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Breakfast Lover in Queens

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I am soon to relocate to Queens from Chicago where weekend brunch is king! On my visits to Queens I have not found the sort of breakfast outings I have come to know as a birthright in Chicago. I will be living in Sunnyside, so can anyone direct me to the sort of place that would match some of my favorite Chicago locales (for those of you familiar with the great Chicago brunch locales, that would be Bongo Room, Orange, Toast, Flying Saucer, Bite among others). I have sworn up and down to my British boyfriend that he has not eaten real pancakes until he's had it at such a place, but now that he'll be visiting me in Queens, I don't want to eat my words!

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    Monkey Man Jake

    Ah... Chicago breakfast. I *wish* New York was as good for breakfast as Chicago is. I miss even the downscale places. And who can forget Lou Mitchell's?! Well, I happen to live in Sunnyside, and the good news is that Sunnyside and Woodside are pretty damn good when it comes to brekky. The Irish breakfast is king here in the nabe. Check out Rose Restaurant on 44th and Queens Blvd. And for a decent Irish brek as well as great donuts, check out Alpha Donuts. Don't let the decor fool you.

    For bruch, check out La Flor, though I understand it may have gone downhill recently. For baked goods, it's La Marjolaine on 51st and Skillman.

    Anyone know Bliss for their brunch? I don't. I've heard mixed things. Anyone?

    1. Having moved to Queens after living in Chicago for a few years, there really is no breakfast place that compares with the places you've mentioned.

      La Flor is great, although not at all similar to a Chicago style breakfast. Other than that one outpost, most of the neighborhoods I've explored along the 7 don't have much in the way of pancakey breakfasts.

      You might try 9th St. Market in the East Village for pancakes. When blueberries were in season, they had fantastic blueberry pancakes. Still no Chicago spread, but fantastic nonetheless.

      Alternatively, there are great pastry shops in Jackson Heights you could try. No pancakes. Just lots of sugar for your morning jolt.

      1. Although it can be a bit loud and crowded during breakfast hour, NY Style Eats on Queens Blvd has good breakfast. Their California Benedict is deelish. Also, I like Stop Inn on 61st and Roosevelt Ave in Woodside. Yummy hashbrowns-shredded style.

        1. "Quaint" on Skillman Ave. btwn. 46th & 47th has a brunch. I have not tried, but have been there for dinner and it was really good. I haven't even seen the brunch menu up outside, but the owner said it is sunday 12-3. their garden looks nice.

          1. Plenty of fashionable brunch places in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Queens is a bit more... utilitarian when it comes to breakfast. Still, there's lots of good breakfast to be had here. As a poster above noted, most local pubs and several coffee shops make a serious Irish breakfast/brunch, which are often really quite good, if a little meat heavy. I second the recommendation for Stop Inn which is very near me. Plain Irish style diner under the 7 train with fine Irish (and good ol' American) breakfast items.

            There are also some pretty damn good Mexican breakfasts to be had everywhere from Sunnyside out to Corona. One place that gets frequent mention on these bords is the cute little El Jarro Cafe on 48th Ave. & 45th St. right there in Sunnyside.

            All the coffee shop places like Rose or Stop Inn serve pancakes, but the ethnic mix in these neighborhoods doesn't really tend towards pancake eaters (unless you're talking yummy Korean scallion pancakes). Nor is it fashionable enough around here (yet) to have a big brunch scene. For that you'll have to go to the East or West Village or Smith St. in Brooklyn.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Woodside Al

              i love el jarro. i've yet to try their breakfast--actucally, i don't think i realized they had breakfast...what's good?

            2. I forgot to mention La Flor. They have good vanilla flavored french toast (or was it waffles). Also a nice vegetable frittata and huevos rancheros. Still hoping they "warm up" the space, although if you go during daylight hours it's not really an issue. And clean/renovate the bathroom. I avoid it at all costs.

