Smile Politely

Up a creek with a syrup ladle

A Californian vegetarian, an Irish lady, and an assortment of other Americans walked into Silvercreek for the Sunday brunch on Cinco de Mayo. As is prudent with large groups, they made a reservation. They were promptly escorted to a large table in the greenhouse at the back of the restaurant overlooking, as the name may imply, the creek.

Members of the group sampled the coffee (“pretty good!”), the Lipton tea (“not the worst,” according to our Irish companion, who knows tea), and the orange juice (“nice!”). We passed on the alcohol-based beverages, but they do offer mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Then, the feast began.

My grandpa always says to get dessert first at a buffet, so that you aren’t disappointed when all the cheesecake is gone after you’ve eaten your meal. No worries on that front at Silvercreek, as food items were consistently refreshed during our visit, but I still took his advice and nabbed some cake before heading to the hot foods.

(I even took the cake on a salad plate, so I could tuck it under my dinner plate without going back to the table, leading my friends to praise me for my buffet expertise, and leaving me wondering if maybe I should dial back on the buffets. Onward, faithful buffeteers!)

Hot dishes at the buffet included biscuits and gravy, sausage and bacon, scrambled eggs with chorizo (possibly a Cinco de Mayo special), shrimp poppers, and steamed salmon, as well as carving stations for ham and roast beef.

The vegetarian selections included scrambled eggs, steamed vegetables, a variety of fruits, salad, waffles, omelets, pasta dishes, rice, cheeses, and pastries. There were also fried potatoes, which our Irish friend called “perfect — crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, just like they should be,” and the vegetarian said were “so good that I was worried they weren’t actually vegetarian.”

With typical Midwestern aplomb, folks were very friendly about sharing tongs, serving one another across the two-sided buffet table, and explaining what chorizo is to someone’s grandma.

Cold items included fruit (I had melons, pineapples, grapes, and strawberries), croissants, salad with fixings (carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and so forth), shrimp with cocktail sauce, bagels with lox and capers, potato salad, and a banana pudding concoction.

Tucked next to the bar were the omelet and waffle stations, as well as more baked goods, including bread pudding and cookies. Waffle toppings included whipped cream, strawberry compote, chocolate chips, and about six gallons of syrup in a tureen. Waffles are prepared by the Silvercreek chef and placed under a heat lamp, so be careful with those tongs!

Overall, we had a delightful feast with great service and funny friends. I do recommend sitting in the greenhouse if at all possible. It is slightly crowded, with servers and small children alike skipping over the stones in the indoor fountain to get around certain tables, but it is a bright, warm place to enjoy the spring and a tasty buffet.

The famous Silvercreek brunch is served every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. At only $20.95 per person ($7.95 for 12 and under, free for 3 and under), this brunch venue is a great choice for holidays (like Cinco de Mayo) or out-of-town guests. Silvercreek is located at 402 North Race Street in Urbana (careful — the bridge south of the restaurant is under construction, so you have to access the restaurant via University for the foreseeable future). The great brunch is close to Crystal Lake Park, so you can walk off all those waffles! More details available at their website.

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