Winning the brunch crowd in Oak Cliff is no piece of red-velvet pancake. Consider Outpost American Tavern, the second restaurant at 1115 N. Beckley from Coeval Studio owners John Paul Valverde, an Oak Cliff native, and Miguel Vicens. They designed it as a neighborhood spot with “more approachable” food than its predecessor, Campo. We have covered their dinner menu before.

First, let’s address the elephant on the block:

Next door to Outpost is one of the most popular brunch spots in Dallas. Jonathon’s is a powerhouse of brunch, where diners line up for chicken and waffles every weekend. Any restaurant in the Outpost space would have a chance of catching overflow from Jonathon’s or from Spiral Diner’s all-you-can-eat pancakes crowd.

But Outpost deserves more. It should not be the standby for when Jonathon’s is full. Outpost is its own destination. This past weekend, I accepted a gratis brunch from Outpost, a practice that goes against my old-school newspaper training and something I rarely do, because Outpost is not as busy as it should be. Y’all are sleeping on this place, and I need that to stop.

Because, the food:

Johnny Cakes and carnitas brunch

Johnny cakes and carnitas was our favorite. Three fluffy corn cakes with just enough smoked maple syrup, topped with delicious moist pork and a sprinkle of candied bacon. The texture, the flavors, how the pork was cooked perfectly. It is absolutely everything. My brunch pal called it “Mexican chicken and waffles,” a fresh take on that sweet/savory brunch trend.

It comes with a ramekin of paprika butter, which we only tasted because the dish doesn’t really need it. In fact, we didn’t use any of the condiments delivered to our table. Everything was spot on as it came. The red-velvet waffles, at top, are plenty sweet and moist with their healthy dollop of vanilla whipped cream; no syrup needed.

IMG_5303Both cocktails we tried were delicious. The bloody mary is plenty spicy (it can be ordered “extra spicy” if you’re into that), tastes of citrus and is dark and smoky with worcestershire sauce. Just how I like it. The paloma, made with tequila and grapefruit soda, also was nice.

The Nutella-stuffed french toast comes with citrus mascarpone and caramelized bananas. It is so good that you and your brunch mate will roll your eyes and groan like you are in some stupid yogurt commercial. It is decadent and wonderful and a good thing to share with a tableful of brunchers.

photoOutpost also has a fried chicken and biscuit thing, which I’ve had before and liked. Smoked chicken chilaquiles came with two perfect sunny eggs. There is a rotating selection of local beers, including Revolver, Peticolas and Four Corners. And happy hour is all day, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., on Sunday. Do not sleep. Go to brunch.