Weekends are a great time for trying new things. Like learning to ride an electric Citi Bike, making dumplings, or forming a flash mob, taking dance lessons together, and going to the World Trade Center at night to recreate that scene from The Wiz. Those all sound fun, but if you’re looking for something a little easier, you could go eat brunch somewhere on this list. All of the places on this guide recently opened or just started serving brunch, so if you like doing new things involving eggs or pancakes, this is where to start.
Leland Eating & Drinking House sits on a quiet corner in Prospect Heights serving weekend brunch dishes found all across the Eastern Hemisphere. From a crispy squid sandwich and babka french toast to pork sisig and a grilled pesto flatbread, this is the kind of place you should come with a group when you can’t decide on one cuisine. They’ve got a sidewalk patio and a few painted shacks they call “cozy cabins” out front, plus a wood-covered dining room inside that’s walk-in-only during brunch.
Yellow Rose is great at any hour, but starting your morning here is like greeting your weekend with a heartfelt blessing. Before you receive your orange tray of excellent breakfast tacos at this East Village Texan spot, you’ll hear Willie Nelson playing through the speakers and spot a poster of Dolly Parton glamorously overseeing business from above. In addition to options like smoked bacon and egg, bean and cheese, or carne guisada tacos on fresh flour tortillas, Yellow Rose serves a rotating menu of glazed and sugar-covered doughnuts for breakfast on weekends, all of which rank among the best we’ve eaten as of late.
You can think of Ursula as the most popular kid in the NYC brunch class right now. You’ll probably have to wait in line to order a breakfast burrito here, but once you make it inside this tiny counter-service place in Crown Heights, you’ll be greeted with Brooklyn’s best breakfast burrito. Ursula offers meat options with chorizo or bacon, as well as vegan and vegetarian burritos in the morning - all of which come with either red or green New Mexican chiles. The sidewalk seating here is first come, first served, but eating your burrito while it’s hot and fresh on the patio breezy here is an experience worth loitering for. If you can’t make it until the afternoon (they stop serving burritos at 12pm), pick up a stuffed sopapilla with pork or beef, and no matter what, add a side of chile sauce.
The brunch date is something that should happen more often. It can be a quick meal with eggs and coffee if you’re not sure how things will go, or a big feast if you’re already planning to co-parent a dog with this person in the future. For the latter, head to Kimika in Nolita for Italian-Japanese dishes on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Expect options like a pastry bento box, matcha mochi French toast, and a breakfast calzone stuffed with scrambled eggs and mozzarella.
Xilonen is a vegan restaurant that isn’t afraid to let vegetables be the stars of every bite. Their daily brunch menu has a few vegetable-free options like a plate of excellent masa pancakes and some cinnamon churros. But most of your meal at this Greenpoint spot from the team behind Oxomoco will involve stunning vegetables in places you don’t expect. From a crispy heirloom corn tostada topped with tender carrots to creamy guacamole that involves crunchy winter greens and pickled serrano peppers, the food at this Mexican spot will make you want to hug the nearest farmer in sight.
Pig & Butter
Sometimes, all you want on a weekend morning is a plate of waffles and a three-hour nap. That’s where Pig & Butter on the LES comes in. This Black-owned spot offers dishes like a waffle topped with bacon and bananas, fried chicken on cornbread, and a goat cheese omelet with Colombian aji. Plus, this breakfast place on Ludlow Street does weekday brunch service, so come here when you want to pretend like it’s noon on Saturday when it’s actually 10am on Wednesday.
Guevara’s, a vegan cafe and specialty foods store from the people behind Mekelburg’s, is where you’ll find some of the best plant-based brunch food in the city. The excellent Cuban torta comes stacked high with avocado, red cabbage, tomato, jalapeno, and a crunchy slab of eggplant milanese. You’ll also find things like plant-based lox bagels, picadillo empanadas, and ceviche tostadas on the menu, and nothing costs more than $10. We recommend hanging out all morning on their pleasant patio, but if you’d rather take your brunch to-go, you can always pick up things like chocolate babka and environmentally-conscious laundry detergent inside this plant-covered restaurant and market.
Chama Mama’s recently-opened Upper West Side location offers an excellent menu of brunch dishes all weekend long. And much like the Chelsea original, an ideal scenario here involves a bunch of people sharing dishes like mushroom-stuffed khinkali, shakshuka, adjaruli khachapuri, and Georgian-style French toast.
Dacha 46 runs a weekend-only brunch series called “Banya Brunch” out of the former space of Meme’s Diner, which is now home to a project called Kit that provides limited-run dining concepts with a shared kitchen space. This East European pop-up is serving a rotating menu of dishes like breakfast piroshki, pork-stuffed pelmeni, and a sweet dough pastry with cheese and sour cherries in the middle. It’s takeout-only, but you can always pick up your food and head over to Prospect Park for a brunch picnic. We recommend placing your order online ahead of time, but they’ll also hold a limited amount of dishes every weekend for walk-ups.