              1. 1) I live in Sunnyside
                2) I *reallly* miss Lou Mitchell's and Walker Bros.
                3) You will *never* have as good breakfast in NYC as in Chicago. Just deal with it.

                However, Rose is okay. And New York Eats is also a mild thumbs up.

                In Manhattan - check out Barney Greengrass for a real "appetizing" breakfast - lox, etc. It's terrific. It's the kind of thing you can't get as good in Chi.
                Also in Manhattan - Chat and Chew - solid breakfast.

                But, if you're willing to drive a mite... how about Dim Sum in Flushing or Elmurst? Quaint is all right, too, in the Gardens (that is, Sunnyside Gardens a beautiful historic nabe).

                1. FYI: AFAIK, Bliss no longer serves Brunch.

                  Oh, and also, try a nice Crumb Bun at La Marjolaine at 51st and Skillman. And across the street, you get good irish breakfast (actually a staple of our nabe) at the Kettle (formerly the Copper Kettle). The Coffee at Aubergine Cafe is really quite good. They use Irving Farm coffee, which is a real rarity.

                  Again, it's not Lou's Puro-filtered joy-juice...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Monkey Man Jake

                    Didn't realize Bliss was no longer serving brunch. That's not a good sign. I fear the blackout was the nail in the coffin for them.

                    1. re: wallywalnuts

                      They'd stopped long before the blackout.

                      1. re: Monkey Man Jake

                        wow, didn't realize. only tried their brunch once, when they first opened. anyone know if their outdoor seating area is open?

                  2. Ok, as an east coaster I'll bite. What makes Chicago breakfast so superior? Does it go beyond eggs, pancakes, and french toast? How good can breakfast be anyway?

                    I like the Neptune Diner is Astoria, btw. Probably far from sunnyside.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                      It's ineffable, what Chicago breakfasts do. The butter's better, the coffee's better, it's more relaxed, the german-apple-pancakes are common, and the toast is really thick. Lou Mitchells (a bit of a tourist trap, but it's mete and just that it is so popular) is the superlative diner breakfast - bottomless, fullbodied but not overdone coffee, skillet eggs fried in high quality butter, New-York-Style greek sausages. Yeah,

                      Neptune's a good choice, actually... but still... it misses something.

                      Another good thing is that tobasco on all tables is the rule, not the exception. A) You don't have to ask for it; B) you don't dread the moment when they bring Durkee or House Recipe or some other too-sweet concoction.

                      I miss the Valois in Hyde Park, but I'm getting way off topic...

                    2. El Jarro, Indeed!

                      I had breakfast there Sunday morning...it was lovely. The breakfast selection is small (4 or 5 choices), but so is the bill (true of all meals at El Jarro, but especially true at breakfast).

                      Rice, beans, eggs with chorizo, 6 tortillas ($5 including the extra tortillas), coffee and a hot chocolate (some of the best ever...made with fantastic cinnamon) for $8.

                      $8!! And I ate too much. And it was tasty, although the eggs could have used a bit more salt...until I used the green hot sauce over the whole plate. Then it was perfect.

                      Which is something I've noticed about many of their dishes. A little under salted, unless you add some hot suace.

                      Big vote for El Jarro...breakfast and otherwise.

                      1. I'm in Jackson Heights but the family homeland is the Midwest. it's not just Chicago - it's the farm-style breakfasts. One of the things I find so frustrating here in New York is the dry pancakes. It's rare to find moist pancakes- I don't know if it's the mix or how they mix it. That said, I do like to get the chocolate chip pancakes at Jahn's on 37th Ave between 81st and 82nd Streets from time to time. They are nice and moist and extremely satisfying. They also have pecan and I think banana.

                        Actually, I think the most memorable pancakes I've had were some potato pancakes (but much more like pancakes with potato in them, as well as parsley) in the Door Peninsula near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: JH Jill

                          Well... pancakes I make myself. The buttermilk recipe in Cooks Illustrated is just terrific.

