Food & Drink

DC's 9 Best Breakfast Joints

Published On 04/24/2015 Published On 04/24/2015
Rebecca Dickerson

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but all too often it gets ignored thanks to its flashier half-sibling, brunch. While brunch is not without its charms, there's something to be said for seeking out some hot, black coffee and the opportunity to eat your own weight and eggs and bacon without the commotion that is hour-plus table waits and excessive mimosa consumption. These nine DC joints prove breakfast is a meal worth waking up for all week long. 

Blind Dog Cafe

Florida Ave NW
Plenty of cafes get breakfast wrong. Sure, there’s always coffee. And most cafes serve pastries and bagels in the early hours. But where’s the breakfast? The eggs, the sausage, the bacon! Luckily, Blind Dog Cafe gets that part right. Each weekday until 11am (and all day on weekends), the cafe’s kitchen serves up legit breakfast sandwiches bedecked in eggs, bacon, chorizo, and mushrooms on buttery, flaky croissants. And it’s a purchase you can feel good about, as almost all of the kitchen’s ingredients come from local farms and purveyors.

Scott Suchman

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

G Street NW
The obvious breakfast choice at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is one of the eatery’s namesake donuts, bedecked in vanilla glaze, maple syrup & bacon, and peanut butter & jelly. But if you’re sick of sweets, Astro has a trump card in its donut deck: the honey butter fried chicken breakfast sandwich. "For breakfast?!" asked the doubter. "Absolutely," answered the rational person.
 

Jimmy T’s Place

Capitol Hill
Despite being located on Capitol Hill, Jimmy T’s place is still sort of a secret. The eatery is a classic greasy spoon complete with a lunch counter and generous diner portions. Eggs and bacon and coffee and creamer rule the day here. Despite the no-frills appearance, Jimmy T’s does offer one gimmick: the coffee arrives hot and fresh in eclectic, mismatched thrift store mugs.

The Diner

The Diner

Adams Morgan
Sometimes, you want breakfast for dinner. And that’s okay, because you’re an adult. At The Diner, you can get breakfast whenever you damn feel like it. Day and night, 24/7, the eatery’s chefs sling heaping helpings of pancakes, French toast, and vegetarian-friendly omelets and scrambles. It’s like IHOP, but without the waitresses who smell like cigarettes and the creepy 2am truckers.

Marissa Bialecki

Red Apron Butchery

Penn Quarter
Red Apron Butchery’s regular breakfast menu has but seven items on it, all sandwiches. But each of the shop’s seven sandwiches pack a powerful protein punch. Combinations like the Buenos Dias -- made of egg, chorizo, pickled onion, and sour cream -- wage war on early morning hunger. Other choices include the aptly named Patriot: a star spangled banner of bacon or sausage, egg, and American cheese, and the house-made scrapple sandwich served on a toasted baguette and dripping with maple hot sauce.

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

Slipstream

14th St NW
When Slipstream and its artisanal toasts landed in DC last October, critics proclaimed it the end of the world. But that was before they actually tried the toast. Once the initial shock wore off, some local eaters proclaimed the coffee shop's toast the biggest thing since, well, sliced bread. The thick-sliced pieces of toasted bread come coated in toppings like house-made apple butter, goat cheese, and poached eggs, and can be washed down with a hot cup of the shop’s farm-sourced coffee.
 

District Taco

Multiple locations
District Taco’s breakfast tacos, despite being served all day, are best eaten at breakfast. Flour tortillas serve as vessels for eggs, cheese, potatoes, and an unlimited amount of toppings like garlic-lime rice, black or pinto beans, and pico de gallo. With meal in hand, diners can dress their own tacos at a salsa bar stocked with four different salsas.

Bullfrog Bagels

Bullfrog Bagels

H St NE
Despite its decades-long dominance over the New York breakfast scene, bagels have only started to take root in DC. At the forefront of the movement are bakeries like Bullfrog Bagels, a New York-style bagel pop-up located inside Star & Shamrock from 7am-1pm, every day but Monday. Bullfrog’s bagels are everything a proper NYC bagel should be: hot, chewy, and eaten with a thick layer of cream cheese, lox, pastrami, and whitefish salad.

