Memoir of the Sunday Brunch
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Memoir of the Sunday Brunch

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  506 ratings  ·  134 reviews
For Julia Pandl, the rite of passage into young-adulthood included mandatory service at her family's restaurant, where she watched as her father--who was also the chef--ruled with the strictness of a drill sergeant. At age twelve, Julie was initiated into the rite of the Sunday brunch, a weekly madhouse at her father's Milwaukee-based restaurant, where she and her eight ol...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published February 24th 2012)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There are two parts to this review. If you just want to know about the book, read as far as the line across the page. Below the line is a personal, semi-related story.

Rating = 3.5 stars

Wisconsin, 1970s and '80s, Catholic family, nine kids, the dad owns a restaurant and runs it with exacting standards. All of the children are required to pitch in at the restaurant, especially for the lavish Sunday brunches. That's the first half of the book. In the second half, Julia jumps forward to her adult y...more
In my teens, I lived two blocks from the suburban restaurant featured in this memoir, Pandl's. My brother worked there for a summer until he earned enough money to buy a reel to reel tape recorder (it was that long ago). Then he promptly quit because he thought the owner, George Pandl, was more than a bit nuts. That owner is Julia Pandl's father and in Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, she doesn't shy away from describing just how strange her father was, although as a daughter she, as you might expec...more
Page Edmunds
Oh how this book took me by surprise (as I sniffled and wiped away tears while sitting at an airport bar between planes). I fully expected the funny growing-up-in-a-family-restaurant stories, which didn't disappoint. But I was unprepared for the beautiful second half of this book, a story about being an adult daughter and sibling when your parents begin to age and fail. The Pandl family is unforgettable, and their story is told with great humor and affection. Even though theirs is a family where...more
Julia Pandl is the youngest of nine children born to George and Teresa Pandl. Her dad owned a restaurant in Milwaukee, and every Sunday each child was expected to work the famous Sunday brunch. She recounts this life in Memoir of the Sunday Brunch.

I have to tell you how much I loved this book! You not only get an insider's look at what a tough life the restaurant business is, you also get a wonderful, honest look at life in a big Catholic Midwestern family, and Julia's relationship with her toug...more
This is a hard one to review. I ended up liking the story from the start, but.... Given that the blurb on the book says it is like "Kitchen Confidential", I was expecting that kind of insight into the restaurant. The title implies that too. But this book did not have that kind of calling -- the restaurant, the diners, the food, the work, the other employees (except her father) really felt like backdrops to a coming of age story. There were a couple of funny buffet anecdotes, but really not what...more
Carl Phillips
I thought this was a really good book, a good balance of humor and love. Pandl's writing just seems to flow, good description to which I could relate. She was not always complimentary of her parents, particularly her father, but her love for him comes through during his final weeks as he was dying of cancer.
Lisa B.
My Thoughts

Part I of this book was hysterical. I mean laugh out loud, slap your leg, tears rolling down your face funny. Ms. Pandl has an ability to take normal, everyday activities and make them very entertaining. As the youngest of nine, she had lots of material to work with.

Part II was a 180 degree turn around. While there was still some humor, this part related to her family as her parents got older. She talks about the effects that diabetes had on her Mom. She writes about her relationship...more
Lisa Hall
I picked this book up expecting one of those "insider" books - the real inside look of what it was like growing up in a restaurant and how the restaurant business works. What I got was a rather sweet memoir that was more about family, a family that happened to be headed by a restaurant owner. Sure, the author worked in the restaurant on Sundays (why she was not there the rest of the week, I don't know), but the first part of the book was as much about her 8 siblings as anything else. The second...more
Diane Yannick
This lady can write....and tell a great family story. She paced the story in a way that allowed the reader to gradually come to know her parents. The truth was often in the smaller details rather than the big stories. She used a writing technique that I loved---repeating single words or phrases as an occasional refrain. It made me slow down and savor the sensual image she was describing.

Pandl's restaurant was a Milwaukee landmark for many years. George and Terry Pandl had nine children to help o...more
Author: Julia Pandl
Published By: Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill
Age Recommended: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Blog For: GMTA
Rating: 5


