ADDRESS: 1 Park Place, Annapolis, MD 21401
Sunday brunch seems to be pretty popular for a lot of people. At least, that certainly was the case for anyone that was going to Miss Shirley’s on Sunday mornings. Every time I have visited their Annapolis location, I can expect to be waiting at least 40 minutes for a table. But let me tell you, the wait is well worth it.
I found out about Miss Shirley’s after my friends Mike and Tina mentioned it as a “must try” spot if the word brunch was even whispered in conversation. It just so happened that one Sunday all of our schedules lined up, so I made the trip up to Annapolis with them to try this restaurant I had heard so much about.
The restaurant is situated right in downtown Annapolis along Park Place, next to a bunch of other boutique shops and restaurants. Street parking is pretty limited and you could park in the garage behind the building, but sometimes it might be easier to park on one of the side streets and then walk over. The inside of the restaurant is segmented into three areas, two of them being the dining room. The third is the bar area, where people who are waiting for a table often times order drinks while they wait. The dining room is decorated nicely with a gold and maroon paint color scheme, and offers both tables and booths for sitting.
After you survive the 40+ minute wait, hopefully you’ll then be able to survive smelling all the wonderful food around you while you’re anxiously waiting to stuff your face with their monkey bread, chicken and waffles, caramel apple french toast, or one of their other delicious sounding dishes. Once our name got called for seating, we were led over to one of the booths, after which one of the waiters quickly came over to greet us. He gave us a quick run-down of the specials for the day before taking our drink orders. I went with the chicken and waffles that Tina told me was “never a bad decision.”
One thing that I was impressed about was that even though the dining room was packed, the kitchen was still cranking out dishes at a ridiculous rate. We received our monkey bread in no time, and immediately started to dive right in. Warm cinnamon pull-apart bread covered with chocolate syrup, pecans, banana slices, and confectioner’s sugar, the monkey bread is an absolute dream for a person with a sweet tooth (like me!).
Not too long after we finished the monkey bread, our main dishes arrived. The chicken and waffles looked and smelled absolutely amazing. Three breaded chicken fingers tossed in a sweet and savory honey mustard aioli, served with four mini Belgian waffles (with chopped green onions added to the batter) topped with shredded white cheddar cheese and a small scoop of jalapeño butter.
People say sometimes that one bite is all you need to tell if a dish will be good or not. Put together a bite with the chicken, waffle, and some chipotle butter, and you’d call that dish a home run. Savory, sweet, spicy, and crunchy are all melded together, with all the flavors balancing off each other really well. Although it’s not the traditional way of preparing chicken and waffles (the chicken is usually bone-in), I think that Miss Shirley’s style of using the boneless chicken fingers certainly makes it easier to eat the dish.
With such a wide variety of dishes, Miss Shirley’s makes for an excellent brunch destination, and I certainly understood why the wait for eating brunch there stacks up weekend after weekend. Now I, like Mike and Tina, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Miss Shirley’s in any conversation involving brunch.
Let’s now take a look at the Miss Shirley’s Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Chicken and Waffles — Sweet and Savory Style**
An order of the above chicken and waffles with a substitution of cinnamon danish waffles instead, drizzled with a cream cheese icing and dusted with cinnamon.
Honey & Cream Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits
Moist buttermilk biscuits baked with a small pocket of cream cheese inside and drizzled with honey. Served with a house-made blackberry bourbon jam.
** Captain Chesapeake Club Sandwich **
A giant double-decker sandwich consisting of mini jumbo lump crab cake, jalapeño-smoked bacon, buttermilk fried chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced avocados, red tomatoes, and an Old Bay remoulade, served on sourdough toast.
And finally, here are my rankings for Miss Shirley’s:
Food: 5 / 5
Great selection between breakfast items, soups, salads, and sandwiches that sound great, look great, and taste great. The portions will be sure to leave you satisfied.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
The dining room is well lit from a wall of windows, and with the place being packed pretty frequently, there’s always a buzz of conversation in the air.
Service: 4.5 / 5
For how crowded the restaurant is, I’ve always experienced attentive service and quick turn-around for food, which speaks to the caliber of both the waitstaff and kitchenstaff.
Price: 4.25 / 5
I’ve found that brunch isn’t often on the cheap side, and Miss Shirley’s is no exception. However, given the portions and quality of the food, I think the price is justified.