In early 2018 Wheat Penny embarked on a $140,000 construction project to expand its walk-in area, prep space and to enlarge its dish room.
Until the expansion, the restaurant had been closed on Sundays and it wasn't really a destination for breakfast lovers on the weekends.
In late September that same year, the restaurant opened Sunday and launched a brunch menu on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE (October 2018): Wheat Penny launches brunch
Over the years, Dayton restaurants have continued to amp up their brunch game, and in my opinion right now Wheat Penny is leading the pack. This brunch is fierce.
Brunch is a favorite weekend activity thanks to the laid-back magic that happens when breakfast meets lunch. It's a carb-loaded late morning or early afternoon celebration fueled by mimosas. A good brunch is like a mental health meal — it begs you to relax and take it easy.
Not all brunch menus are created equal. Happily, Wheat Penny boasts a menu that combines interesting ingredients and flavors you aren't going to find at anyone else's brunch in town with executions from the kitchen that are spot on.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU
From the brunch starters you know you are in for a special experience — "Strawberry Shortcake, Our Way" ($5.95) is light, simple and refreshing, featuring fresh berries and vanilla yogurt on a slightly sweetened breakfast biscuit. Warm zucchini olive oil bread ($5.95) slathered with sweetened sour cream is a savory starter while the pecan roll ($4.95) has all the sweets you are looking for. A Mediterranean spiced lamb bun ($5.95) is the kind of zesty, satisfying menu item that says, "we're doing brunch our way."
I have added their house-smoked salmon Benedict ($13.95) to my running list of obsession dishes. Obsession in that I'm looking forward to my next encounter with this fantastic meal. A homemade dense but fluffy English muffin, is topped with a generous amount of flavorful, tender in-house smoked salmon and topped with perfectly poached eggs and smoked tomato Hollandaise sauce. If salmon isn't your thing, you can substitute ham or sautéed spinach instead. The dish is served with your choice of hash brown wedge or vinaigrette-dressed greens. The crispy flavorful hash brown wedge is not to be missed if you are a potato lover.
The breakfast sandwich, ($9.95) served on a house-made ciabatta roll stuffed with souffled egg, cheddar, arugula and mustard-mayo (add Mojo Sauce for some kick), can be personalized with protein choices including house-made Italian chicken sausage, green chorizo or Nueske’s bacon for an additional $3; Steve Evans 1/4-pound sausage patty, fried chicken thigh or a crispy cauliflower patty for $4 or a 6 oz. Wheat Penny burger for $5.
A vegan breakfast sandwich ($12.95) is also available served on a house-made Vegan XL English Muffin with smoked jackfruit or a crispy cauliflower patty, vegan cheese, arugula, and mustard. Both sandwich options are served with hash brown wedge or greens dressed with a mild vinaigrette.
Even the breakfast tacos ($13.95 for two) served with hash brown wedge or vinaigrette-dressed greens are creations that are outside of the box.
Two over-stuffed, soft and pleasantly chewy corn tortilla tacos can be mixed and matched from the following:
• Egg and bacon with cheddar, tomato, slaw, chipotle mayo
• Green chorizo and egg with smoked provolone, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, lime, cilantro
• Smoked jackfruit with slaw and cilantro
• Crispy eggplant with tomatillo salsa and slaw
• Mushroom with roasted peppers, pineapple, chimichurri
Other options include a "jumbo" egg white omelette ($13.95) seasoned with flake salt and cracked pepper, scattered with capers and sliced scallions, filled with sautéed spinach, a handful of provolone and mozzarella, and either garlic-braised mushrooms or shaved ham and a sweet potato hash ($13.95).
Poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce served on cheese polenta and sautéed spinach with focaccia toast are appropriately titled "Eggs In Hell" ($13.95).
Daytonomiyaki ($13.95) is another dish that helps the restaurant puts its special spin on brunch. This is Wheat Penny's version of a Japanese vegetable and egg pancake packed with shredded vegetables, savory with ginger and garlic, and drizzled with homemade Tonkatsu sauce. It is served with steamed rice and a Japanese-style slaw with spicy sesame mayo. Bacon ($3) or a fried chicken thigh ($4) can be added.
A breakfast gondola ($13.95) is another creation you aren't going to see on any other brunch menus in town. Pizza dough shaped like a Venetian gondola is oven-baked with whipped ricotta, a butter-basted Sunny Up Egg and, if you like, your choice of add-ons — ham, bacon, Italian chicken or pork sausage, spinach, mushrooms or roasted peppers ($1.25 each).
And if all of that isn't enough to tempt you, the ricotta cheese pancakes ($13.95) definitely should be. A gluten-free buttermilk stack ($13.95) is also available.
Pizzas are also available to order for brunch. But with so much brunch in the air, save the pizzas for later.
Wheat Penny definitely knows pizza, but it also really knows brunch.
WHAT TO DRINK?
Brunch cocktails include a brunch punch (cognac, bourbon, coconut syrup and Fruity Pebbles-infused almond milk, $10), "What’s up, Doc?" (vodka, fresh carrot juice, Bloody Mary shrub, ginger, lemon, Worcestershire, $9), a breakfast Manhattan ($11) and a peach Bellini ($9).
Want to go?
WHAT: Wheat Penny
WHERE: 515 Wayne Ave, Dayton