A successful brunch restaurant calls for striking a delicate balance between homeyness and serving food that patrons wouldn't cook at home.
Take the new Mack's in Babylon. The dining room's sunny atrium features walls stacked high with old ladders and vintage thrifted picture frames. The coffee mugs look like something you'd forage from the back of a cupboard — a Sea World cup from the '90s, maybe a mug with a quote about loving dogs. But here the horchata cold brews come in a glass, and the espresso martinis are served over a cube of frozen coffee. At this point, you might as well get a Bloody Mary with blue cheese-stuffed olives ($13).
Owner Patrick Mack has switched gears from his previous concept, Culture Fine Food & Cocktails, which closed in 2022 after he had spent a year during the pandemic remodeling the two-level space that held Don Ricardo’s for nearly three decades. The newest iteration is still quite striking with its open air skylight, giving it the feeling of an outdoor courtyard in Mexico or southern Spain.
And if anyone in your family cooks like this, you’re very lucky. The plates at Mack’s brim with colorful veggies and sauces. Vegan brunchers will find an entire menu of plant-based breakfast foods, with “faux” omelets, tofu tacos, flaxseed pancakes and even a “salmon” entree made from grapefruit.
Another thing that sets Mack’s apart its (fine) homemade biscuits, fluffy enough to be split in two for an eggs Benedict, like the Burlington Benny ($14.99) with melted Vermont Cheddar and thick slivers of maple bacon and a perfect poach. Pierced with a fork, the yolks ran into the hollandaise sauce, punching it up.
The restaurant also serves lunch and does a spectacular fried chicken sandwich ($17.50), topped with thick-cut coleslaw that smacks with bitter purple cabbage. The seasoned fries on the side are supremely snackable and show a mastery of the fryer, the rare kind of comfort that's best attainable in a restaurant kitchen.
Mack's, 94 E. Main St., Babylon, 631-526-9774, macksbabylon.com. Open Wednesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.