59 Best Breakfast Joints and Not a One in D.C.

by Ben Miller

I have to admit: I’m not much of a breakfast or brunch person, at least not going outside of the house for it. When I get up on a weekend morning I’m much more content to make my own breakfast and have a hot cup of coffee rather than trekking outside where I can wait a half hour to get a table where I can then get served something for $10 that I could have easily made myself.

Well, according to Esquire, I’m not missing anything. It just released a list of its 59 best breakfast places in America, and not a single one of them was in Washington, D.C. While I can’t speak for most of the list, I think they got it about half right.

Nick’s on Broadway, in Providence, R.I., for example, is fantastic and rightfully belongs on the list. They’re home fries are actually a mixture of sweet and regular potatoes, and they always have a great selection of fresh bread and muffins. The Paper Moon Diner in Baltimore, Md., on the other hand, is wildly overrated. I went once and found the service slow, and the food really only so-so.

Also, I get the point of having national chains on there, but Bob Evans? Really? That being said, I do have a soft spot for Waffle House.

So what do you think? Agree or disagree with any of the places on the list? What D.C. establishments should have made the cut?

18 responses to “59 Best Breakfast Joints and Not a One in D.C.

  1. I can vouch for Tommy’s in Cleveland. Maybe not really one of the 59 best, but definitely a great breakfast (or lunch) spot.

  2. D.C. breakfast joints aren’t wrongly overlooked, I’m afraid. We have spots that are nice, but I have to tell you, I had brunch at Zazie in San Francisco and it was just enormously better than any brunch I’ve had in D.C. or elsewhere. An order of magnitude better.

    Saint Ex can suck it. Who serves shellfish during brunch?

  3. No need to temper your criticism; the food at Paper Moon is disgusting. Apparently the Esquire editors didn’t make it to Cafe Golden West or roughly 400 other places. As far as chains go, this list better not be in order… Waffle House > *

    Never had a great breakfast in DC, so I think that’s deserved.

  4. Marvin’s has a GREAT brunch. So does Liberty Tavern (in Arlington, VA actually, but it counts :) ) And above all, the Tabard Inn has an INCREDIBLE, scrumptious brunch that everyone should have the chance to eat in their lifetime, if they can get a reservation.

    I was shocked when no DC restaurants made the cut, too. Brunch is my favorite pastime!

  5. No doubt there are countless great places left off the list, but in part i’m surprised that there’s nothing from Wisconsin that i saw in the 53 slide show (thought it was top 59??)…

    In particular, Madison WI’s Mickey’s Dairy Bar is absolutely outstanding. great (and huge) pancakes, as well as all the classic breakfast eats… always a line, cash-only (a breakfast staple), and pretty cheap…

  6. It’s a shame that Florida Avenue Grill was left off. Great, cheap eats that is consistently good.

    I agree that not including Mickey’s Dairy Bar is odd. It’s definitely a classic and known to many not from Wisconsin.

    For better insight onto great breakfasts (and other meals), http://www.roadfood.com from Jane & Michael Stern is always helpful.

  7. A very weird group of choices for Chicago. These are places that were exciting in the 80s – now they’re just eh. The city has much better options.

  8. 53 entries and how many were on the West Coast, like 5? And not a one from Portland? Deep-seated bias!

  9. I just have to throw in my two cents on the Breakfast Klub. If you’re ever in Houston, you must visit this establishment. Marcus is damn near a force of nature around here, he gives a tremendous amount back to the community, and the katfish and grits are absolutely sublime. There’s a reason that the line goes out the door and around the corner on weekend mornings. Good wings and waffles, good katfish and grits, good Benedict, good coffee, good everything. Their other operation is the Reggae Hut, where you can get the best jerk chicken I’ve ever had.

    Have I gushed enough yet?

  10. I’ve never been, but there are plenty of people who will back up Zach on what he has to say about the Breakfast Klub.

    RE: New Orleans, John Mariani is not particularly insightful when it comes to evaluating restaurants there. Which is not to say that he’s wrong, just that he’s frequently less than helpful.

    It’s hard to believe how they ran out of gas at the end and started going with the likes of the Holiday Inn and Waffle House.

  11. Waffle House belongs on a list of notable breakfast places, but shouldn’t be on a list of the best. I’m from Tennessee and have many fond Waffle House memories, but really, the food is terrible.

    Also, Tex-mex (one of the great American cuisines) has a very strong breakfast tradition and is woefully underrepresented on this list. In south Texas the breakfast taco is a staple and the area has innumerable taquiria jalesco joints that could have made the list. If they wanted a less down-market offering San Antonio and Austin both have restaurants with amazing upscale tex-mex brunches.

  12. Emilie’s comment about the Chicago choices is spot on. Very weird selections.

  13. Pingback: Out to Lunch « Counter Intelligence

  14. I’d nominate Linda’s Seabright Cafe in Santa Cruz, and I know at least one other IFAer would agree with me. Nothing in DC even comes close.

    That said, GQ/Esquire lists of restaurants always suck. And of course they do. No one can eat that much brunch.

  15. Chef Mike’s corned beef hash, two eggs over easy, and home fries at the Tune Inn on the Hill.

    Hold the toast, please,

  16. They are home fries?

  17. I know it’s not exactly typical brunch (although you could argue that that’s the point), but what about the dim sum brunch at Café Atlantico? 11 courses, unlimited portions, and a perfectly complementary selection of brunch-appropriate drinks. What more do you need?

  18. Florida Avenue Grill has good food BUT its small, a bit dirty, and full of YUPPIES!!!

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