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Mar 13, 2008 07:15 AM

Thinking of trying Market Lunch Saturday mornin'

Question for you all,

Having grown up in the DC metro area and living there my whole life, I'm ashamed to say I've never been to Market Lunch. It's taken relocating to Baltimore for a job to pull on the heart strings enough to visit this DC Institution.

Anyways, I know they are in their temporary location now and I just wanted to check in with some of you hounds to see if anyone can give a relatively recent report of the place. I know I'm supposed to order the Blue Bucks and a side of grits when I go (and I also hear "The Brick" is delicious as well) but are there any other brunch recommendations you all can give? Is Market Lunch still worth going to even though they are in their temporary location? Just wanted to make sure the place hasn't gone downhill due to the transition.


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  1. Market Lunch is in the East Builing (temporary structure) right across the street from where it always was. Even the communal table is there, having survived the fire. You really owe it to yourself to go.
    The food, the people, the feel of it is the same, which is to say-a terrific breakfast/brunch. I usually get the crabcake benedict. Best crabcake in the world? No-but pretty good, and with the grits, I love it!
    My DH always gets the bluebucks and sausge. The bluebucks are some of the best pancakes you'll ever try and the sausage is, while not heart healthy, one heck of a treat.
    The staff, the owner, the people are great.
    Get there on the early side on Sat. (no breakfast Sun.). They open at 8 and depending, there can be a line.
    See here:

    29 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      great, thank you for the report... I'm definitely gonna go on Saturday morning.

      1. re: monavano

        ahem, you mean there WILL be a line (on weekends that is).

        otherwise monavano is spot-on accurate. the only difference is the current location is newer and cleaner (I miss the dingy atmosphere) and not enough outdoor tables. it's nice they saved the table - and didn't sand out the few scorch marks.

        the Brick is decadent. plan on bulking up on cruciferous greens, fiber and Omega-3s to compensate. it's worth it (I like mine with scrapple)

        1. re: monavano

          I really think I've had breakfast there Sundays (it's been a while, but in the new space) and according to the website it's only Monday and Tuesday that they're closed. Is it that it's not the full menu on Sundays? I just wanted to clarify this.

          1. re: mselectra

            it's just that they switch to lunch later on weekends and close it all by 3 on the days they're open. odd. I know I ate lunch there on a Tuesday in January...course there were only 3-4 customers, so maybe it's just not cost effective on a Tues.

            1. re: hill food

              I thought they just didn't serve breakfast at all on Sunday? But perhaps I am wrong.

              1. re: ktmoomau

                I can't imagine they'd pass up serving b'fast on one of their busiest days of the week

                1. re: hill food

                  Well maybe MarcDC will ask for us?

                  If no one else pipes up with a definitive answer I will ask next Saturday when I go.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    Ill ask this Saturday when I go and report back in this thread.

                    1. re: MarcDC

                      I was running errands and swung through just now, no one to ask directly to clarify, but the sign indicates there is breakfast on Sun. 9-12 and then the switch to lunch. which is all that makes sense.

                      1. re: hill food

                        great. ill confirm it when i go saturday, but i see no reason why this info isnt correct

              2. re: hill food

                I know that I've gotten into line before noon, but still not made it to the front of the line in time for breakfast -- someone walked down the line telling us they were switching to lunch at noon -- but I *think* that was still on a Sunday.

                According to the website, on weekdays they switch at 11.

                I don't get to go often, but I'd like to have this figured out -- thanks everybody!

              3. re: mselectra

                So... I went this Saturday for breakfast and the sign there (as you stand in line) says that there is NO breakfast on Sundays, just lunch beginning at 11:00. This info is different than the website, and apparently also than the sign that hillfood saw....

                It was an hour wait (getting in line around 10:30) -- and well worth it.

                1. re: mselectra

                  crap i totally forgot to report back. yes, no bfast on sunday

                  i too had to wait an hour to get breakfast (got in line at 11am). food was delicious (blue bucks, grits, and scrapple)

                  1. re: MarcDC

                    That sounds like the perfect order. I had the hash, which was a special and great. Also tasted the crabcake, which seemed pretty fine to me (I'm no expert) and the bluebucks are fantastic, of course. Eggs also done well, and the hashbrowns were really good. I meant to get grits, but in the craziness of ordering he apparently didn't hear me (the ordering is part of the charm, I guess).

                    I've waited more than an hour at, say, the Diner (which is a lot closer to home) which is no where near the quality -- so the wait seems pretty reasonable for a Saturday brunch.

                    It seems weird they don't do Sunday breakfast, but maybe the intensity of Saturday morning is all they can take.

                    Glad you started this thread, it reminded me I should make the effort to get over there more often.

                    1. re: mselectra

                      Yes,Sat. morning is so crazy because they don't serve breakfast on Sundays.
                      Several years ago, the owner decided to open late on Sat. and not serve breakfast. An overwhelming cry from the people was heard and in no time, he opened on Sat. mornings once again. I had recently returned to the area at the time and it impressed me so much to read this, that I made going to Eastern Market and eating at Market Lunch asap.
                      True story ;-)

                    2. re: MarcDC

                      You guys will actually stand in line for an hour to get breakfast? My mind is boggled!