"Memoir of the Sunday Brunch" by Julia Pandl was a simple well written memoir that I did enjoy. I found myself laughing at a lots of this funny and heart warming read. This is just a wonderfully written personal memoir of Julia Pandl's family growing up in the Pandl Family Restaurant business. This memoir pays great attention to this eccentric father, George....more
Peggy Graves
I enjoyed this book very much. Milwaukeans love all things Milwaukee, so the book will have a ready, willing and able readership. Julia Pandl caught the essence of Milwaukee and her family's significant role in it.
At times i felt she was a bit self-indulgent giving me more feeling than fact. The book is more about Julia than Pandls. More about her dad than mom. Julia is the youngest of 9 yet she sounds like the one and only - certainly Daddy's favorite? I am the youngest of four and was the onl...more
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Sheryl Gerrard
Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, or else I missed something, but I didn't "love" this book... It was enjoyable reading but it definitely didn't change my life for the better or for the worse having read it. It was "Zippy" meets Ruth Reichl with a few poignant memories in between. I enjoyed the author's description of her growing relationship with and understanding of her father and could appreciate her depiction of a house where there are so many kids, but I didn't find any reason to give...more
Christine Emery weidner
I very much enjoyed this book on a number of levels. First, being from the locality where the book is centered was particularly entertaining and familiar. I too am from a large family and some of the references were hilarious and uniquely true to bigger groups of siblings. The transition of perspective from that as a young child to that of a caregiver to aging parents is also tender and insightful. Charming book. Easy read.
Debbie Stone
The first part of this book, I loved. Pandl wrote about working in her family's restaurant, growing up in a big family, and growing up in the late 70's and 80's. In the 2nd part of the book she wrote about the illness and death of her parents. While much more melancholy, her love for her parents/family shines thru and still makes you smile.
This was a book club choice.... Very funny,poignant and you love the big Catholic family. We invited Julie Pandl to speak to our book club. She is like a stand up comedian in fact I believe she does do stand up.
This book has laugh out loud spots and areas that bring tears to your eyes. Quick read and worth your time.
Sloane Mayberry
Hits hard on parenting our parents around end of life issues. Very good read. Was fun for book club as many of us are facing this currently. Also a funny book. Lots of food themes. Lots of religious themes. Enjoyed it!
Just started reading this title. Julia Pandl will be joining Manitowoc Public Library readers at our book discussion Thursday, September 20. Join in the fun!
Dec 31, 2012 Anne marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Still my family's benchmark for Sunday brunch, I'm excited to read this book!
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
This is another book I'd give 3 and a half stars if I could.
Book Concierge
Julia Pandl was the youngest of nine children born to Terry and George Pandl. Her father ran a very popular restaurant in a suburb of Milwaukee WI that was particularly famous for Sunday Brunch. At the age of 12 Julie began working in the restaurant – without salary. Her first job was “pick up the parking lot” – ridding the asphalt of used cigarette butts and discarded candy wrappers. Once she was done with that her sister set her up on a 5-gallon pickle bucket turned upside down, gave her a pil...more
LA Carlson
Feb 06, 2013 LA Carlson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to LA by: on year end best list of books
Shelves: historial-memoir
This memoir begs the question; what is the perfect childhood and set of parents? Obviously, none of us can really answer it because each of our experiences are what we know as normal. Julia Pandl sets the stage early by introducing us to her twelve year old mentality and routine; making pancakes at her Dad's restaurant. As you may imagine she detests it but it's a way of life for the Pandl family of 9 siblings. Her parents are like many of our parents; no playbook for parenting and doing the bes...more
Ellen Crispin
I had the impression when starting Julia Pandl’s "Memoir of the Sunday Brunch" that I would be in stitches from laughter the whole time. This vision of humorous delight turned out to be far from the truth but looking back on my experience reading Pandl’s heartwarming yet sad book, I’m happy with the way things turned out. Pandl’s tale hinges on her relationship with her demanding and comical father who owns a restaurant that Pandl grows up working in. Early on, I sensed that the lighthearted she...more
Barbara Murray
A book worth reading. At first I thought it was just another smart-alec kid trashing her parents, but it got better, maybe as the child author matured. (She is 12 when the book opens.) As the youngest of nine children, Julia Pandl has a unique viewpoint. I read this book in two days, and I got it from the library, where the Queens librarians had chosen it as a Hot Pick. Good going, Queens librarians! and thank you, Julia Pandl, for sharing your family stories. We only had one-third as many kids...more
Disclaimer: When I picked this book to review from the catalog, I thought I was getting one of my favorite types of with background vignettes. However, be warned that there are no recipes in Julia Pandl's Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, which definitely would have added something to Pandl's heartwarming stories.

From a ripe young age, Julia was put to work in her father's restaurant. George Pandl was a taskmaster, running his restaurant with ultra precision and requiring the same ded...more
Maybe this is one of those books that should be essential reading for everyone who thinks it could be so easy, fun, cool or a great challenge to set up and operate their own restaurant or café. Many “home cooks” think that holding dinner parties is such great fun that it is not such a bigger step to catering for restaurant guests in their own cozy little “Chez Moi”. Oh, do they learn…
If they have children, this book should be essential reading. It won’t necessarily send the aspiring restaurant o...more
Julia Pandl's wonderful account of growing up in the Pandl family restaurant, Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, is a touching tribute to her parents and particularly to her eccentric father, George, who was chief cook but not bottle washer. There has to be a lot of humor in large family and hers is no exception. Being the youngest of nine children, Julia was left with her parents in an empty nest just when she was getting into the family restaurant business.

This is a very personal memoir about all t...more
Memoir of the Sunday Brunch is half memoir of Julia's experiences growing up as the youngest of nine children and working Sunday brunches at her father's restaurant and half tribute to her parents. The first half of the book Julia reminisces about all the craziness of growing up in such a large family and how she and all her siblings were forced to work in their father's restaurant for Sunday brunch starting around age 12. Her first Sunday brunch she compares her father to Linda Blair in .

I was...more
A fine memoir and debut book by a woman who is also, according to the bio, a stand-up comedian. Comedy is a main part of the narrative, wry humor and some downright slapstick scenes. But this is as much a story of her relationship to her parents and eight older siblings as it is a recording of the restaurant run by her father and operated by her family members. The touching scenes of the deaths of her parents, the commentary on the Catholic church, and the memoir of the Sunday brunches that were...more
Very slow start. Over half way through Julia's story, it really turned around for me! The story presented a shift in perspective from a young girl who looked at her parents as crazy and irritating (what young kid hasn't) to a perspective of understanding and appreciation of her parents individuality, faith, and wholly unique attributes. Definitely 4 stars! Maybe more!

"Our parents are planted everywhere in us-their smiles, their gait, their stomachs, their habits. The older we get, the stronger t...more
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Julie was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she still lives and works. The youngest of nine, Julie often dreamed of naptime, where there was no yelling, kicking, or screaming, where no one would pinch her, pull her hair, or hang her on the bathroom doorknob by her underpants.

As time went on, her ambitions grew into a desire to work at her father’s restaurant, where she could be close to her belo...more
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