Walking into Teller’s of Hyde Park felt a little like walking into Gringott’s Wizarding Bank (where Harry Potter does business). Not just because this lovely building was once Hyde Park Savings Bank, since converted to a restaurant in the mid-90s, but because the hostess led us on an adventure to our table, and the sights we saw were spellbinding.

The first was a row of bank teller “windows,” below which were bar-top tables, perfect for enjoying a drink with friends. At the far end of the room, a soft glow came from the door of the old bank’s vault. But instead of piles of gold coins, we found cozy seating surrounded by curtains, allowing a private feel perfect for an intimate meal. There was even a cashier’s window, complete with iron bars. We climbed the winding staircase to our table for two, which overlooked the heart of Hyde Park Square.

We were here for Teller’s weekends-only brunch, offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. The wide selection of menu choices was rich in creativity and grandeur, but with pricing that won’t break the bank. From eggs Florentine to Belgian waffles to a burrito con chorizo, all but one menu item were under $10, and most were $8.

I ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, a crab cake topped with a poached egg, blanketed in Hollandaise sauce, served with asparagus spears. At $12 this was the most expensive item on the menu, but I consider myself somewhat of a crab cake aficionado and couldn’t resist the temptation. The crab cake itself was quite possibly the best I’ve ever had. It was loaded with chunks of crab and light on breading — the way an exceptional crab cake should be, and what makes this particular item well worth the investment. Hollandaise sauce was prevalent throughout the menu, and I now know why. Chef Nathan Jolley does a spectacular job of it, and the sauce pairs so well with an egg, poached to perfection. I was quickly discovering that the food was the treasure inside this one-time bank.  

My husband chose the Goetta Hot Brown — toasted Challah bread piled high with a slice of fried goetta, caramelized onions, sausage gravy, smokehouse bacon, cheddar cheese sauce and Hollandaise served with a side of Teller’s chips. This was a steal at only $9. The goetta was local, from Glier’s of Covington. Deep-fried until golden brown and crunchy, the chips were house-made, a blend of white and sweet potatoes and beets. They were among the tastiest gourmet chips I’ve had, and my date commented that they paired well with the Hollandaise.

We ordered the Macadamia Crepes as a dessert, which were filled with sliced bananas and a hazelnut ganache, topped with powdered sugar. The ganache was velvety and smooth, but contained a surprise gem of crunchy hazelnut every few bites. This chocolaty, nutty concoction was a sophisticated version of the frozen banana on a stick dipped in chocolate and peanuts that I remember from my childhood. They were served with a dollop of vanilla crème fraiche, which added just the right amount of tanginess to cut through the sweetness of the ganache. The combination: magical.

We then made our way to the bar to experience the two featured brunch cocktails: the illustrious Bloody Mary and the Mimosa. (“Virgin” versions are served until 1 p.m. on Sundays.) What was particularly refreshing about this Mimosa was how it arrived on a tray with a champagne flute and a split of the bubbly with a side of orange juice, allowing my partner to mix as desired and ensuring a fresh fizz. The Bloody Mary was even more impressive. The bartender served a glass of the tomato juice and vodka over ice, then directed me to “the Bloody Mary bar,” where I could personalize it with any combination of colossal olives — stuffed pimento and blue cheese — and celery, cocktail onions, various hot sauces, horseradish, spicy banana peppers, Worcestershire sauce and the piece de resistance: blanched, seasoned jumbo asparagus spears. A Bloody Mary lover’s dream!

The service throughout was impeccable, with exceptional attention. One diner requested a newspaper, but the house copy had been lifted in a mid-morning heist. A hostess walked down the street to purchase another copy.

So, the next time you need a weekend brunch fix, make it Teller’s of Hyde Park — and you can take that recommendation to the bank.