Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 1, 2009 12:30 PM

Early breakfasts - for the uncool

Yesterday, my husband and I had the luck to 1) both have the day off and 2) have the sitter coming to watch our 16 month old. We decided to head out early and have breakfast .

This is the issue we came across. While I know that there are plenty of diners that are open early (7:00 or earlier if not 24 hours) we had a hard time finding a non-diner place for breakfast at about 8am. We originally intended to go to Penelope but then we had the "brilliant" idea of heading down to the lower east side (hoping to dine at Clinton street baking Company). I know it is our fault for not doing any research on the subject but once there, we realized that Clinton St. Baking company does not open until 10am. We decided to walk around a bit and found that this was the case at most places. So I guess here is my question. For future reference, can anyone suggest breakfast places that open up early. Since my husband and I tend to be out and about on the early side (on weekends), we have found some places but we are hoping that we are not even scratching the surface.

Here is a list of the places that I know are open early. Any additional non-diner suggestions would be appreciated
Egg (Williamsburg)

We live in Murray Hill/Kips Bay but we will generally travel a bit.

Thank you for any and all suggestions

P.S. We would up dining at 7A

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. ok, so i'm not necessarily vouching for the food at any of these places, and a few of them are pretty pricey/upscale, but all these places are in or near Murray Hill, Kips Bay, Gramercy & Union Square...

    open @ 7 am:
    Barking Dog (34th bet 3rd & Lex)
    Guy & Gallard (multiple locations)
    Cipriani Le Specialita (42nd bet Park & Lex)
    Country or the Cafe @ Country (Mad @ 29th)
    Icon @ W Hotel (39th @ Lex)
    Olives @ the W Union Square (Park Ave S @ 17th)
    Petite Abeille (20th @ 1st Ave)
    Sunburst Espresso Bar (3rd Ave @ 18th)
    Garden Cafe @ the Kitano Hotel (Park @ 38th)

    Opens @ 7:30:
    Le Pain Quotidien (19th bet Park & Bway)
    Les Halles (Park Ave S bet 28th & 29th)

    Open 24 hrs:
    2nd Ave Deli (i know, it's a deli, sorry)
    L'Express (Park Ave S @ 20th)

    **Note: as far as i know, these are the opening times for M-F, some places don't open until later on weekends.

    1. Veselka (2nd & 9th) is open 24 hours. I don't think of it as a diner, exactly, but it sort of is.

      1. I think some places may have been on a weekend/holiday schedule because yesterday was NYE. Clinton Street usually opens at 8am on weekdays and 10am on weekends. I assume they were on the weekend schedule because of the new year.

        Here's my list of early breakfast/brunch places. Of course, YMMV. Call ahead as hours may have changed. Some are full sit down restaurants, others are coffee shops with no/limited seating.

        Patisserie Claude (croissants, opens at 7am daily? I'd double check since it is under new management now)
        Abraco Espresso (Tuesday thru Saturday opens at 8am, Sunday at 9am, closed Mondays)
        Sarabeth's (all but one of their locations open at 8am daily, it's the one inside the Whitney that is different)
        Cafe Mogador (opens at 9am daily)
        Cafe Orlin (opens at 9am on weekdays, 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays)
        Caffè Emilia (8am daily)
        The Smith (8:30am on weekdays, only)
        B&H Dairy (7am daily)
        Grey Dog Coffee (opens at 6:30am on weekdays, 7am on weekends)
        'ino (9am daily)
        Cookshop (8am on weekdays, only)
        Bubby's Tribeca (8am on weekdays, 9am on weekends)
        Bar Breton (7am on weekdays)
        Tartine (9am on weekdays)
        Caffe Falai (7am daily)
        Nice Matin (7am daily)
        Markt (8am daily)
        202 (8:30am on weekdays)
        Cafe Cluny (8am weekdays, 9am weekends)
        71 Irving (7am weekdays, 8am weekends)
        Landmarc Time Warner Center (7am daily)
        Balthazar (serves continental breakfast from 7:30am weekdays/8am weekends, and on weekends turns into brunch after 10am)
        Morandi (8am on weekdays)
        Pastis (8am on weekdays)
        Momofuku Milk Bar and Bakery (8am daily)
        Clinton Street Baking company (opens 8am on weekdays)
        Trestle on Tenth (8:30am daily)
        Birdbath (8am Mondays through Saturdays, 9am on Sundays)
        City Bakery (7:30am Mondays through Saturdays, 9am on Sundays)
        Fika Espresso Bar (7am on weekdays)
        Amy's Bread (7:30am on weekdays, weekend hours vary by location but are typically 8/9am)
        Taralluci e Vino (8am on weekdays, 9am on weekends)
        Cafe Sabarsky (9am daily but closed Tuesdays)
        Nougatine Room at Jean Georges (7am on weekdays, 8am on weekends)
        db bistro moderne (7am on weekdays, 8am on weekends)
        BLT Market (7am daily)
        Insieme (7am on weekdays, 8am on weekends)
        Blaue Gans (9am daily)

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. La Grainne Cafe, 183 9th Ave @ 21st St, and Le Gamin, 536 E 5th St, each serve a very pleasant breakfast daily from 8AM to 4PM. I also like breakfast at Grey Dog's Coffee, 33 Carmine St, which opens daily at 6:30AM Monday through Friday, 7AM on weekends. I've had some nice breakfasts at Alice's Tea Cup, 220 E 81st, opening at 8AM daily, but get there early on the weekend, and I gotta admit that their kitchen operates at a pace that I might call glacial (funny how that works with that comment about the weekends, eh?).

            One responder claims that Clinton Street opens at 8AM. Although the door may be unlocked, I found that it doesn't mean that they're serving hot food. Not until 10AM, that is.

            5 Replies
            1. re: rpk

              I always get a breakfast at The Mercer and it opens at 7am.. Its on the expensive side and only for special occasions but its very tasty.

              1. re: rpk

                I'm sad to say that I have to back pedal on my recommendation of Le Gamin. My breakfast there, just this morning, was rather lackluster. Not downright bad, just well below their best level of effort.

                What does one do about such a place? It's rather out of my way, so developing good statistics on them is difficult for me, even if that were important enough to me to do that. That makes it hard to for me to say which are the flukes, the good or the (relatively) bad. I'm guessing that it's as simple as knowing who's in the kitchen and who's on barista duty but I'm just not the kinda guy who takes names of kitchen personnel for future reference and then calls ahead to determine who's working this morning. By the way, who is?

                1. re: rpk

                  le gamin sucks-i was very disappointed with my meal and the service there.

                2. re: rpk

                  Hmm, those are the hours on their web site. I haven't been in a little while, is the 10am thing all weekdays?

                  1. re: kathryn

                    It was what I was told when I walked in, cold and hungry, at 8:30AM one weekday morning. The only person in there was too interesting in the cleaning he was doing to stop to talk to me, it was just something he said as he kept sweeping. I gotta say that I have a tendency to treat that kinda thing as an act of ultimate betrayal. Not his behavior, which was merely insultinginly dismissive, but the posting of an opening time, and the posting of a menu that includes hot food, while not bothering to mention the little detail that the hot food is not available at opening time. Given that, I honestly can't say if that circumstance was one of long-standing, or of current practice, or not, since I don't care. (Although I guess a sign mentioning a death in the family would have stood a good chance of softening my heart. Since there was no such sign and the guy cleaning up wasn't crying, that ain't gonna happen.) Balthazar has (had?) similar timing issues for their full breakfast menu, but they do (did?), at least, say so.