Have your Pancake and Eat It, Too: 12 Acceptable Ways to Eat Dessert for Breakfast

Order a slab of layer cake or a hot fudge sundae for breakfast and garner more than a few raised eyebrows, but ask for an equally indulgent tiramisu or bananas foster in the form of your typical brunch fare and suddenly it’s totally fair game. “You want the crème brûlée? What kind of … oh, the crème brûlée waffles. Excellent choice!” This weekend, gather with friends for an unhurried morning meal and treat yourself to a sweet plate that practically comes with a certificate for one free nap afterward. These decadent dishes go beyond the usual waffles, pancakes, and french toast for a distinctly dessert-like take on brunch. Live the dream and order dessert for breakfast!

The Little Lion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This Old City eatery named after Alexander Hamilton reinvents a Southern dessert favorite with an unforgettable breakfast feast. For their Red Velvet French Toast, a cheesecake spread is sandwiched between layers of chocolatey bread and comes with a side of raspberry maple syrup for dipping or drenching. Our founding fathers would be duly impressed. Make a reservation at The Little Lion.

Dessert for Breakfast

Max Brenner, Boston Massachusetts
At this chocolate lover’s mecca, there’s an entire section of the menu dedicated to a sweet brunch. You’ll find treats like White Chocolate Cream French Toast, Illegal Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Pancakes, and the aptly named After Party Belgian Waffles. Two hot waffles are the backdrop for balsamic strawberries, strawberry honey, melted white chocolate, and a healthy (sized) scoop of whipped cream. Take a cue from the name and order these after a late Saturday night — chocolate is a surprisingly powerful cure-all. Make a reservation at Max Brenner.

Dessert for Breakfast

La Sirena, New York, New York
The fluffy Amaretti Mascarpone Pancakes at Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s newest Italian restaurant — their first to serve breakfast — have actual amaretto cookies shaved on top for a nicely sweet, nutty flavor. What’s the opposite of a short stack? We’ll have that, per favore. Make a reservation at La Sirena.

Dessert for Breakfast

Proof on Main, Louisville, Kentucky
This isn’t your grandmother’s casserole. Unless, of course, your grandmother’s recipe calls for liberal scoops of nutella and marshmallow. At this airy, art-filled space inside Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel, chef Mike Wajda makes a French Toast Casserole with everyone’s favorite chocolate hazelnut spread, marshmallow fluff, and a hazelnut crunch for an indulgent spin on the classic breakfast staple. Make a reservation at Proof on Main.

Dessert for Breakfast

Siena Tavern, Chicago, Illinois
In an effort to incorporate the restaurant’s beloved Tiramisu on the brunch menu at chef Fabio Viviani’s bustling Italian eatery, pastry chef Amy Arnold dreamed up the Tiramisu French Toast. With espresso-soaked brioche, marsala cream, and white chocolate, chef Arnold describes it as “your morning coffee and a day’s worth of dessert all wrapped up into breakfast.” Translation: there’s coffee in here, so it’s the perfect way to kick start your day. Make a reservation at Siena Tavern.

Dessert for Breakfast

Avenue Kitchen, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
This stylish, sunny bistro takes the best part of the quintessential French dessert — the entire thing — and places it atop a perfectly fluffy Belgian waffle. Chef Gregory Smith whips up a vanilla bean crème brûlée, then torches the sugary top to create the signature crisp, caramelized coating. Custard fills the pressed pockets, and with every decadent bite you’ll wonder why all French restaurants don’t offer their crème brûlée on a waffle. Make a reservation at Avenue Kitchen.

Dessert for Breakfast

Isla, Austin, Texas
Austin’s own Caribbean cantina serves up a sweet island-inspired brunch, complete with Bananas Foster French Toast. Chef de cuisine Alex Hughes explains, “Who doesn’t want dessert for breakfast? Ever since I was young, bananas foster has been a go-to for me. Now everyone can enjoy the best of both worlds.” To recreate the classic dessert, chef Hughes uses housemade brioche, sliced bananas, and Pilar rum caramel sauce. Paired with one of Isla’s signature brunch cocktails (the Goodie Goodie Rumdrop, perhaps?), it’s a recipe for a carefree, breezy kind of Sunday. Make a reservation at Isla.

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A Brief History of Brunch + A Few of Our Fave NYC Brunch Restaurants

Eggs Benedict, fresh bread baskets, bottomless mimosas, some gentle jazz standards to set the Sunday mood — these are the ingredients we’ve come to associate with the classic American brunch. What are the origins of this most famous of merged meals? How did brunch culture flourish in New York City in particular? And why is brunch both so loved and loathed? We explore both in this brief history of brunch and highlight some of our favorite NYC brunch restaurants below.

Brunch, Actually

The word is synonymous with Mother’s Day, bridal and baby showers, any weekend occasion that calls for a glass of bubbly (or few). But there was a time, at the dawn of the twentieth century, when brunch was a new addition to the culinary vocabulary. In an 1896 edition of Pennsylvania’s New Oxford newspaper, a new “fad” was introduced — a “repast at 11 o’clock a.m.,” between breakfast and lunch, that was on its way to becoming a weekly post-church ritual across the country. Shouldn’t the Lord’s day of rest include a nap-inducing feast … and one less meal to prepare, after all?

