Better than Breakfast
A listing of culinary hot-spots that prove brunch is truly the most important meal of the day
by Leigh Stuart

Brunch is a beautiful thing. This hero of a meal combines the delights of belly-filling breakfast staples such as eggs Benedict and hot-off-the-griddle flapjacks with a true culinary unicorn, the breakfast cocktail. The spots below are just a few of our favorite places to eat, drink and be merry—before noon, no less.

Golden Pheasant Inn
The prix fixe brunch menu at this off-the-beaten-path destination offers a selection of dishes such as omelets, eggs Florentine and French toast, and includes a glass of champagne, as well as soup or salad and a dessert. As an added bonus, the restaurant supports organic farming and responsible animal husbandry, as well as sustainable fishing and farming practices.

Good King Tavern
Philadelphia (Bella Vista)
The selection of delicacies at this hip and intimate Alsace/French restaurant and bar rotates often. Past favorites include dishes such as potato pancake with smoked salmon and crème fraiche, devilled eggs with tarragon and lobster, and pain perdu (the French version of French toast) with brown butter ice cream.

Green Eggs Café
Philadelphia (multiple locations)
This cash-only breakfast hotspot has three Philadelphia locations. Here, diners can enjoy classics such as red velvet pancakes—chocolate morsels and strawberry mascarpone layers topped with maple syrup, Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries—and the heart-stoppingly decadent chicken and waffles Benedict, served with maple syrup and hot sauce hollandaise.

Hattery Stove & Still
Located within the Doylestown Inn, the Hattery Stove & Still offers brunch classics, as well as salads, sandwiches and fresh-squeezed juices. If you’re up for it, get down and dirty with the “hot mess”—hash brown potatoes with cheddar, bacon, scallions, jalapeño pepper, onion, tomato and sour cream. Of course, don’t forget to accompany it with something appropriate from the bar.

Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn
Lambertville, N.J.
This restaurant utilizes products from a number of local farms as well as items from its own garden. Sure bets for brunch include the French toast combo—you can’t go wrong with the almond and brown sugar-crusted Texas toast—and the ultra-healthy grilled quinoa wrap, which ensconces a quinoa patty, lettuce, pico de gallo, roasted tomato salsa, jack and cheddar cheeses in a flour tortilla.

Philadelphia (Chestnut Hill)
This progressive and hip Chestnut Hill destination from Chip Roman serves modern American cuisine in a chic atmosphere. Innovative brunch dishes include wild ramp fettuccini with absinthe butter, Piave Vecchio cheese and fried egg, as well as the chef’s elevated take on the classic steak and eggs—beef short-rib with polenta and a sunny-side-up egg.

National Mechanics
Philadelphia (Old City)
At this avante garde pub and eatery, brunch options include traditional American staples such as omelets and pancakes, but the true stars are the cocktails. (Bloody Mary bar, anyone?) If you find yourself in need of a “hair of the dog” beverage to get you in the mood for brunch, try the “him-mosa”—a Blue Moon beer with a shot of Stoli O and a splash of orange juice.

Parc Restaurant, Bistro & Café
Philadelphia (Rittenhouse Square)
Sidewalk seating is reminiscent of the type one might expect to see occupying the chic streets of Paris, and dishes match this level of elegance. Indulge in a French-inspired classic such as crab galette with sauce gribiche (a cold sauce with an emulsified hard-boiled egg-yolk base), beef bourguignon or a croque madame, served with a rich Béchamel.

Plumsteadville Inn
One word: buffet. From eggs Benedict to waffles to sausage and bacon—even lunch items such as Asian chicken, salads and shrimp cocktail—“the Plum” has it all for the hungry brunch-goer. There are made-to-order omelet and waffle stations, as well as a carving station featuring the chef’s selection of top cuts for the weekend. The prix fixe feast also offers diners $3 mimosas and bloody Marys.

Roots Café
West Chester
Operating under the tagline “locally grown, homemade,” Roots Café in West Chester offers a host of creative takes on American classics. The gluten-free (and vegetarian) breakfast sandwich is stuffed with vegan scrapple, eggs, tomato and spinach on gluten-free bread, while the smoked-pork-belly and crap-and-asparagus “bennies,” each served with poached egg and hollandaise, are favorites among omnivores.

Sabrina’s Café
Philadelphia (multiple locations)| Wynnewood
The whimsical selection of brunch entrées at Sabrina’s varies week to week to reflect a different, lighthearted theme. One recent and glorious option reflecting a Pixar theme was the “Waternoose’s Extracted ‘Scream’ Cheese Special Stuffed French Toast”—candied nut and fresh fruit atop challah French toast stuffed with cream cheese and Nutella mascarpone. To boot, three of the four Sabrina’s locations are BYOB, so feel free to tote a bottle of champagne to mix with a carafe of OJ for breakfast mimosas.

Sprig & Vine
New Hope
Beloved by vegetarians throughout the region, the plant-based menu offers a host of meatless delicacies for brunch that even a meat eater would adore. A particularly popular dish is the “forbidden breakfast burrito,” which features a blend of scrambled tofu, avocado, forbidden black rice, scallion, baby spinach, pickled carrot dressed with sesame-Sriracha aioli. The marinated Castelvetrano olives, amped up with aged black garlic and a glorious spice blend, are a winner anytime.

This upscale eatery offers patrons a variety of dining options throughout the restaurant, on the veranda, in the bistro bar, even at the chef’s bar. Brunch highlights include waffles, five cheese lobster macaroni, and the “Peaches & Cheese” salad featuring Jersey peaches, wild arugula, Shellbark Hollow goat cheese and champagne vinaigrette. Also, don’t discount the value of Paramour’s make-your-own bloody Mary bar, featuring housemade heirloom tomato juice mix.

White Dog Café
Haverford | Philadelphia (University City)| Wayne
With three locations in the Greater Philadelphia Area, White Dog Café serves food you can feel good about—sustainably harvested and locally sourced in-season ingredients in a host of sweet and savory dishes presented with simple yet sophisticated refinement. Try an omelet made with cage-free eggs or dive into the fresh produce with a garden salad—shaved radish, carrot, heirloom grape tomatoes and mixed greens dressed with balsamic vinaigrette—that is anything but simple.