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Brunch for mom: Eateries she’d like

Calling ahead is a must, as Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and many people probably haven’t decided where to take mom for that special celebration. It’s the busiest restaurant day of the year, beating out New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, the day after Christmas, and the days on either side of Thanksgiving — which means at this late date, reservations are extremely limited.

But don’t let that deter you! All that last-minute pressure creates is a need to think creatively. Most of your favorite restaurants will be open, and many will offer special Mother’s Day menus, so wherever you choose to go, definitely call ahead. We put together this list of restaurants within a short drive that offer a unique or unexpected Mother’s Day brunch experience.

The Dayton Art Institute (456 Belmonte Park North) is not known as a brunch spot, but in May only the museum is celebrating “The Art of Brunch” all month long with Sunday spreads at its in-house bistro, The Cafe, formerly known as Cafe Monet. Updated with a new name, renovated decor and a completely overhauled menu, this Sunday The Cafe will host a special Mother’s Day buffet with everything from mimosas and fresh salmon to croissant bread pudding and homemade granola. Brunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $24.95 for adults and $13.95 for children (tax and gratuity included). Call (937) 223-5277 for reservations.

While onsite, make it an all-day experience and wander the museum’s permanent collection. While you’re there, visit the current special exhibitions, “Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art” and “Maya Lin: Flow.” Special exhibit admission is $12 for adults; $9 for seniors, students 18 and older (with ID) and active military; $6 for youths ages 7-17, and free for museum members and children ages 6 and younger.

For moms in the mood for something outside of traditional fare, Mason’s award-winning Banana Leaf Modern Thai (101 E. Main St.) offers a unique twist. Beginning at 11 a.m., owner and executive chef Pom Tongdangjoue will offer a special Mother’s Day seafood ensemble platter alongside its regular menu. Winner of the 2012 Open Table Diner’s Choice Award and Mason’s 2011 Small Business of the Year, Banana Leaf features a fresh, charming ambience and delicious Asian cuisine at agreeable prices. Banana Leaf takes its uniqueness yet another step by making its Mother’s Day special available all weekend long starting on Friday, and is open for both lunch and dinner on Sunday. Call (513) 234-0779 for reservations.

Springfield’s Simon Kenton Inn and Publik House (4690 Urbana Road) offers the opportunity to expand your mother’s experience beyond just brunch. Take mom for an overnight stay at this historic bed and breakfast, with rooms in three buildings that date back as far as 1828.

Don’t let the dates scare you, though — each room is fully outfitted with new bathrooms and all the amenities one could need, and breakfast is included with the price of your stay. But if you’re simply looking for a brunch experience, the Inn’s Pub and Restaurant will serve a stellar Mother’s Day buffet with a huge assortment of choices. Prime rib. Fire grilled pork loin. Oven roasted chicken and roasted red skin potatoes. Herbed whitefish and green beans almandine. Fruit and cheese. Fresh vegetables. Meatballs and marinara. And dessert, too. Cost is $23, or $12 for children 8 and younger. The Inn has three seatings (11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.) to accommodate heavy demand, but you should still call (937) 399-9950 right away to make your reservation.

Creative Mother’s Day meals don’t begin and end with restaurant dining, however. Kettering’s gourmet carry-out Fresco (3141 Far Hills Ave.) offers a special menu of entire gourmet meals carefully designed and prepared by owner and chef Jenn DiSanto. The meals, ordered in advance, can be picked up and whisked away to be served to your family in the privacy and comfort of home — all the trimmings with none of the hassle or hustle. Call (937) 296-9600 to place your order.

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