From Ellis Island to Studio 54 to Sex and the City: How New York Became America’s Brunch Capital

And then came a wave of immigration and, with it, a whole new cultural landscape in America’s cities, notably in New York. Today, everybody knows the cliché about how Jews go out for Chinese food on Christmas. But what was New York’s increasingly large Jewish population doing back in the day, while the rest of the city’s huddled masses were in church? Looking for places to nosh, of course. (Dim sum in Chinatown is still a weekend favorite.) That is one theory for why brunch became a tradition here. Another is the city’s vibrant nightlife. Tourists, club kids, well-heeled single women seeking a hangover cure after one too many Cosmopolitans — these and other late risers want to have their pancakes and eat them, too! In the so-called City that Never Sleeps, a whole new midday dining experience, from the greasy-spoon to the grand ballroom, was born.

Happy Hour or Hangry Time?

But brunch, like many aspects of New York life, can be complicated. Restaurant owners love serving brunch because it’s big business. Residents dodging the influx of bridge-and-tunnel brunch-seekers? Not so much. “Brunch is for jerks,” claimed one New York Times op-ed writer, only to be taken down in a New York magazine missive entitled “It’s Time to Shut Up About Brunch.” Ranting about the indignities of brunch — it’s expensive and elitist! No stroller parking! — can be an activity in and of itself. No matter which side of the argument you fall on, one thing is for sure: People are passionate about brunch. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Skip the Lines and Brunch Away with Some of Open Table’s Favorite NYC Spots

Streetside loitering is a rite of passage for New York’s brunchers. What better way to build your appetite than standing for an hour with the Sunday paper (on your smartphone) or at the bar, right? Actually, we suggest you beat the wait by reserving a table ahead of time at some of these best-loved brunch venues in the area!

Cherche Midi
Love the food but want to skip the fracas at Balthazar? Take the flâneur route over to the Bowery and dine on all the best French brunchables — pot du fromage, steak frites, a glass of kir royale to name a few — this chic, energetic bistro has to offer. Make a reservation at Cherche Midi.

NYC Brunch Restaurants

Dirt Candy
Forget the facon: A creative menu filled with meat-free options — the Canadian Cracker alone is worth the cost of admission — elevates this eatery of earthly delights to ‘must-go’ status for vegetarians (vegans, too). Worried what your omnivorous friends will think? Mention the Jealous Mary (made with green tomatoes!) and let their FOMO do the rest. Make a reservation at Dirt Candy.

NYC Brunch restaurants

The Odeon
To call it “storied” is an understatement. So iconic of the ‘80s that it appeared on the book jacket of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, this downtown fixture exudes cool but it is a family-friendly neighborhood joint at heart. The expansive — and not too expensive — menu is one-size-fits-all. Great for solo dining, too. Make a reservation at The Odeon.

NYC Brunch Restaurants

Café Clover
Banquette-style dining, a table setting at the bar, the outdoor terrace — this is West Village charm defined. An emphasis on locally-sourced vegetables is a plus for those with healthy appetites … literally. Make a reservation at Cafe Clover.

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Make Mother’s Day Delicious: The 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America 2016 #OpenTable100

100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America 2016

In celebration of Mother’s Day, the most popular day to dine out for brunch, we’re excited to reveal the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

From restaurants serving traditional dishes and lavish buffets to those making fried chicken and waffles and plant-forward fare synonymous with brunch, the complete list features winning restaurants in 26 states and Washington, D.C., and includes Balthazar in New York, Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach. New York, arguably the birthplace of brunch as we have come to know and love it, comes out on top with 20 winning restaurants, followed by California with 16, Maryland with nine and Illinois with six. Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. boast five apiece, while North Carolina and Texas have four each. Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia all have three winners, and Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon have two each. Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington state are also represented.

American fare, which is closely associated with local farm-to-table ingredients, is extremely popular at the winning restaurants, as are French and seafood-driven menus. However, a variety of cuisines are present including dim sum, Creole, Hawaiian, Latin/Spanish, Low Country, Mexican, and vegetarian. Check out some of the tastiest brunch dishes from the winners in our slideshow below.

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Mother’s Day 2016 Restaurant Offers: Where to Brunch Like a Boss with Mom

Being a mother is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs in the world. So why not reward a mom in your life with a delicious meal on Mother’s Day? There are options to suit every appetite on OpenTable in a city near you, and we’re highlighting a few Mother’s Day 2016 restaurant offers here to give you a better idea of how eateries are rolling out the red carpet for mothers on Sunday, May 8.