                          1. re: Monkey Man Jake

                            If you guys ever in Catskills vicinity, check out Sweet Sue's in Phoenicia. They have around 22 kinds of rich moist buttermilk pancakes. mmmm... Not in NYC, but still within 2 hr drive as opposed to going all the way to Chicago.

                            1. re: welle

                              If you're going to go that far, then you should try the pancakes at Maggie's Crooked Cafe in Tannersville instead. Sweet Sue's is all about the quantity; Maggie's is about the quality, imho.

                              1. re: el jefe

                                Sounds good - I will try them next time. I'm actually glad that there are no similar pancakes in Queens or I'll be huge!

                        2. The Cup has a a very reasonably priced brunch that is hearty and well prepared. Try the Eggs Benedict Cordon Bleu and their hash is great. Bowl sized cups of coffee too and flat screens with muted ESPN on all the time if your looking for that. Unfortunately, the short lived Angies is no longer in business, that place was a gem.

                          5 Replies
                            1. re: ceeceee

                              I think it's a diner next to the Kaufman Studios in Astoria.

                            2. re: hammerinhank

                              was angie's off roosevelt avenue? in the 50s?

                              1. re: wallywalnuts

                                yes, i think it was, used to be mary willie's back in the day. i never got a chance to go to angie's.
                                still awaiting word on "the cup".

                                1. re: ceeceee

                                  here ya go Ceecee--

                                  Cup Diner and Bar
                                  35-01 36th St
                                  Astoria, NY 11106
                                  178 937 2322

                                  Yeah, Angies was just off Roosevelt and on 52nd, I think.

                            3. Yeah, cup ain't bad. It really isn't. They were much better when they first opened, which is kind of why I'm down on cup of late, but they're really okay.

                              If you're willing to open the search to Astoria, then that's a different plate of fish altogether. You have the Neptune Diner. In Elmhurst, you have the Georgia Peach, both adequate.

                              Also in Astoria, I've grown very fond of Cafe Bar's "Mediterranian Breakfast" which is scrambled eggs with all manner of Med Veg - your choice of scallions and olives or onions and tomatoes, but the cook seems to want to throw in some extras, like asparagus, leeks, whatever he's got around. It's served with their tahini dip and a thick yogurt tzaziki. With toasted pita it's a real treat.

                              1. Ok, I am actually the OP, now posting under a new name. I'm surprised my post from 10 months ago got so many recent responses. So, here's my update...

                                I have become a regular weekend bruncher at The Rose as I do appreciate an authentic well-made Irish breakfast, and Sunnyside is the place for it. The Irish Breakfast at The Rose is better than others I've had in Manhattan, so if you're a local, be proud!

                                I did go to the Copper Kettle once and had eggs florentine, not really their specialty I guess. You could tell they used frozen spinach - not good. But, I do plan to go back and try something else. I like the family atmosphere of both places and if my parents were still around I'd definitely take them to either The Rose or The Copper Kettle.

                                The Coffee Shop at 40th & QB - can't remember if this is the exact name, but it has a blue awning and says "Mexican Restaurant", but also says they serve Irish breakfast. Hmmm...went in one morning and ordered blueberry pancakes. Never saw anything so atrocious in my life. I was served plain dry pancakes with a gian load of canned blueberry pie filling on top. On top of that the waitress was biotchy. This is the one time in my life I have actually COMPLAINED about a dish, and I don't mean "um, it's a bit undercooked, would you mind cooking it a bit more" type of complaint, I mean I really felt compelled to tell the waitress that canned blueberry pie filling was inappropriate. She was more than irritated. I got plain pancakes instead. Awful. Ate about half and never went back.