Flickr/mogello (Edited)

Lincoln’s Waffle Shop

Penn Quarter
Was Abraham Lincoln into waffles? The question may haunt historians for years to come. But if he was, and if he had access to a time machine, Lincoln might dine at Lincoln’s Waffle Shop, a short-order diner located across the street from Ford’s Theater. Like many classic diners, the menu is short, and the food is filling. In addition to the usual egg-and-pancake fare, this diner’s cooks sling crispy fried chicken and waffles the size of frisbees, both ready to be washed away in a sea of maple syrup.

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1. Blind Dog Cafe 944 Florida Ave, Washington, DC 20001

If you start your day with a buttery croissant piled high with chorizo and cheese, plus Blind Dog’s signature drink — a "Black Moses" — your day is bonded and insured to be the best. The "Black Moses" combines three shots of espresso in a chai chocolate cappuccino. Located inside Darnell’s neighborhood bar, BDC is an example of a "plop-up." That’s when a pop-up is so awesome that it makes it 2+ years. You’re drinking Vigilante Coffee and noshing on what they jokingly call "above average cookies," baked fresh throughout the day. Pay attention to the day of the week if you’re a music lover: there’s Country Western Mondays, local music Tuesdays, and Reggae Thursdays.

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2. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken 1308 G St NW, Washington, DC 20005 (Chinatown)

Exactly what it sounds like: donuts and fried chicken that are out of this world.

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3. Jimmy T's Place 501 E Capitol St SE, Washington, 20003 (Capitol Hill)

Despite being located on Capitol Hill, Jimmy T’s place is still sort of a secret. The eatery is a classic greasy spoon complete with a lunch counter and generous diner portions. Eggs and bacon and coffee and creamer rule the day here. Despite the no-frills appearance, Jimmy T’s does offer one gimmick: the coffee arrives hot and fresh in eclectic, mismatched thrift store mugs.

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4. The Diner 2453 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Adams Morgan)

Their motto is "Serving early birds, night owls, and everyone in between!" and with mouth-watering options like their Reuben Benedict, jalapeño bacon burger, and even a bacon bourbon ice cream float (!), it seems like the folks at The Diner are doing their job just fine.

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5. Red Apron Butcher 709 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Penn Quarter)

Start with a quality butcher that's got all the meats and provisions you could ask for, add a delicious menu of specialty breakfast and lunch sandwiches, mix in some coffee from Ceremony, and you've got yourself Red Apron Butcher. Speaking of their breakfast sandwiches, all of them are served on tigelle -- a tasty Italian flatbread reminiscent of an English muffin -- and come in varieties that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in DC, like the Southern Comfort with tasso ham, egg, and spicy pimento cheese.

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6. Slipstream 1333 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005 (Logan Circle)

Husband and wife duo Ryan Fleming and Miranda Mirabella bring Slipstream, coffee shop by day and cocktail bar by night, to Logan Circle. This unique spot offers both quality selection (high-end spirits, coffee beans sourced from Africa and Central America) and a passionate commitment to excellent customer service.

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7. Bullfrog Bagels 1341 H St NE, Washington, 20002

This New York-style bagel pop-up is located inside Star and Shamrock from 7am to 1pm every day but Monday. Bullfrog’s bagels are everything a proper bagel should be: hot, chewy, and eaten with a thick layer of cream cheese, lox, pastrami, and whitefish salad.

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8. Lincoln's Waffle Shop 504 10th St NW, Washington, 20004 (Penn Quarter)

This short-order diner located across the street from Ford’s Theater has a short menu, full of filling food. In addition to the usual egg-and-pancake fare, this diner’s cooks sling crispy fried chicken and waffles the size of frisbees, both ready to be washed away in a sea of maple syrup.

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