Aureole, New York, New York
Choose from the a la carte menu or three refined courses for $49 from 11:45AM-2:15PM at Charlie Palmer’s Michelin-starred Manhattan eatery. Moms can take respite in the relaxing, luxurious setting of Aureole’s dining room and indulge in chef Marcus Gleadow-Ware’s brunch dishes like Lobster Benedict with beef tenderloin, Poached Egg and bearnaise sauce, a Soft Shell Crab BLT with pomme gaufrette, avocado, and sauce remoulade, and mainstays including Roasted Cod with braised fennel, spring beans, and an herb nage. Mothers will receive an individual-sized bottle of Banfi Rosa Regale Rosé to enjoy at home.

 Make a reservation at Aureole.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

Bedford & Co., New York, New York
Give mom the gift of bragging rights on Mother’s Day as you take her to chef John DeLucie’s just launched brunch at Bedford & Co. in the Big Apple. The menu features contemporary American cuisine infused with inspiration from DeLucie’s travels to Argentina. The wood-fired grill gives rise to dishes like Eggs in Purgatory and Rotisserie Chicken Salad, and there are also de rigueur dishes like Avocado Toast, Chicken and Waffles, and made-to-order cinnamon buns! Make a reservation at Bedford & Co.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

BOA Steakhouse, West Hollywood, California
Celebrate mom like the celeb she is at hot spot BOA from 11AM-2:30PM. For $60 per person, this lavish buffet includes a selection of BOA’s most beloved dishes, like Mini Goat Cheese Baklava, a raw seafood bar, egg station, a taco bar, and for the first time, a carving station featuring BOA’s signature 40-day dry-aged New York Strip Loin. There’s also a dessert table and special crepe station featuring Vanilla Crepes with Chantilly cream and choice of strawberry chocolate or banana caramel sauce. And mothers will leave with a special gift. Make a reservation at BOA Steakhouse.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

The Cecil, New York, New York
Kick things up a notch with live jazz and a big special on Mother’s Day at The Cecil. Jazz and soul singer Emily Braden performs, and chef JJ Johnson is serving a one-day only (available at brunch from 10AM-3:30PM and dinner from 5:30PM-9:30PM), large-format crispy whole duck for $160 that serves four people. Caramelized Kale Sprouts, Pickled Ramps, Housemade Yeast Rolls, and Pineapple Hot Sauce round out the feast. Make a reservation at The Cecil.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

Cook Hall, Dallas, Texas
At Cook Hall, many of the plates are shareable but you may not want to, as they’re so tasty. For Mother’s Day brunch from 11AM-3PM, the specials at this gastropub are delicious and affordable, with Brioche French Toast with sorghum smoked paprika, mixed berries confit, and southwestern spiced whipped cream for $15, Coffee Rubbed New York Strip Steak with a fried egg, country-style potato hash, and peppercorn sauce priced at $20, and the aptly named Mama’s Bread Pudding with Godiva chocolate and Grand Marnier crème anglaise for just $8. Make a reservation at Cook Hall.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

District, Oakland, California
From 11AM to 2:30PM, head over to District for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and a bottomless Mimosa for $35.00 ($22.00 for just the buffet). Children 10 and under can enjoy the buffet for $10.00. Menu highlights will include Buttermilk Pancakes with Banana Rum Syrup, Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Bourbon Vanilla Brown Sugar, Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy, and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel, and much, much more. Specialty cocktails will also be available. Make a reservation at District.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

Esterel at Sofitel Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California
The Mother’s Day Brunch for $59 per person at Esterel, available from 11AM-4:30PM, features carving and omelette stations, a selection of flatbreads, a cold display featuring a smoked salmon and bagel bar, and a tableside a la carte menu. For dessert, indulge in a chocolate foundation with handmade garnishes, French pastries, seasonal cobblers, and pies. Bonus: All mothers are welcomed with a complimentary glass of Champagne and will be treated to other gifts. Make a reservation at Esterel at Sofitel Beverly Hills.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails, Hallandale Beach, Florida
Pump up the volume on May 8th with stellar Atlantic Ocean views, a $45 brunch buffet with items like Blueberry Pancakes, Fried Chicken and Waffles, an omelette station, and more, plus beats by DJ YSL. Diners will also receive a complimentary mimosa or bellini. Make a reservation at Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, New York, New York
Noho foodie emporium IBAV has a something-for-every-eater three-course Mother’s Day brunch menu for $50. From 10AM-4PM, choose from fresh dishes including avocado toast,  Chia Pudding, Porchetta and Organic Eggs, Soft Shell Crab, and delicious dessert options, such as Warm Rhubarb Crostata and Champagne Granita. Make a reservation at Il Buco Alimentari.

Mother's Day 2016 Restaurant Offers

Kingside, New York, New York
Say cheese at Kingside’s Mother’s Day brunch buffet! Start grazing on charcuterie and artisanal cheeses, and move on to a cereal and granola station, cured fish and bagels, signature salads, made-to-order eggs and omelettes, raw bar offerings, and a pasta station, and then choose from a table of delicious desserts. It’s $59 for adults and $12 for children from 11AM-3:30AM. Make a reservation at Kingside.

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