                      1. re: Hal Laurent

                        You know, it didn't seem like an hour, we just realized it had been when we sat down to eat. Besides, it's a fun place to hang out and plenty to look at, which helps the time pass -- but not something to do every week, I suppose, despite the great food and how fun the whole experience is -- I also had an out-of-town guest and it was a must-do.

                        ktmoomau, you were totally right about Sundays (it was hard to figure it out for sure without actually going though....)

                        1. re: Hal Laurent

                          Waiting will be a bit more painful now that you can't sip your Murky Coffee while in line ;-(

                      2. re: mselectra

                        ahhh chaos, the website also says they're closed Tues. which is not the case.

                        1. re: hill food

                          We're lucky we have their chaos with all that fire-tent craziness...and that is the only DC crabcake a Baltimorean would like--no weird stuff like pimentos or remoulade.

                          1. re: chowsearch

                            That crabcake is the REAL DEAL. Tom Glasgow is from an old Maryland family. He gets his crab meat from the Eastern Shore. It's hand picked. I'd tell you where and I'd tell you the recipe, but then I'd have to kill ya. The crabcake is made with just the right touch of saltines, exactly like a good Maryland boy would learn from his grandmother.

                            Forget Eastern Market's website. It hasn't been updated in months. Disaster.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              well that fits with the overall low-tech ambiance

                              1. re: hill food

                                It also seems very DC to not update your website often... I could name lots of other culprits.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  Oh, but how I love that low-tech, personal ambiance. It's so nice to call somebody by name when I ask them to slice my bread, bone a pork shoulder, cut up a rabbit, or clean the fish. I can buy 1/4 pound of pork sausage for a recipe or a sliver of an expensive cheese. The produce vendors throw in a free banana and a smile with your order.
                                  I never get out of there in less than 1/2 hour because I always end up running into people I know and stopping to chat.
                                  I guess that's better than an updated website in the long run - if you're a regular. But it does make it harder to check hours and days.
                                  Does seem to be a very common problem with DC in general as ktmoomau says. Except for parking tickets of course.

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    oh yeah, after only 8 years Jack at Bower's doesn't growl at me anymore. and to know that for the 1/4 of sausage you have to go to Canales, 'cause Union won't sell less than a half lb. I miss the old glass door freezers the Inman's had, just to look at things like gator and whatnot and wonder what I'd make with any of it. now it's all in the back - no more window shopping.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      yeah, but the strange beauty of Eastern Market is that it's a cook's paradise. Even though it looks sorta frumpy, just about anything you want is hidden somewhere in there. I've gotten fresh foie gras but there's also chittlins and hog maw. Organic chicken and half smokes. Inman has two kinds of quail and at least two or three varieties of duck. Goat and serrano ham. Handmade ravioli. A perfect epoisses. Big bunches of fresh herbs. Calomiris' dates are like candy.
                                      Your window shopping will be back when things return to normal in the renovated South Hall next year.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        no serious complaints here. it's interesting and exciting how the fire re-established the place in the area's consciousness and galvanized the neighborhood.

                                        I like frumpy (but with a decent sprinkler system) a friend and I were musing that maybe the fire and the time it happened was in fact a very positive thing - no injuries, no major structural damage (besides the roof) and now the EMCAC and other stakeholders finally have to move forward.

                                        I wish they'd fix that dang door on 7th, I've taken to using 8th or the "turkey door" on the service way by Union Meat (named for the line out the door for the Inman's poultry last Thanksgiving week Wed.).

                                2. re: MakingSense

                                  I think Tommy gets crab meat from North Carolina, too. At least a couple of years ago he did. He learned crabcakes from his dad — his grandma had 11 children, so her oldest kids were the ones who did most of the cooking. That entire clan can cook, let me tell you! ; )

                      3. Yeah I waited in that Saturday morning line forever, and we even ate outside so they would bump us up. We got the blueberry pancakes, which were good, but compared to Tallula's ricotta and sour cherry pancakes they don't hold a candle. But I had an out of town guest I wanted to take for the experience. Next time will have crabcakes benedict, but since out of towner is allergic to seafood I didn't want to eat it in front of her because she developed the allergy later in life and really misses seafood sometimes.

                        Agreed with above, hate to say it, but I was right no Sunday breakfast.

                        1. Man I must of seen half on you people Saturday morning around 11. I think we all took out of town guests, no wonder that it was so busy, next time we have to plan better...

                          1 Reply
                          1. Since they are closed on Sunday, does that mean the only day ML serves bluebucks is on Saturday? I was shocked to go there a few weeks ago on a weekday morning to find that they were only serving eggs and grits (plus meat) on weekdays - has it always been that way?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: lumosblue

                              What are other MUST eats at Eastern Market? Is it better to go on Saturday or Sunday overall? And do they allow DOGS? Thanks.

                              1. re: enfant_gatée

                                No dogs in the market. Not that I would have a problem with it-I've got 3 and take them out and about.

                              2. re: lumosblue

                                from what i gathered breakfast is served all week and on Saturday.. there was no mention of an abbreviated breakfast menu during the weekday.

                                that may be the case though... maybe try calling?