City Life Vocabulary: Brunch

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I love food and especially brunch foods. They hold a special place in my heart and when I go with friends, we often stay for hours talking and simply enjoying each other's company.

In case you don’t know what brunch is, it’s a combination of two English words breakfast and lunch = brunch. Most people go out for brunch anytime between 11am and 2pm. It's the perfect meal because you don't have to wake up early and still get to enjoy breakfast food. Brunch is super popular nowadays especially in metropolitan areas like Washington, D.C. We even speak of the brunch craze (brunch as a HUGE trend) and the brunch crowd on weekends.

CITY LIFE is a new English vocabulary series that came to me when I was thinking about my own travels and also about the different English words and phrases we use in our everyday lives while simply doing what people do.

Let's now dive into brunch vocabulary to help increase your English fluency and to learn more about American culture in general. The focus here is on informal everyday language which is also perfectly fine for a business brunch. Informal in American English is not a concept as clear cut as in many other cultures:

1) How do you ask your friends to join you for brunch?:

A: Do you want to join us for Brunch on Sunday?

B: Hm, I don't know if I can make it. Actually, yes. At what time?

A: 12:30pm

B: Cool, that works. See you then. Looking forward to it/Can't wait.

2) The typical brunch foods you will find on the menu in American cities are:

Biscuits and gravy
Eggs Benedict
Scrambled eggs
Lox bagel
French toast
Breakfast burrito
Huevos Rancheros
Poached egg
Breakfast sausage
English muffin
Egg sandwich
Fruit salad
Hard-boiled egg
Hash browns
Home fries
Coffee cake
Banana bread

Maple syrup
Cream cheese
Hot sauce
Powdered sugar

Brunch beverages:

Bloody Mary
Hot chocolate
Orange juice
Fresh squeezed orange juice

3) At the restaurant


You: Can we just seat ourselves, or do you need to be seated?

Hostess: How many people?

You: Party of three, please.

Hostess: Do you have a reservation?

You: No./Yes for.....(name)

Hostess: Do you prefer outdoor seating?

You: Yes, please.

Hostess: Ok. Let me escort you to your table.

Ordering food:

Waiter: Do you want to order something to drink first?

You: I will just go with water. What about you Paul?

Paul: Hm, let me get a Bloody Mary and a cup of water just tap water is fine.

Sarah: I will go with some iced tea.

A couple of minutes later:

Waiter: Are you ready to order?

You: Hm, I might need more time. Ah wait, Sarah you go ahead.

Sarah: Yeah, ok. Let me get the waffles with bacon and extra syrup.

..... Waiter: Are you ready now?

You: Yes, I take the biscuits and gravy. Does that come with any sides?

Waiter: Yes, a fruit salad.

You: Cool, let me get that.

Food has arrived you still need some condiments:

Can you get us some ketchup?

Can you bring some hot sauce to our table?

Sarah: Can we have more water please? (Pointing at her half-empty iced tea) Do you do refills?

Waiter: Yes.

Sarah: Ok, let me get more iced tea then. Thank you.

From time to time the waiter will ask: (Waiters/waitresses ask a lot of questions during your meal in the United States. Also, expect them to ask if you need the check. They will not simply wait until you call them over.)

Waiter: Do you need anything?/Do you want the check now? Everything ok? Are you enjoying your food?


You: Can we get the check, please?

Waiter: Sure. Do you want to split the check?

Sarah: You know what not today. This is on me.

Paul & you: What? Are you sure?

Sarah: Yes, I am sure.

Paul & you: Thank you!!!

For further practice about eating out (= going to a restaurant) in general with lots of vocabulary and pronunciation exercises:

Photo of Daikaya brunch by Farrah Skeiky

Marike Korn