SIOUX CITY -- Succulent carved meats, fluffy omelettes, and rows and rows of mouth-watering pastries crafted with tons of butter and sugar.
Drawn by such fare, Kari Treinen, of Sioux City, will go with her family to Minervas Food & Cocktails in Sioux City for an Easter brunch Sunday.
For many years, growing up near Orange City, Iowa, Treinen's mother and aunts would cook a big Easter meal, ranging in "a small year" for 40 relatives and on up to 80 people.
That necessitated renting out some non-home site for Treinen's large family, where the yearly staples included ham, deviled eggs, a broccoli salad and several desserts, including German chocolate cake. As those family members got older, the big family Easter dinners drifted away. Treinen prepared a meal one Easter.
"Only once, and it was too much work. It is just a lot of fussing for sitting down and eating for 15 minutes," Treinen said. Therefore, she's come to the stance that, "Easter is a great holiday to celebrate at a restaurant."
Many restaurants and cafes in metro Sioux City and smaller towns in the tri-state region will serve brunch to untold thousands of guests Easter Sunday. Lots of those will involve a buffet style brunch, where patrons will move down lines and pick out their most preferred, and yes, diet-busting, foods.
Kahill's Chophouse in South Sioux City has a brunch each Sunday, but will draw four times the normal crowd on Easter. The holiday turnout has been around 1,100 in recent years.
Executive Chef Andrew Burger said the only busier day of the year is Mother's Day, when many men want to give their mothers, wives or girlfriends a break from preparing a meal at home.
"We'll have six ovens rolling, three fryers rolling," Burger said.
The chef said many guests dress up for the Easter brunch, with women in hats and men in suits. Though it's a holiday, he finds it an enjoyable day to work.
Food & Beverage Director Jeff Astemborski said Easter brunch has always been one of the larger days for the World Tour Buffet at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City. In order to accommodate the higher volume of diners, the downtown Sioux City establishment schedules extra servers, cashiers and cooks.
"We continue to see the numbers grow each year, as guests bring family and friends for the great spread that we offer," Astemborski said. "It’s really rewarding to see our guests visit on holidays – in a way, it’s like we get to be a part of their family tradition and celebrate together."
Hard Rock has a brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A Hard Rock social media summary says, "Celebrate Easter with Pineapple Glazed Hickory Ham, Broasted Chicken, Carved Cedar Plank Salmon, full salad bar, a bountiful array of cakes and pastries AND MORE!"
"Another highlight for guests have been the desserts. Our desserts are made in house by our pastry chef," Astemborski added.
Treinen said this will be her fourth Easter Sunday dining at a metro area restaurant. She can still get her faves, which include cheesy potatoes and cinnamon rolls, when eating out for brunch.
"The nice thing is, you get a wide variety," Treinen said, plus, "no cleanup, no dishes."
At Kahill's, Burger said, "I am basically doubling my food," in the options on the brunch lines, compared to regular Sundays. He described the menu of "endless amounts of desserts," plus prime rib, smoked pork loin, chicken and fish entrees, fresh fruits and berries, plus made-to-order omelettes and made-to-order waffles.
"We are trying to hit every demographic," he said.
Burger said popular brunch elements are the carving station for varying meats, and "a couple hundred pounds of eggs" will be used. To pull all that off, Kahill's will double the number of workers.
On the edge of the Plymouth County town of Remsen, Iowa, the Golden Pheasant will be open for Easter brunch for three hours, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Larry Mullaly, who owns the venerable restaurant, said people love the chicken, ribs, roast beef, pancakes, eggs, and biscuits and gravy.
Mullaly said the workers don't mind working a few hours on the holiday, since they get to see large families trekking in, sometimes in bubbly groups of 20 to 30 relatives, and who have come back to The Golden Pheasant for years.
"Everybody loves the atmosphere," he said.