I started this Mother’s Day brunch requirement…errr…. tradition early on. From the time I was pregnant with Hailey I knew that I wanted brunch at Hotel Bethlehem to be my Mother’s Day tradition. Unfortunately for me…my husband is not one for doing things like making reservations so for my first Mother’s Day the Hotel brunch was booked and we went to the Brew Works instead. The following year, even after persistent nag…err reminders, my husband did not make reservations for the Hotel Bethlehem brunch in time so I made reservations at Bolete. The following year and from that point forward I took matters into my own hands and I make my own Mother’s Day brunch reservations at the Hotel Bethlehem each year. Sigh.
Each of the three places has something a bit different to offer, so here are my takes on each of them:
Bethlehem Brew Works. Keep in mind that it’s been 4 years since I’ve had my Mother’s Day brunch here so the offering could be a bit different today. They offered a Mother’s Day brunch with no reservation requirement. The food was standard brunch fare and they had good Bloody Mary’s. Also, the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission’s Art Sale is on Main Street on Monday’s so the location is perfect if you want to incorporate this into your Mother’s Day as I do every year. Pros: Location, no reservations-perfect for last-minute plans, good drinks, casual, louder atmosphere so if you have real little ones they won’t stick out when they start crying, good price, very flexible Cons: Food is ok but standard-doesn’t stand out, lacks a special Mother’s Day ambiance
Bolete. I was able to get in here with a table for three calling a few weeks before Mother’s Day. I called about 1-2 weeks ago as research for this post and they said they had some openings for smaller parties but were not taking any more reservations for larger (6 or more) parties. Bolete’s food is amazing and Mother’s Day brunch is no exception. This is not a brunch, they offer a special menu with a mix of brunch options, some more breakfasty-others less breakfasty. When I was there it was served as three courses. I had the best blueberry pancake in my life here. On the menu: Blueberry Pancake……$10. Yes it was one pancake (not huge, normal size) for $10. And it was so worth every penny. The food here is farm fresh and cooked to order. I was not a fan of the Mimosas or the Bloody Mary. If you have impatient toddlers it may be challenging. Also, Bolete’s location is a short drive to Main St. for the Art Sale, but it’s not the same as walking out from Brunch into the middle of the sale. Pros: the food is amazing, small intimate experience, not buffet style, nice Mother’s Day ambiance, can generally get reservations weeks ahead rather than months ahead, perfect for families where kids are older. Cons: location (not walkable to other activities like Art Sale), drinks in my opinion were not great, slower service (because food is carefully prepared, cooked to order) may not be ideal for young children, less casual than other options (this can be good or bad depending on your preference), portions are smaller (you will not be stuffed-this can be good too)
Hailey at Mother’s Day Brunch, Hotel Bethlehem, 2009
Hotel Bethlehem. Call months ahead for this if you want to get in. Seriously. Months. A few days before Mother’s Day you will receive a call from them not only confirming your reservation but asking you to reconfirm the number in your party and to provide credit card information so they can charge you if you don’t show up. Because this brunch is in such high demand they want to make sure that not only you show up but that your entire party shows up. I haven’t had the experience of showing up without my entire party or not at all so I don’t know how well they enforce this but I’m thinking they are serious if they go through the trouble of calling everyone and requiring the credit card info in advance. I must admit this practice put me off a bit but once you are at the brunch it will all be worth it, trust me. If you have been to any Hotel Bethlehem brunch you know that they do a really nice job and they kick it up several notches for Mother’s Day. They also have an expanded children’s buffet area that included a make your own cupcake station last year. It was super cute. They have coloring activities for the kids to keep them busy too. Hailey loves the formality with the white table clothes and is pretty well-behaved here. She eventually gets over acting like a princess at a formal function and spends most of the remainder of the brunch under the table in her fortress. While the food is buffet style, which I usually find ho-hum, the quality is high. They have the expected omelette and carving stations as well as some surprises, especially in the seafood selection. And when brunch is over you can step straight outside and browse the Art Sale. Pros: Best Mother’s Day ambiance of the bunch, cannot beat the location, food is very good, Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are excellent, great for kids of all ages, beautiful views, moderate price, formal feel but you can still be pretty casual here Cons: have to make reservations in advance, not good for go with the flow types (changing number of guests, last-minute cancellations), confirmation process can be off-putting, buffet style (some people like my husband are not a fan of buffets)
If you have any Mother’s Day experiences or preferences please share in the comments!