Where to Get Breakfast (Not Brunch) in D.C.
BYT Staff | Mar 20, 2017 | 9:00AM |

We originally published our Breakfast Guide in March of 2014. Three years later, the coffee and eggs scene tastes a little different. There are a few more diners, restaurants offering morning meals and still no Waffle House. Sooner or later, we’ll have breakfast establishment perfection in the District. Until then, here are some places where you can order bacon and eggs. Also, breakfast is not brunch.

All Day Breakfast

Ari’s Diner

  • 2003 Fenwick Street NE 

Ari’s is delivering on nearly everything we want in a diner. They’re also delivering some unnecessary options for more fickle eaters (Avocado toast, anyone? (Avocado toast is perfectly fine just not for us at a diner. Know your role, diner eaters)). -Brandon Wetherbee

Aris Diner First Look-22

Bethesda Bagels

  • 1718 Connecticut Avenue NW

Good bagels are hard to find outside of New York. This is something we just learn growing up on the East Coast. It’s not one of those local pride things, either; there’s actually chemical reasoning to back this up. New York City has some of the best-tasting tap water in the country. This has a direct effect on everything that goes into food in New York. It’s why flour products like pasta, pizza dough, and especially bagels always taste better in New York. All that said, Bethesda Bagels in Dupont are the only bagels on which I willfully spend money in D.C. What they may or may not lack in dough quality is immediately made up for with the contents of their sandwiches. Two fried eggs, pepperjack cheese, spinach, bacon, garlic, and olive oil, are all stuffed between to halves of an everything bagel. It’s will not make you feel like you’re in Manhattan, but it will outright murder a hangover. Try their pickles, too. -Jonny Grave

Buffalo and Bergen

  • 1309 5th St NE

As good as Bullfrog is, it’s still not a “New York bagel” (not that that’s better or worse, it just is what it is). For that, head up to Buffalo and Bergen in Union Market. Their robust (seriously, there’s like 20 options) menu of bagel sandwiches is available all day, and each is served on a bagel made in New York (with its purported magical water), shipped daily to B&B, and baked on-site. Their ham and parmesan knishes are seriously great, but it’s tough to beat the Bandido bagel sandwich, with pulled pork carnitas, pickled peppers, avocado, and melted manchego cheese. Oh, also, they have the “Lox’d and Loaded” Bloody Mary garnished with lox, cream cheese, capers, and red onion on an everything bagel. No big deal. -Logan Hollers

Bullfrog Bagels

  • 317 7th St SE
  • 1341 H St NE

As you might image, South Dakota didn’t exactly shine in terms of its bagel scene. I grew up loving “bagels,” which meant that I loved the dough rolls that came in a plastic bag from Hy-Vee. My first bagel epiphany came in Montauk, NY, when my girlfriend’s dad made me an everything bagel with lox and the works. Now THAT was a bagel. Imagine my delight then, when Bullfrog first opened on H St. Using DC tap water and wild yeast that lives in the city’s air, this is D.C. bagel, not a New York bagel. That said, it’s delicious; the hand-rolled, boiled, and baked bagels are yeasty, chewy, and perfectly dense. A classic toasted bagel (maybe with a schmear) is perfection, but my go-to is the Natitude with hot pastrami, Swiss, and Dijon mustard sauce. -Logan Hollers

Commissary

  •  1443 P Street NW

In a corner of D.C. where most of what’s open before 9 a.m. requires a yoga mat, Commissary is ready and waiting to provide you with a better breakfast than the dry scone you can get at the Starbucks next door. Part of the EatWell DC family (which also includes The Pig and Commissary’s down the block neighbor Logan Tavern), Commissary is the unassuming, hardworking sibling its name implies. Featuring the full weekend breakfast menu all day, every day starting at 8 a.m., the food ranges from basic bacon and eggs to the more adventurous lox & onion omelet and famous potato pancakes. With a varied menu of well-prepared food, service that’s friendly but efficient, and a cozy but not overly familiar atmosphere, Commissary is a breakfast workhorse. But the all-day breakfast venue can afford to be unpretentious: that it’s busy every morning and packed by 9:30 a.m. on weekends – in Logan Circle, no less – sends a message all on its own. -Trisha Brown

