing. In all honesty, I'm not exactly sure what I expected from brunch at Station 2. I mean, it's a great (veggie) burger spot, but does that really translate to brunch? Other spots have been successful, so I was hopeful.
I arrived last this week, but thankfully a carafe of mimosas was already in the works. I was even more thankful because it seemed to take forever to get anything we ordered (our typical 1.5 hour brunch turned into 2.5 hours... not that we were gossiping or anything...) An $8.25 mimosa carafe is lovely, and I had a lot to talk about, so expediency would have been much appreciated. Also, coffee took ages. I think they must roast the beans themselves, on demand (I jest.) <coffee mug rant> Restaurants, QUIT SERVING COFFEE IN GLASS MUGS! I don't care how cute they are, glass conducts heat, and the coffee gets cold super quickly. Seriously, stop. </coffee mug rant>
Since the sweet potato tots are so wonderful, I ordered the sweet potato veggie scramble for brunch. If there were just some veggies, eggs, and cheese just mixed up with the tots (casserole style?), I think I could have been in burger-spot brunch heaven. Unfortunately that's not what I got. The dish was small and not tasty. It was so forgettable I don't remember a proper description. I'm really glad we got an appetizer of tots or I would have left hungry. Basically, the same deal as The Republic: get the tots, get a beer (or several), get an adult milkshake if the notion strikes... forget everything else.
Michele: I've been to Station 2 a couple of times for burgers, beers, and tasty "adult milkshakes." It's a burger place so I honestly did not expect a spectacular brunch. However, what's not to love about cheap drinks and great company in a converted firehouse on beautiful Sunday afternoon?
Station 2 serves their coffee in cute little mason jars. It tasted alright to me after adding extra cream and sugar. My Bloody Mary was a pleasant surprise. The drink was the perfect level of spice for me, and it contained lots of coarse spices, including my favorite, celery seed. I'm pretty sure I tasted cucumber vodka in there. The drink did settle out quickly, though. I had to stir it every time I took a sip. Also, it's hard to complain about a $3.75 cocktail.
For my meal this week I decided on the waffle sliders. The sliders consisted of a thick sausage patty, scrambled egg, and shredded cheese between two waffle quarters. The dish also came with a side of maple syrup and fried potatoes. The sausage was definitely my favorite part of the dish. The patties were huge and looked like mini burgers. The egg lacked flavor, and the shredded cheese was just plopped on top of the egg. The syrup added much-needed moisture to the sliders, and it complimented the sausage nicely. I ended up cutting up the sliders and dipping them into the syrup. I think I would have really loved this meal four years ago during my AT thru-hike. I normally prefer eggs to sweets at breakfast/brunch, but that summer I found myself craving pancakes and waffles in addition to my standard egg and sausage trail town breakfast.
On a side note, my sliders looked suspiciously like Janice's breakfast melt. It was like a "find the differences" cartoon - waffles vs. hamburger bun, syrup vs. no syrup, shredded cheese vs. cheese slice. We successfully identified all three differences. They also have a third burgery-sounding brunch item called The Cure which none of us tried. It consists of a burger patty, bacon, cheddar, and sausage gravy on Texas toast. Even though the execution of my sliders was a little lacking, I still liked that they were a brunchy spin on burgers. I appreciate that Station 2's brunch menu pays homage to their true burger self.
Overall, I don't think I'll come back to brunch at Station 2. There are plenty of other fantastic brunches in the neighborhood, like Aziza's a block away. I think I'll just stick to the burgers and shakes here for dinner. These folks make really cool specialty burgers, and their super tasty adult milkshakes can't be beat.
Kathy: I went to Station 2 for brunch prior to this visit, when the restaurant first opened, and had a pretty good meal at the time. I remember flipping out about the eggs. Unfortunately, the brunch menu has changed since then, and the options didn't delight me as much this time around. I chose the yogurt and fruit, with a side of scrambled eggs and bacon. The bacon was delicious, of course, because bacon, so we can move on from the obvious. The eggs were prepared well, but nothing to write home about, much less writing to rave over in this review. I was disappointed that they had few fruit options for my yogurt and overall felt underwhelmed by my meal. I will, however, shout from the rooftops that their mimosa pitchers are incredibly affordable and taste good, plus they're served in adorable glasses. I stayed long after brunch ended to drink more mimosas at the bar. Mainly, I think brunchers interested in Station 2 need to remember this place for what it is above all: a bar with sports, a large beer selection (shout out to their ciders, yum), and a fun (though sometimes gearing towards meat head) crowd. I've been there countless evening for drinks and a burger, and their trivia night is always a good time. It's wonderful to have a place with good outdoor seating options near my home, too. So, I'll be back, but just not for brunch.
Janice, Guest Bruncher and funniest/most horrible person we know: As a longtime reader of the RVA Brunch Club blog and an unabashed admirer of the ladies who comprise it, I was super excited to score an invitation to dine with the brunchers at Station 2, a restaurant conveniently located around the corner from my apartment. I have considered Station 2 a decent addition to the Shockoe Bottom restaurant scene since it opened in 2011. On the plus side, Station 2 offers great craft beers, very friendly service, decent outdoor seating, and tasty sweet potato tots. On the minus side, my dining (not drinking) experiences at Station 2 have been underwhelming. My brunching experience did not vary from precedent. I ordered the sausage, egg, and cheese melt (your standard McMuffin-type fare, but served on a bun). The menu advertised the egg as over-easy, but mine verged on over-medium to over-hard. I was denied the satisfaction of a yolk explosion! (Karisa, insert your snide comments here). The sausage patty was large (six ounces) but tasted like it had been frozen. My side order of hash browns was well-seasoned, maybe a little heavy on the pepper, but unfortunately the potatoes were undercooked. I found the coffee and mimosas a bit watery. Of course, I’m a coffee freak and an alcoholic (not really?) so my opinion about the beverages may be a bit unreliable. I did, however, enjoy the sweet potato tots we ordered as an appetizer, and the craft beer I ordered for dessert. The service was slow; however, it seems unfair of me to complain. For one thing, our server was very personable. For another, the slow service meant a longer brunch and more time spent in the company of some truly exceptional women. Thank you for inviting me to tag along with you this week, ladies! Happy brunching!
Food - Fair. The sweet potato tots were unanimously the best part of the meal. The brunch menu is what you'd expect from a burger joint, with a limited selection of food where everything tastes about the same. Bonus points for having vegetarian options, but the menu needs some work.
Service - Fair. Our server was pleasant, but frustratingly slow. We had to wait a long time between requests and delivery. We were never offered refills of hot beverages and food was brought out sporadically.
Atmosphere - Fair. This is definitely a burger spot, but it was a little stark and we all wanted it to have a little more personality. The weather was great, so we felt the large garage doors should have been open to let in fresh air. Most importantly, where's the fireman's pole?
Coffee/Tea - Fair (C)/Good(T). We thought the mason jars our hot beverages were served in were adorable, but our drinks got cold quickly. Glass is not an insulator, people! We had empty mugs for a long time and had to ask for refills, no refill was offered for tea.
Mimosa - Good. Very cheap and standard. A carafe for $8.25? Sold. The first sip was a little off-putting, but that didn't stop us from ordering a second round. We enjoyed them more the more we drank (of course.)
Bloody Mary - Good. Perfect spice level, coarse spices including celery seed, cucumber vodka may have been in there too, required constant stirring as the drink settled out quickly, great price.