                                Yesterday I went into The Cup and was very pleasently surprised. A little gimmicky, but still cool. I'd never ventured in before because I have learned to fear "diners" in NY- the quality is always so poor. But, I had an excellent eggs florentine here and thought the home fries were fantastic. The coffee was a bit weak, but tolerable. Don't think they need to serve in such huge cups, though, the coffee just gets cold too fast. I'd be curious to hear what people think of the dinner items at this place. I'll definitely be going back.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: lindoca

                                  Terese's Polish restaurant in the East Village has a really good breakfast, and wonderful apple pancakes and fritter..also, La Flor's pancakes with apples are great, too. Perhaps Bona in Ridgewood would be good for breakfast.Their apple fritter is pretty good, and their blintzes are good. Just like Mother's in Forest Hills makes uniformly lousy pancakes, and fritters,but their pieroges can be decent--blintzes are lousy, too. In Forest Hills, the Network cafe used to have a good brunch but I haven't been in ages.....Best breakfast I've had closest to Queens has been the Thomas Diner in Westbury on Old Country road--Omelets that come to you in your own skillet, good waffles, pancakes, etc.....People like the Georgia Diner in Woodside, but I thought it was overpriced and below average at best, and maple syrup in a plastc container is a always a bad sign........El Jarro, De Mole seems like a good option, had dinner there for the first time the other night, and it was great.

                                  1. re: janie

                                    Wow - the Thomas Diner..haven't been there in well over ten years, but thanks for reminding me what the name is. Just a great little breakfast joint, as I recall. Fresh, tasty omelettes. So they're still good, after all this time?

                                    1. re: Polecat

                                      I think the name is actually Thomas'Ham and Eggery, and yes the food is still really, really good. They do omelets right as opposed to those flat, folded over pancake things other diners call omelets!

                                  2. re: lindoca

                                    I am of several minds about Cup. The staff all seems very friendly and sweet, and the food is generally good, although seemingly sort of oddly priced for the neighborhood. I've the Santa Fe burger, and it was OK, certainly not the best of anywhere, or whatever they claimed. I think they could be significantly better, but they're certainly not bad.

                                    1. re: lindoca

                                      That coffee shop at 40th and Queens Boulevard is notorious; a guy was shot there some time in the past year. They also got bad health department inspection reports. And as you discovered, the food is awful and the service is lousy.

                                      I'm glad you found the Rose; it's my favorite spot for Irish breakfast in Sunnyside, but Sidetracks also has a good brunch if you want to get fancy and expensive.

                                      It ain't fancy, but Rincon Azteca on Greenpoint between 47th and 48th has good chilaquiles - Mexicans always look at me like I'm nuts when I say I like chilaquiles. The tamales at La Plaza on 49th and Skillman (weekends only) are good too.

                                      One time I went to Your's Bakery (South American - I'm guessing Columbian) and they had a nice kind of breakfast wrap made from an arepa filled with scrambled eggs and chopped sausage, probably the closest thing you can get to a breakfast burrito in Queens. A few weeks later they kept me waiting while they served several of their paisanos who had come in after me; last time I ever go there.

                                      Of course, everything at Marjolaine is good. The Chinese bakery on Roosevelt and 56th is up to Flushing standards; I often go there to get an iced coffee and a dried pork bun.

                                    2. Thomas's is, in fact, the closest I've had to Chicago breakfast anywhere near NYC. It's not quite on a level with Mitchell's but they certainly have the right idea. I am so in love with Lou's. it's a tourist trap that has enough honey for even this cynical soul.

                                      1. PS... glad you like Rose. Yeah, a nice Irish breakfast, cos the brother of the owner owns Butcher Block, so they get good quality sausages, black and white puddings and rashers.

                                        Head on over to the Block if you want to attempt it at home. I do, on occasion.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Monkey Man Jake

                                          Fiesta Mexicana on Roosevelt Ave @ 75th St. serves a big, Sunday buffet brunch for I think $12. We wandered in there in search of breakfast, in the middle of a ridiculously hot Sunday, during the heat wave several weeks ago. The brunch, a nice variety all set out in steam tables, looked good, but we couldn't deal with it - it was too early and too hot for a big feed. Instead, the waiter brought us the breakfast menu, which featured a number of different egg preparations, and we were very happy with our meals.