The Coupe

  •  3415 11th Street NW

Sister restaurant to The Diner, Tryst, Open City, etc, The Coupe has everything you’ve come to expect from that restaurant family, like solid all day breakfast options. While I’ve written about The Coupe’s fried chicken sandwich more than once on this website, that’s not what this guide is about, so we’ll table it for now. The omelette’s kick ass. I have it on authority that the Eggs Benedict rock and I’m a big fan of the hash. Also, their Irish coffee is fantastic and I don’t even like coffee. It gets crowded as hell on the weekends (and sometimes in the middle of the week) but if you can snag a spot at the bar, you wont be disappointed. -Kaylee Dugan

Dacha Market

  •  1600 7th Street NW

Now that the BYT office has been relocated from Shaw to K Street, a lot of things have changed. I feel lamer when I take the Red Line instead of the Green in the morning, but we’ve also upped our lunch game due to the overpopulation of fast casual spots in the neighborhood. There are a lot of pros and cons, but there is nothing I miss more than being close to the Dacha Market. Serving up breakfast sandwiches all day long every goddamn day of the week, Dacha was always there for me with a Bullfrog Bagel when I was hungover. Dacha’s sausage sandwiches have single-handedly fueled some of my best work on this site. But enough about my shortcomings, just know that when you’re feeling your most horrible, your most gross, your most desperately hungover, Dacha is here for you. -Kaylee Dugan

Dacha Beer Garden

The Diner

  •  2453 18th Street NW

If you’re looking to have eggs and bacon at 1 a.m. on a Wednesday, The Diner is here for you. Serving up basic diner foods very well, The Diner is reliable. It’s an oasis on 18th street. If you can’t deal with the crowds and the cheap beer and the jumbo slice, duck inside, get yourself an omelette and top it off with a cocktail. The Diner has been there for me at the weirdest of times and circumstances and it’s here for you too. I didn’t mean to get this serious about breakfast. I’m just passionate about the topics I love. -Kaylee Dugan

Florida Avenue Grill

  •  1100 Florida Avenue NW

We’ve got a lot of love for this neighborhood staple, and for many reasons: it’s cheap, delicious, consistent, and black-owned. This place isn’t really for the weak of heart – seriously, I think they cook everything with lard – but it has plenty of soul. Like most things in Shaw, it’s recently been taken over by yuppies on the weekends, but you can still catch the regulars sitting at the counter on early weekday mornings, enjoying an affordable, made-to-order meal and pretty decent diner coffee.

The Florida Avenue Grill has been serving up hot cakes since before you were born (their words, not ours), and they sprinkle theirs with cinnamon and sugar – decadent even before you slather them in butter and syrup. Get yourself a couple as part of the Miss Bertha’s Special, which also comes with two eggs, your choice of bacon, sausage, or scrapple, and home fries or grits – enough food for a day, all for $11.95. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
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Lincoln’s Waffle Shop

  • 504 10th Street NW

Where Leslie Knope eats. -Brandon Wetherbee

Open City

  •  2331 Calvert Street NW

Possibly the healthiest all day breakfast option in the city, Open City has a wide variety of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free breakfast entrees. Some of the must try dishes include the Chai Tea Waffles,  the OC Burrito, and the Croque Madame. -Farrah Skeiky

Osman & Joe’s Steak & Egg

  • 4700 Wisconsin Avenue NW

The waffle has been around in one form or another for about a thousand years. Making one is not a terribly complicated process, and there’s not much room for improvement or variation. The Belgians have worked on a massive design that carefully cradles fruit and whipped cream. Waffle House has a pecan waffle that certainly stands out among the greats. But there’s one waffle that empirically tops them all: a blueberry waffle from Osman and Joe’s, served outdoors, in the summer, between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. -Jonny Grave

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Slim’s Diner

  • 4201 Georgia Avenue NW

The real gem here is the menu. Almost nothing is over $10. Let that sink in. You can get two eggs with toast and potatoes for $6. Or French toast for $8. If you feel like going hard, the Slim’s Breakfast (with two eggs, meat, toast, potatoes, and three pancakes) is $12. There aren’t many places with reasonable menu prices left in D.C. and while I am willing to get wild at Barmini once a year, sometimes it’s nice to go somewhere and not feel like you’re apart of some cosmic scam. -Kaylee Dugan

