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The Brunch Club & Co. is changing brunch culture in the Austin area

Asanti Wiley

Marcus McNeil always loved brunch. But when he was a student at Texas State University, brunch culture felt nonexistent in the Austin area.

Starting in 2018, he invited his friends to his apartment every Sunday and had brunch. He went from brunch in his apartment to brunch at Industry, a restaurant in San Marcos and Austin.

“It was less than ten people inside our apartment,” McNeil said. “We continued to have the event and it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger each time, but the key component to it was it was a Black event that was ran by Black students.”

Dubbed Brunch Club & Co., the events were off-campus, fun, fashionable, and where Black people could truly enjoy themselves.

There have been many creative names for its events, including The Blueprint, Brunch on Bourbon, Brunch Nation and many more. They hold events during Texas State University’s Black Homecoming, and this year’s theme is called Black Rodeo.

“My job is to maintain the image and relationships that we have in the community as well as really push it forward,” McNeil, now founder and CEO of Brunch Club & Co., said. “My goal always is to outdo ourselves every single time when it comes to themes, when it comes to marketing, when it comes to creating.”

McNeil is not alone. He has a whole team behind Brunch Club & Co. There are over 15 team members. One of the members is Asanti Wiley, the creative director for Brunch Club & Co. She has been friends with McNeil for years. Wiley is behind all of the photos, videos and much more.

Asanti Wiley, left, and Marcus McNeil.
Asanti Wiley
Asanti Wiley, left, and Marcus McNeil.

“It all started off as friendships, like everybody that was a part of the club was my immediate friend,” McNeil said. “They were at my house every day.”

All of McNeil’s friends started to develop skill sets around the brunch.

McNeil’s goal for the brunch is to have his place for the Brunch Club & Co. and have long-lasting community partnerships.

“My biggest dream is to have our own building, have our own space, have our own incubator – whether it’s a lounge or a restaurant, a community space, whatever it is,” McNeil said. “I want to be able to hold space in Austin.”

McNeil says he wants to open doors for all Black people. He wants them to be seen and heard.

“We are infinite beings with infinite possibilities… The only limitations that we have are the ones we pretty much give ourselves,” McNeil said. “When you’re gone, if you did what you were supposed to do, your legacy will live on.”

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