Best Breakfast & Brunch Around Union Market District DC

Best Breakfast & Brunch Around Union Market District DC

Buffalo & Bergen’s Bloody Mary is topped with a whole mini bagel. Photo courtesy of Rey Lopez.

Inside the Union market
1309 Fifth Street NE

The team’s weekend Italian bakery behind neighboring pizzeria Stellina specializes in bite-sized bombolonis – airy doughnuts filled with ricotta – and elegant cigar-sized cannoli. Hit nearby Peregrine for a cappuccino and you have breakfast.
Opens at: 10 a.m. Friday to Sunday.

Union Market’s main full-service restaurant offers a limited list of weekend-only brunch items, including cornflake-crusted French toast, homemade granola with yogurt, and steak and eggs Benedict. There is an optional $25 bottomless mimosa pairing.
Opens at: 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Buffalo and Bergen
Cocktail pro Gina Chersevani’s retro bagel and soda bar is always crowded on weekend mornings and also does a huge takeout business. I go for the creative breakfast sandwiches all day, especially the Rude Girl (bacon and jalapeño cream cheese) or a pastrami-egg-cheese. To drink, there are egg custards, a slew of homemade sodas and a now-famous Bloody Mary topped with a bagel and smoked salmon.
Opens at: 8 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

district donut
One of the first options in the market is this fancy donut stall. The menu changes according to the season. Right now, the cherry-filled, cream cheese-glazed donuts and the cookie-and-cream donuts are my favorites, but the glazed, creme brulee donuts are good bets all year round. And it makes a nice cinnamon bun.
Opens at: 8 a.m. daily.

At Harvey’s
Make breakfast at home? This terrific butcher is your go-to spot for bacon, country ham, and breakfast sausages. The counter also serves meat sandwiches like roast beef with cheddar, tomato and tangy horseradish.
Opens at: 8 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. Monday.

Lucky Buns breakfast burrito. Photo courtesy of Lucky Buns.

lucky buns
On weekends, Alex McCoy’s burger/fried-chicken-sandwich joint opens early to serve a giant breakfast burrito. It is stuffed with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, cheddar cheese, queso, peppers and onions, salsa and a choice of carne asada, grilled Thai sausage, bacon, fried chicken or of an Impossible cake.
Opens at: 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Neopol Smokehouse
If you’re a gravlax fan, head to this Baltimore/DC smoked fish stand and get some to go. You can get the brandy smoked salmon by the half pound, as well as thicker slices of smoked salmon and whitefish salad (the smoked egg salad is also a winner).
Opens at: 11 a.m. every day.

On toast
There are several slices of toast decorated here – with chorizo, eggs and pickled onions, for example, or roasted mushrooms with goat cheese. The avocado toast might not be the most exciting option, but it’s the best, and topped with feta, zataar, and a poached egg.
Opens at: 8:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Peregrine Espresso
Get your fix of flat white or cappuccino at this espresso bar, which also offers a few pastries and cookies.
Opens at: 8 a.m. daily.

This Southern comfort food spot doesn’t technically offer breakfast, but I’d be happy to start the day late with their shrimp and bread oatmeal or extra-alcoholic bread pudding.
Opens at: 11 a.m. every day.

Ravenhook Bakehouse
Farmer’s Market Bread Makers moved to Union Market last summer. While take-out breads are the main offering (cheddar-jalapeno makes great grilled cheese), they also serve muffins, scones, and filled mini buns.
Opens at: 10 a.m. daily.

south block
The local mini-chain serves up the most virtuous options here: spun acai bowls with nut milks, kale-enriched breakfast bowls, cold-pressed juices and a myriad of smoothies.
Opens at: 9 a.m. daily.

Inside La Cosecha
1280 Fourth St., NE

Unido Cafe serves specialty coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Cafe Unido
Coffee obsessives should head to the DC spin-off of this Panamanian coffee roaster, which offers sweetened espresso drinks with house-made syrups, as well as rarer finds like premium 10 cups of aromatic geisha coffee. $.
Opens at: 8 a.m. daily.

The Casita
Hot plies of cheese masa and chicharrons for breakfast sound pretty good, but this pupuseria also serves up all-day breakfast items like egg-filled tacos and combo plates with eggs, fried plantains, refried beans and baguette.
Opens at: 10 a.m. daily.

A glazed donut from Donisima. Photo courtesy of Donisima.

The whimsical rounds of this donut cart with Colombian roots feature fillings like guava jelly and cream cheese, chocolate hazelnut praline, or tequila glaze and lime curd. These aren’t the feather-light Krispy Kremes: they’re made from a sturdy brioche dough that stands up to accessories. Pre-order them at tack.
Opens at: 9 a.m. from Tuesday to Sunday.

Tacos al pastor at Las Gemelas, in the La Cosecha food hall. Photograph by Leah Judson.

Las Gemelas
This sibling to Shaw’s Espita Mezcaleria is known for its blue corn tortillas carefully topped with hearty meats, moles and house salsas. There’s no shame in starting the day with a chorizo ​​quesadilla or a taco al pastor, but there are also potato and egg tacos and churros during the day.
Opens at: 11 a.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Venezuelan arepas – grilled corn cakes filled with roast pork and queso fresco, or black beans, plantains and avocado – are the centerpiece of the menu here. The sister spot Arepa Zone was once located inside the Union Market.
Opens at: 9 a.m. daily.

Peruvian brothers
The popular brick-and-mortar food truck begins serving its early morning sandwiches, roast chicken, and empanadas. Also on the menu: picarones, Peruvian-style sweet potato fritters with honey.
Opens at: 10 a.m. daily.

In the Union Market area:

blue bottle
1250 Fourth Street, NE
The region’s first lift is this Oakland-born cafe, known for its cold brews, espresso drinks and avocado toast.
Opens at: 6 a.m. Monday to Friday; 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

bread aisle
1250 Fifth St., NE (Along Morse St., between Fourth and Fifth Streets.)
Do you love the Diplomat’s crispy cranberry baguettes and balls? Head to this little bakery, hidden down an alley near sister restaurant St. Anselm, for breads to take away, as well as delicious croissants and pain au chocolat.
Opens at: 9 a.m. daily.

Pluma croissants.  Photograph by Scott Suchman.Pluma croissants.  Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Pluma croissants. Photograph by Scott Suchman

391 Morse Street, NE
Longtime pastry chefs Camila Arango and Tom Wellings’ sunny, beautifully tiled bakery serves up some of DC’s best breakfast pastries, as well as loaves of bread, breakfast sandwiches, and savory toast. My favourite: the chocolate-pistachio croissant.
Opens at: 7:00 a.m. Tuesday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

St Anselm makes a fried chicken sandwich for brunch. Photograph by Karlin Villondo, courtesy of St. Anselm

Saint Anselm
1250 Fifth Street NE
Head to this tavern-like steakhouse for Bloody Marys, buttermilk biscuits, and steaks and eggs with béarnaise. Dinner menu hits like the salmon neck and huge ax-handle rib eye are also available. Big plus if you have young children: the line-up of the stands.
Opens at: 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

399 Morse Street, NE
Brunch on the terrace of this pizzeria offers buckets of Lambrusco and coffee-soaked French toast, as well as morning versions of their excellent pies. It’s hard to say no to pizza (or pasta) Carbonara.
Opens at: 11 a.m. every day (brunch on Saturday and Sunday only).

Anne LimpertAnne Limpert

Editor/Food Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian end of 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Weekly entertainment and cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.