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Ted’s Bulletin

  • 1818 14th Street NW
  • 508 8th Street SE

One of the first restaurants I came to when I moved to D.C., Ted’s Bulletin has a special spot in my heart. Yes, it’s doing that upscale diner thing we like to talk shit about, but at the end of the day the food is really fucking good and I’m never going to turn my nose down at quality, even if it’s not necessarily the coolest or most “authentic” spot in town. All of the classics make appearances on the menu, the portions are big, and I don’t care what anyone says I still think the pop-tarts are damn good. I only ever get the blueberry flavor because I’m loyal and set in my ways. Follow my lead. -Kaylee Dugan

Tony’s Breakfast

  • 1387 H St NE

The very definition of no frills, Tony’s looks a little shady from the outside. But the H St. spot more than makes up for its lack of looks with a killer all-day breakfast menu. Sure, the fried gizzards are legit (and very old-school H St.), but the best item on the menu is aptly named: “Breakfast.” Choose a bread, choose a meat (scrapple, Italian sausage, or the rib-eye steak are all solid picks), choose your two egg preparation, then decide cheese or no cheese (cheese, obvs). Side choices include home fries, grits, waffles, pancakes, etc. Point is, this is a straight-up breakfast spot, through and through. -Logan Hollers

Tryst

  • 2459 18th St NW

Whether you need a coffee at 9 p.m. or a coffee at 9 a.m., a pastry at 7 a.m. or a pastry for dinner, Tryst is there. Good for the person who wishes the wait at The Diner wasn’t so long. -Brandon Wetherbee

Dedicated Breakfast Menus

Art & Soul

  • 415 New Jersey Avenue NW

Art & Soul takes your breakfast favorites to an elevated level with divine Buttermilk Lemon Pancakes and a great Cured Salmon bagel. If you’re trying to stay true to your New Year’s resolution to eat better, Chef Art has introduced and Art Start portion of the menu with healthier options. -Farrah Skeiky

Art & Soul

Big Bear Cafe

  •  1700 1st Street NW

Big bear serves weekday breakfast from opening to noon, with a simple but fantastic selection of bagels (breakfast, bacon, lox), a cheddar omelet, and great french toast. -Farrah Skeiky

Blue Duck Tavern

  •  24 & M Streets NW

Not only is Blue Duck’s atmosphere perfect for any breakfast occasion, but their menu is both diverse and local. The Jumbo Lump Maryland Crab with scrambled egg whites is almost too decadent to be good for you– but it’s also part of Blue Duck’s heart healthy menu, which includes some of the best gluten free pancakes, waffles and pastries you’ll ever eat. -Farrah Skeiky

Blue Duck Heart Health Breakfast Farrah Skeiky BYT 08

Farmers and Distillers

  •  3000 K Street NW

Farmers & Distillers knows its role. This is a good thing. For the nearby office workers and the commuters heading to the Chinatown or Convention Center Metro stations, stop in for a donut (they’re made in house and moist and what you want in a donut) and special-t0-Farmer’s Compass Coffee First Bake Blend. It’s hard to go wrong with fresh donuts and Compass Coffee. -Brandon Wetherbee

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Farmers Fishers Bakers

  •  3000 K Street NW

The sister restaurant to Founding Farmers has a first bake every weekday morning from 7:30 to 10:00, serving fresh out of the oven baked goods like cinnamon rolls, but more importantly, breakfast tacos. -Farrah Skeiky

Founding Farmers

  •  1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Easily the most business meeting friendly spot in D.C. (and Montgomery County), Founding Farmers offers a dedicated breakfast menu and wi-fi to make your 9 a.m. conference a little more bearable. Between the Cast Iron Skillet eggs and the Stuffed New Orleans French Toast, you’ll make it out okay. -Farrah Skeiky

Kafe Leopold

  •  3315 M Street NW

This is the only place in Georgetown that makes me wish I lived in Georgetown. Everything on the menu seems delicious but if you don’t order the croque-monsieur, you’ve already fucked your day up. -Kaylee Dugan

