Instead of being a celebration of brunch, New York’s first-ever BrunchCon may have actually ruined it.
“I hate this,” muttered one attendee around 1 p.m. on Sunday, about three hours into the five-hour event. It was a common sentiment among the 2,250 attendees whopaid between $55-$95 for what was promised to be unlimited food and drinks, were mostly treated to the worst part of brunch: waiting.
It took up to 90 minutes to getinside Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall. Once there, nearly 50 food and drink vendors had been divided into zones that attendees could only enter once, creating a few long, slow-moving lines. The wait at the event's two bars also spanned 90 minutes at times.
Bride-to-be Beth Colucci came to BrunchCon with a group of friends for her pre-wedding celebration. They drove two hours from Duchess County, then waited an hour to get in at 11:30 a.m., and had managed to hit only four food stations by 1:30 p.m.
“I used to work in event planning, and this is the most unorganized,poorly run event I've been to,” she said.
“It would be nice if we didn't have to play Jenga with the trash,” snarked Amanda Schifferdecker of the overflowing garbage cans. Plates were also piled on tables and chairs, and the marble floor was made even more slick by spilled drinks.
“They wiped us out,” said Tara Pezek, a manager at Upper West Side Italian restaurant Machiavelli. She and her team had given out all 2,000 servings of their panettone French toast with Grand Marnier maple syrup by 1:15 p.m., just over three hours into the five-hour event. “It was a little bit oversold.”
The long waits weren’t the only problem though.
“I felt very unsafe for them,” Colucci says of her three pregnant bridesmaids, one of whom is due in three weeks. “We were shoved out of the way multiple times by drunk people.”
BrunchCon wasn’t a total bust. Those who arrived early or stuck out the initial rush got nosh on fresh doughnuts, tuna tartare tacos, pork croquettes, empanadas, shaved ice and more.
“The food was delicious,” said Marina Blanchette. “I didn't have one of thing that was disappointing.”
But judging by the Facebook comments, what most people remember won’t be what they got to eat, if anything. As Twitter user @SnoWrite124 put it, “Feels like we just crawled out of a washing machine full of garbage, guacamole, and 5,000 people. Biggest con ever.”
A representative for BrunchCon reached by phone on Sunday afternoon had not returned a request for comment by press time.