Pizza for breakfast at Natalie's Coal Fired

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that the best brunches can be found in unexpected places. It should be no surprise, then, to discover a wonderful Sunday brunch in a pizza shop.

Building on its success as a live-music venue and the first Columbus restaurant with a coal-fired oven-translation: coal burns with an intense heat that creates crisp-bottomed pies-Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza added brunch a year ago. The special Sunday menu is meant to be easygoing, and Natalie's simplifies the experience with a $16 deal: any entree, a choice of booze (wine, mimosa, bellini or a Bloody Mary made with the house pizza sauce) and a mug of locally roasted Luck Bros' coffee.

Entress may also be ordered separately. Fans of thin, slightly charred pizzas can customize a pie. Or, keeping in line with the easy-Sunday-morning theme, turn to Natalie's two signature breakfast pies: The "Southern comfort" ($12) marries the best of breakfast and pizza with chunky sausage gravy, sweet potatoes and a choice of poached, fried or scrambled eggs; the colorful "Cajun scramble" ($12) ditches the gravy and potatoes in lieu of peppers, mozzarella and a not-too-spicy Cajun rub. Both pizzas sport delicious crispy crusts and generous toppings, and are ideal for sharing.

The real standout of Natalie's brunch is the arancini ($10): two balls of house-made risotto stuffed with black beans, cheddar and squash, then rolled in breadcrumbs and fried. The result might sound heavy, but the portion is sized appropriately and browned perfectly, with a savory crust balanced by a sweet goat-cheese sauce and a layer of arugula.

The eggs Benedict ($10) is accompanied by a well-seasoned sweet-potato hash, while a side of greens offers a fresh finish. The only snag is the overly chewy sourdough bread. Eggs Benedict should be easily sliced into cross sections of bread, ham, egg and hollandaise; Natalie's bread required sawing.

Brunch also includes seasonal meat- and veggie-centric quiches (Lorraine and heirloom tomato, on our visit). A warm frosted maple-cinnamon roll ($5) and tangy macaroni and cheese ($4) top the list of starters.

The details are what sell Natalie's brunch, such as the coffee cups that are crafted locally. Like your mug? You can buy it.

Natalie's also capitalizes on its status as a music venue; expect relaxing tunes with your brunch.