Keren Restaurant

  •  1780 Florida Avenue NW

Eritrean food might not be your go-to breakfast meal, but you’d be a “ful” to overlook Keren. The cozy East African eatery is at the base of Adams Morgan, where 18th Street and Florida Avenue intersect, but you’re transported several thousand miles away the moment you walk in the door. Order up some spicy tea to go alongside your shahan ful – fava bean paste accompanied by green onions, tomatoes, feta, yogurt, olive oil and a couple of soft-scrambled eggs, and scoop it all into one of the warm soft rolls. You’ll be fully satisfied, will seem cultured and adventurous, and it won’t break the bank (no breakfast should break the bank). -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

Kramerbooks

  •  1517 Connecticut Avenue NW

Yes, Kramerbook’s breakfast is just as good (if not better) than their dinner menu. Go for the brie, basil and tomato omelet, or any of the benedicts, or the steak and eggs, okay, or really just anything on the menu. You can’t go wrong. -Farrah Skeiky

Market Lunch

  •  225 7th Street SE

Eastern Market at any hour of the day on the weekends is a beautiful scene in every sense. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the sidewalks are lined with trees for sale, and the whole block smells like pine. In the middle of the summer, Mennonites come in from Pennsylvania with apples, and the old lady comes in from Southern Maryland with tomatoes. It never ceases to be busy, regardless of the season. As such, Market Lunch has a responsibility not just to the patrons of Eastern Market, but also to their fellow vendors. Tourists eat the blueberry buckwheat pancakes. Vendors eat the shrimp and grits. I eat both. French toast, too. -Jonny Grave

Red Apron

  • 1309 5th Street NE
  • 709 D Street NW

A good breakfast spot should be one thing: snappy. If I had the time, I would have just made breakfast myself. Red Apron gets this. Red Apron gets me. The menu isn’t overwhelming – just six sandwiches, most of which come on Red Apron’s staple tigelle flatbread (ie, fancy English muffins). In between these crisped Italian carb discs are some combination of egg, meat, cheese, and veggie. And since it’s Red Apron, you know the house-made meat – chorizo, tasso ham, bacon, etc. – is on point. (Don’t worry tree huggers, there’s also a ricotta, honey, smoked, pine nuts, and apple option.) One of these will tide you over. Two will keep you full until a moderate-to-late lunch. That’s basically it. Fancy McMuffins. Served hot and fast. It’s not rocket science. And it doesn’t have to be. -Phil Runco

Red Apron Penn Quarter Brightest Young Things Stephanie Breijo1

The Royal

  • 501 Florida Avenue NW

Slowly but surely this place is becoming one of my favorite places in D.C. The staff are kind, the food is killer, and they’re the perfect transitional space. Whether I’m getting drinks with a friend, having dinner with my boyfriend, or stopping by with a book and a craving for arepas in the middle of the day, The Royal isn’t only there, it’s welcoming me with open arms. As I said before, you can’t go wrong with an arepa, but they also have more traditional breakfast sandwiches and bigger plates depending on what you’re in the mood for. At some point, you’ll be in the mood for all of it. -Kaylee Dugan

Tabard Inn

  •  1739 N Street NW

Tabard Inn offers a hotel-style continental breakfast ideal for morning meetings, or more filling, traditional fare that includes the option of some of the best home fries in D.C. Just get the home fries. Trust us. -Farrah Skeiky

Taco Bamba

  • 2190 Pimmit Drive, Falls Church, VA
  • 164 Maple Avenue, Vienna, VA

Taco Bamba’s breakfast menu kills it with enchiladas, tortas, and the Tinga Tostada– a tostada, chicken tinga, cheese, and a fried egg. Everything on this menu is under $10. -Farrah SkeikyTaco Bamba in Vienna

 

 

 

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Consult our Diners of the District feature.

Comments:
Recent Comments:
  • Starr says:

    Your article pertcefly shows what I needed to know, thanks!

  • PennyG says:

    Awesome! I love breakfast and you’ve made quite a nice list here. Thanks!

  • monkeyrotica says:

    Skip Ted’s, head down Barracks Row to Cafe Kimchi. Three words: kimchi bacon omelette.