I’m from the South, where we take breakfast seriously. Biscuits and sausage gravy, salty cheddar grits, and blueberry pancakes were my childhood staples, even on school days. So when I transitioned to a vegan diet in college, maintaining my high breakfast standards was a must. Here, some DC spots that excel with plant-based brunch.
1370 Park Rd NW
Who says brunch needs to be an extravagant—and expensive—affair? If you’re looking for sweet treats and a quick bite, check out this vegan bakery from two-time Cupcake Wars champion Doron Petersan. Her pastry case is stocked with a rotating array of confections, including sticky buns, muffins, and, on some days, doughnuts (Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday only). The cafe’s weekend brunch options include challah French toast, biscuits and gravy, and pancakes—all of which are served with tofu scramble and roasted potatoes.
2928 Georgia Ave NW; 8150 Baltimore Ave, College Park
NuVegan serves plant-based soul food all week in its Park View and College Park locations. In addition to the cafe’s regular lunch menu—a personal favorite—Sunday brunch includes vegan omelets, pancakes, and waffles with a choice of hearty sides like vegan sausage, cinnamon apples, and cheesy grits. And for dessert, cinnamon rolls.
406 H St., NE
Before I moved to DC, I made a pilgrimage to Fare Well, DC’s first vegan diner (also run by Doron Petersan). There were battered challah French-toast sticks slathered in cinnamon butter and cream-cheese frosting; a savory tofu Benedict Florentine with fennel/seitan sausage; and an ethereal cherry cheese Danish, my first in four years of veganism. From then on, I have occasionally texted my brunch companion wistful photos of the food we ate there: “Hey, remember that Fare Well brunch?”
Call Your Mother
3301 Georgia Ave., NW
This 100 Very Best Restaurants-approved deli is known for drawing lines out the door. For something savory, try the Mila Za’atar bagel sandwich with hummus, seasonal veggies, and spicy sunflower seeds. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try the André, which is like a PB&J with granola. Note that CYM’s bagels contain honey, which some vegans avoid. For those staying away from honey, check out the Jew-ish tacos, but order them with Impossible meat and no cheese. Pro tip: If you can’t make it to their Park View brick and mortar, Call Your Mother also sells bagels and select toppings at various farmers markets around the DMV every weekend.
818 Connecticut Ave., NW
Equinox’s weekly brunch buffet is a “treat yourself” kind of place—both in quality and quantity. The Just Egg scramble puts most tofu scrambles to shame, and the walnut French toast affirmed my decision to move here (there’s something about vegan French toast, man). At $35 a plate, it’s on the more expensive side, but it is all-you-can-eat. Plus, it’s a block from the White House, and thus a good starting place for day of sight-seeing and museum-hopping.
207 Grace St., NW; 615 I St., NW
For a less traditional approach to brunch, head to these sister taquerias. All of the vegetarian tacos can be made vegan upon request (with the exception of the creamy kale-and-potato). Also check out their weekend-long happy hour, which includes a pickle plate of brined cauliflower, beets, and jalapeño.
Busboys and Poets
Multiple area locations
The next best thing to an all-vegan brunch restaurant is one that clearly labels their dietary options. While Busboys’ breakfast menu is more suited to vegetarians, the lunch menu features a bounty of vegan takes on classic sandwiches, soups, and burgers (you can pair them with a discounted brunch cocktail). Check out the Busboys and Poets events calendar for the weekly schedule of Rise + Rhyme, a storytelling and performance series for children ages 5 and under.