A certain romance surrounds the idea of hosting a brunch—spending a sunny morning gathered together with friends as warm aromas fill the air and libations feel just as appropriate as coffee. So often, however, pulling off an event first thing in the day falls on the host. But that shouldn’t always imply stress! With the help of our friends at Indaco, we’re taking a nod from Italian-style brunches that let the host vivre alla giornata.
Indaco, a rustic, Italian mainstay on Charleston’s upper King Street, earned a loyal following with its shatteringly thin-crust pizzas, from-scratch pasta dishes, and cured meats served up in a moodily lit taverna setting. The already-popular spot experienced a surge in business over 2021. Searching for an avenue to meet the increased demand, the business launched weekend brunch in spring 2022.
Pulling on his extensive training in Italian cuisine, executive chef Mark Bolchoz started brainstorming recipes that highlighted seasonal, fresh ingredients through simple preparations. He riffed on American brunch staples with Italian ingredients and dishes, creating new customer (and staff) favorites, like the breakfast pie, a pizza topped with bacon, sausage, and sunny eggs. Signature dinner items also appear on the brunch menu, such as the polpette and tagliatelle. “We want the food AND presentation to be awesome,” Bolchoz says, noting that beautifully plated dishes often earn free marketing when photos land on social media.
Now, when people in Charleston discuss brunch plans, chef Mark Bolchoz hopes that Indaco will be a household name.
To bring fresh Italian flavors to our household tables, these four recipes pave the way for an effortlessly delicious occasion. Plus, chef Bolchoz shares his top tips for hosting a bellissimo brunch, Italian style.
Brunch Tips from Chef Mark Bolchoz
The whole crew hanging out in the kitchen is much more fun than just one person doing all the work behind a closed door. Bolchoz urges hosts to embrace that by letting the party unfold in the kitchen. “Timing is fluid,” he says. Start by putting out quick-made items before getting started on the more time-intensive dishes: Marinated olives (made the night before) give people something to snack on while a couple of pizzas fire in the oven.
Have variety, Bolchoz encourages! Egg dishes, a mix of sweet and savory items, and a few brunch staples will sate everyone’s appetite.
Since it’s daytime and there’s more cooking ahead, Bolchoz suggests starting with lower ABV items. Try a bellini or funky orange pet-nat for an aperitif. Lambrusco is a great choice for Italian sparkling. If you prefer beer, Peroni is one of Bolchoz’s go to’s. And if you want to make a habit of hosting brunch, consider investing in an espresso machine. Cranking out a solid round of espresso shots is a quick way to serve a group.
Brunch Recipes from Indaco
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by Hannah Lee Leidy
- by Hannah Lee Leidy
- by Julia Miller