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Memoir of the Sunday Brunch

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  780 Ratings  ·  166 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Algonquin Books (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
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This hit home. And not only on the work ethic, joke style, or Catholicism minutia categories either. But in the spirit of family and commitment twice over. Her father's tong rule at the restaurant! Sibling and parental marriage stories too; I did LOL.

And the second half of the book also. Same honest personal and intimate stories for the good-byes. Such repayment to parents as seldom viewed (by myself anyway) any longer.

The style was hyper and over the top. Which at times caused me to lose the on
Page Edmunds
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Carl Phillips
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Lisa B.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
I did not like the writing style of the first half of the book. To me it read like a smart alick teenager talking. That got old really fast. The second half, when her mother dies, she writes in a calmer usual style.

I thought it odd that she referred to her Mom & Dad by their first names.

The book is all about her growing up & then about her parents dying. There is nothing of significance about the ins and outs and behind the scenes of the restaurant world.

I thought the book was boring, b
Diane Yannick
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa Hall
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Peggy Graves
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
I was not expecting only half of the book to be about the author's Sunday Brunch experience!
I must admit a bit of confusion as I began reading the second half. The stories of siblings working the Brunch, the Fatger's control of the kitchen, serving positions, keeping a fast pace with the customers, disappeared. These were replaced, with no warning, with the history of her mother's illness; her Catholic upbringing: and her father's thriftiness, beyond reason, using very outdated food in their own
Esther Marie
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I enjoyed this book, but was, (and am), confused at the marketing employed by the publisher. The first half of this book deals with growing up in a family that owns a restaurant, (humorous and entertaining for those working in the industry), and the second half covers Pandl's care of her elderly and dying parents, (also relatable, though to a different demographic). Pandl's father, George, is the true focus of this novel, but you'd never guess that based on the back of the book or even the summa ...more
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
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Maybe if I knew the restaurant and family I would have liked this story better. It was a true memoir about a big family that ran a restaurant but the restaurant part was hardly in the story. I thought it would have a bigger part but that was my assumption. Wouldn't recommend unless you know the family or restaurant that this story is about.
Janice Liedl
Apr 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really tried to like this book but it was like pulling teeth. Maybe it's more me, but I love memoirs, I love stories about people who grew up in the Midwest, I love accounts that touch on food and restaurants but this book was unsatisfying. Each chapter built up to a point and then slid away from any sense of completion.
Debbie Stone
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
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.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Deb Mj
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have to admit to being pretty disappointed by this. I expected a book detailing the inner workings and lunacy of the family restaurant, but got very little of that. It was, instead, more about family and their approach to religion than anything to do with food. It wasn't at all offensive, but the inside didn't deliver what the blurb on the jacket promised.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I absolutely loved this book. I laughed and cried. It is most of all about being a daughter. I grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same catholic school and church but truly think anyone would enjoy this wonderful book.
Sloane Mayberry
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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!
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
This is another book I'd give 3 and a half stars if I could.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Kelly Crosgrove Sullivan Bredon
I'm rating this 5 stars because I couldn't put it down. It was hysterically funny yet heart warming..... very well written memoir of the youngest child in a large Catholic family.

Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
The first half of the memoir was fun and lively. Unfortunately, Pandl fizzles out after a few pages. One must note that there are two parts to the memoir. The first is her account of growing up in the restaurant and the subsequent adventures of her youth. The second part is mostly about her healing and her faith when she reaches adulthood and her father undergoes health issues.

I enjoyed her adventures in manning the buffet line and her Sundays in the kitchen but it was not very well expounded

Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very easy read. A little hard to follow towards the end of the book but overall an easy read with a good story.
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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
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