Anyone who's ever hit a diner after hours or found joy in McDonald's "Hotcakes at whenever o'clock" knows that all-day breakfast menus are nothing new. But if you're looking for something more wholesome, a new crop of restaurants with serious chefs in the kitchen is at your service. And they're serving up more than just better breakfast all day, every day.
Where weekday breakfasts out used to mean greasy spoons, now you can easily sit down to malted pancakes with hazelnut maple syrup (get the recipe) or an egg and sausage sandwich with gochujang aioli, both of which you'll find at buzzy NYC restaurant Sunday in Brooklyn.
Chefs like Sunday's Jaime Young, who was chef de cuisine at Michelin-starred Atera, are bringing their A game to breakfast, and it doesn't devalue their dinner service either. Good food has become an expectation every hour of the day, and these chefs are rising to the occasion.
At recently opened Kismet in L.A., that means Middle East-inspired dishes like sesame walnut granola, za'atar squash tarts and a Turkish-ish Breakfast that pulls out all the stops. At NYC's De Maria, chef Camille Becerra's latest venture, it means the best banana bread we've tried in recent memory and any of the eccentric, fresh dishes Becerra is known for, like the sprouted grain bowl with seaweed, cured fish and fermented vegetables.
Beyond the excellent food, these restaurants are also putting their communities first and catering to a noticeable shift in customer, be it the growing number of freelancers across the country, fellow chefs who want to eat well off-hours or simply the nine-to-fivers who have come to expect endless options at any hour. And they're doing so in style.
"We wanted to be a place that the neighborhood could rely on any time of day, any day of the week," Kismet chef/partner Sara Kramer says. "We want it to feel like a casual neighborhood vibe."
The Sunday in Brooklyn team echoes Kramer here. "It's about connecting with the community," they say, which is evident in the pride they take in being a casual neighborhood spot, despite all the buzz.
"You have to be warm and inviting," Dan Salls and Paul Biasco say. They're the owners of just-opened Quiote in Chicago, which they say "has multiple personalities" and "wears many hats." You could spend all day there, starting off early at 7 a.m. with a sugar-topped concha and stay long enough to enjoy the hideaway mescal bar downstairs.
Grace Lee, creative director at De Maria, contrasts the "fast, quick and preservative" nature of an old-school diner with the "principals, style and quality" of today's all-day spots, where design also plays an important role. Lee's goal at De Maria is to "provide an experience for guests from the early morning sun to the blues of the night."
Appropriately, the sign outside De Maria's reads Bless Your Soul. It's a prophecy that becomes realized the moment you step into the airy space—no matter what time of day it is.
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