Last week I joined the Boston Brunchers for the first time in a while – it was so nice to get together with some great folks like Renee from Eat.Live.Blog and founder of the Boston Brunchers and Erin from A Girl & Her Mutt. I also finally met Tiffany from The Fab Empire and Melissa from Foodies at Work!
This was the plan: meet up at Chestnut Hill Square (the new complex across from Chestnut Hill Mall, where you can find Wegmans and a bunch of other retail stores and places to eat), check out a SoulCycle class, have brunch at Brio, and then do some shopping in the square.
First up was SoulCycle. SoulCycle has a great environment and their high level of customer service is everything you expect from a boutique workout spot. This is the kind of place that makes you want to work out: the music is loud, the staff beautiful, everything is spotless, and the regulars make spinning look like a viable way to get incredibly fit. I. Want. That. And for $30/class, you should get all of that.
Maybe I’m easily converted to fun workout options in general (okay, I am – I love exercise classes!), but I’m a fan. I’ve attended good spinning classes before, but not on bikes that require clip-in shoes, not in a room that’s lit by candles, and definitely not from a teacher who doubles as an enthusiastic fitness instructor AND a ripped DJ in a sports bra. I had such a good time that I forgot for small stretches of our 45 minute class that I was intensely exercising. Our instructor Molly was phenomenal – she’s based in LA and was teaching for a few weeks in Boston.
Here’s some of the Boston Brunchers clan after the class:
Following the class we walked next door to Brio Tuscan Grille. Opening in November, the Ohio-based chain restaurant’s Chestnut Hill location is the first to open in Massachusetts. Brio’s concept is Tuscan-inspired food, but the brunch menu seemed disconnected from this. Entrees on the eight-item brunch menu are fairly standard.
We started with bread and fruit salad – I was so hungry after the spin class, so it was nice to start with fruit. We sampled four items family style:
- Berries & Cream French Toast: This was tasty, but very sweet, so it was good to have a small portion.
- Ham & Biscuit Benedict and Turkey Sausage, Spinach & Biscuit Benedict (I didn’t try the latter, but looked very similar to the ham benedict): The benedicts are made with a biscuit on the bottom, which was a nice twist on the classic and provided a buttery base that complimented the hollandaise.
- Roasted Turkey Sweet Potato Hash: The hash seemed more steamed than roasted – the flavor was good, but the preparation seemed a little off.
The Bloody Mary was mediocre – lots of ice, regular tomato juice, and horseradish. I’ve been spoiled by so many inventive breakfast cocktails that this wasn’t great in comparison. I always hope for some kind of kick (alcohol or otherwise), which was lacking from this drink.
With all of the high-endorphin levels and good vibes in the SoulCycle class, it was hard for brunch to Brio to live up to the occasion – in general, the whole brunch experience fell kind of flat. The servers seemed inexperienced, the atmosphere had a Cheesecake Factory kind of feeling, and I left feeling full, but wishing I had just stopped by Equinox’s Squeeze Juice Bar instead. We’ve had some AMAZING brunches through the Boston Brunchers (like The Sinclair, The Painted Burro, and Moksa); Brio was just in that less-memorable, but not terrible, category.
Following brunch we wandered around the square a bit, stopping to be fitted for sneakers at True Runner. I was super impressed that they offer an orthopedic-style analysis of your stride before fitting. We were ready for a nap after our busy morning, so we didn’t venture into Wegmans, but I’d like to check out their new location another time.
Thank you Boston Brunchers for planning such a fun Sunday! It was great to check out Chestnut Hill Square.
The SoulCycle class and food portion of brunch at Brio was complimentary through the Boston Brunchers, and I did not receive compensation for writing this post. I paid for the drink and tip at Brio. As with all EatingPlaces posts, opinions are my own.