Late night diner runs in college, after an evening of debauchery, meant plates of pancakes, eggs, cheeseburgers, and fries. And coffee. Oh—and maybe more beer.

As grown-ups, brunch spots are where this mash up happens. It’s one of the few times you can order either shrimp ‘n grits or a plate of crispy waffles without anyone batting an eye. You can drink wine and Bloody Mary’s and champagne cocktails without a care before noon. It’s meant to be fun and relaxed! And while brunch can be fancy, prim and proper; it can also be sloppy, greasy and fabulous.

If you brunch in the ‘burbs, it typically it means you’re stuffing your belly mid-morning. Like at 10 or 11 a.m. — a logical “breakfast meets lunch” time frame.

I’ve learned, however, that “brunch” in the city means something entirely different. Show up before 2 p.m., and you’ll likely have the place to yourself! It really should be brinner or dunch, but I suppose those don’t have quite the same ring… So, brunch at 2 p.m. it is, when you’re visiting DC or NYC.

(Really, I could do brunch any time of day and be completely satisfied. #truestory)

For this drool-worthy round-up, I tapped on a couple of my foodie friends (Olga Berman of Mango & Tomato and Tara Butler of Lace & Grace) for their input on brunch spots in DC and Maryland, alongside my fellow Pursue-ists Amanda, Jen, and Sue.

Brunch, anyone?

1. Papermoon Diner

Papermoon Diner has a fun, crazy atmosphere! There’s so much to see and experience while dining. Great food—the milkshakes are terrific! -Sue, Pursuit of it All

Yummy Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Papermoon Diner
Papermoon Diner in Baltimore, Maryland; Photo by Matt.Herzog via Flickr

2. Vintage

Vintage offers fresh local food that isn’t over the top, in a great atmosphere. Everything being served looks delicious (it’s hard not to peek as the servers walk by)! -Sue, Pursuit of it All

Yummy Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Vintage
Vintage in New Market, Maryland; Photos by Sue

The. Best. Coffee. Ever! (Vintage makes it fresh-pressed, and right on your table.) Get the Open Faced Egg BLT or Smoked Salmon Sandwich. I can’t wait to try the S’mores French Toast and the Brunch BBQ Piggy Sandwich! The whole building and its décor are breathtaking; the perfect place for a long overdue girls’ brunch. Get there early to grab the best seat in the house, next to the large stone fireplace on a chilly morning. –Tara, Lace & Grace

Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Vintage in New Market, MD
Vintage in New Market, Maryland; Photo by Tara Butler

3. Miss Shirley’s Cafe

Go to Miss Shirley’s for the chicken and waffles—there are no words. -Amanda, Pursuit of it All

Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Miss Shirley's
Miss Shirley’s Cafe in Baltimore, Maryland; Photo by Amanda

4. The Wine Kitchen

When you go to the Wine Kitchen, try the Fried Green Tomato Benedict (or the Fried Green Tomatoes à la carte), Shrimp ‘n Grits, and Sausage Gravy Fries! (There’s a pick three deal for $26!) Plus, of course, delicious flights of wine. Tip: Grab a seat outside for a view of Carroll Creek. -Tara, Lace & Grace

Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: The Wine Kitchen Frederick
the Wine Kitchen in Frederick, Maryland; Photo by Liza

5. Duke’s Grocery

Many people are writing “the best of” lists,” which I wasn’t planning on doing until I had brunch at Duke’s Grocery and discovered THE BEST BURGER I’ve had in a very long time!! -Olga, Mango & Tomato

Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Duke's Grocery
Duke’s Grocery in Washington, DC; Photo by Olga Berman

6. Old South Mountain Inn

Nestled at the top of South Mountain between Boonsboro and Middletown is a gorgeous place to go for a fancier brunch: Old South Mountain Inn. My family would always meet mid-way after church and indulge in their delicious brunch buffet, which includes everything from homemade crepes to a carving station. Make sure you ask to sit in the beautiful sunroom and order some champagne! -Tara, Lace & Grace

7. Cafe Nola

Cafe Nola is a budget friendly, unique and hip spot for a break from shopping. Best lattes in town + latte foam art! (Try the Ninja Turtle Latte or the Salted Caramel Mocha!) To eat, try the Morning Glory Wrap (scrambled eggs, manchego cheese, red onion, tomato, stone ground Dijon aioli), Quiche of the Day or Bella Benedict (with a side of sweet potatoes fries of course)! If you are feeling dangerous try one of their delicious infused vodka cocktails. -Tara, Lace & Grace

Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Cafe Nola in Frederick, MD
Cafe Nola in Frederick, Maryland; Photo by KimManleyOrt via Flickr

8. Founding Farmers

LOVE the chicken and waffles at Founding Farmers. Their cocktails are amazing, and the mixologists are really good at what they do. -Sue, Pursuit of it All

Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Founding Farmers
Founding Farmers in Rockville, MD; Photo by Sue

Founding Farmers is a must visit brunch spot in Washington, DC, featuring farm-to-table foods of the both healthy and extravagant kind. Their farmhouse waffles and stuffed French toast (maple cinnamon syrup!) are to die for, as is anything featuring their farm fresh eggs. A big treat is the ability for a bacon upgrade. Yes, BACON UPGRADE. Flavors include black pepper maple, Texas barbecue sauce, hot sauce and sweet-and-sour. For a treat, try the Pimms cup or Mimosa. Mmmm… -Jen, Pursuit of it All

9. Beans in the Belfry

Beans in the Belfry is an adorable unique coffee shop in an old 100+ year old church. They have an awesome Sunday Jazz Brunch with delicious coffee. I love their Tuscan & Turkey Paninis + pastries! -Tara, Lace & Grace

Brunch Spots in DC and Maryland: Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick, MD
Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick, Maryland; Photo by Katie Yaeger Rotramel via Flickr

10. JoJo’s Restaurant & Taphouse

I’m obsessed with the Cajun Eggs Benedict and Pork Belly Tacos at JoJo’s. Try a whiskey cocktail with a slice of maple glazed bacon! -Tara, Lace & Grace

11. Family Meal

Sure, I enjoy hitting up Family Meal for happy hour now and again. But, their breakfast is killer, too! And? It’s served ALL DAY LONG. Biscuits with sausage gravy… Yum! -Liza, Pursuit of it All

 

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