                                          Still no liquor license. Also no a/c, though they did have air moving around pretty well in there. Reasonably comfortable that day.

                                        2. Well, first off, as a blues and jazz fanatic, I knew I'd have to get to Chicago sooner or later. Having caught sight of Lou Mitchell's on a tv segment a while back, and having had my curiosity piqued by all these Chicago breakfast posts, I know I'll probably return from my trip that much happier and heavier.

                                          Agreed, Queens - for that matter - NYC, doesn't serve up Chicago style breakfasts. Queens might not have anything to make you forget your superlative breakfasts of yore, but there are a few morning gutbusters out there that are worthy.

                                          The Cafe Bar, in Astoria (34th Avenue, maybe - in any event, right in the vicinity of the Moving Image Museum)offers what is known as the "Cypriot Breakfast", which is excellent, almost good enough to make you forget the surly, stuck-up service you might get at this place.

                                          El Reys, on Hillside in the Briarwood/Jamaica vicinity, right by the Sutphin F stop, serves up a delicious dominican breakfast, albeit on the greasy side, which will nonetheless, washed down by a spanish coffee, keep you going all day.

                                          Also, as the poster Janie mentioned, if you're willing to stray out to Long Island, the Thomas is a gem of a place. I'm delighted that it is still around.

                                          1. Don't bypass Empire Diner on 21st St. and Broadway in Astoria. It is the best diner i've been to in Queens and definitely superior to Neptune.

                                            1. HA. I'm from Queens. This is absolutely appalling. There is someone posting in the Chicago forum about this and it's kind of depressing that the transplanted Chicagoans haven't explored NYC or Queens enough for that matter to find a decent pancake. MY GOD. I can't believe it.

                                              EJ's on 447 Amsterdam.
                                              Clinton St. Baking Co. on 4 Clinton.
                                              Pink Teacup on 42 Grove.

                                              Just Like Mother's - 10-60 Queens Blvd (BEST Polish breakfast outside of Chicago)
                                              Jackson Hole Diner - 35-01 Bell Blvd

                                              1. Try the authentic diner on Northern Blvd near 48th st...Right next door to the Gas station!!!!

                                                Been around for over 40 years...They have to be doing somethnig right...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: yorkchu

                                                  I too come from Chicago and live in Sunnyside. Have you tried the New York Ham & Eggery across from Home Depot on Northern Blvd? Not quite the same as the wonderful Chicago brunches at Jane's or Bite, but utilitarian no less and excellent blueberry pancakes for $3.45 on the weekdays.

                                                2. well, just outside queens in great neck is bruces. one of the best if not the best on the island. I know this is the wrong board for a great neck entry but i feel it suits your needs and is the first town over the line. look it up, it is GREAT

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: chefjellynow

                                                    i grew up in great neck and have eaten at (or been at events catered by or with food brought from) bruce's more times than i can count. it's not that good, at all. after you get over the novelty of the bread basket (which is less good than it is plentiful), you realize that it's just overpriced and not that good. there are many better options in great neck (and environs). it's not worth heading out to from the city. even for the baked goods.

                                                    1. re: fazziole

                                                      It's sad that I don't have a favorite breakfast place anywhere near where I live (Bayside). There are places that are ok but nothing great. My two happy places for breakfast are Maureen's out in Suffolk and Square One in LA. Other than Manhattan, where would you recommend I try?

                                                      1. re: BigV

                                                        De Mole is great for breakfast in Sunnyside.

                                                        De Mole
                                                        45-02 48th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                                                      2. re: fazziole

                                                        Fazziole you nailed it! ITA! Bruce's is absolutely nothing special!

                                                        We're in Bayside (home to the "Nothing Special" meal) and can't wait to move.

                                                        When we do brunch out we either head into Manhattan or Brooklyn. Once in a while we'll hit a local diner but again, nothing special.