We’ve talked about brunch in New York City before, but there’s plenty more to cover. New York is nothing if not a major food city. With people traveling from all over to visit or settle down here, the city has become a major proponent of world cuisines and inventive cooking. And, because of all of the diverse cultures and lifestyles that make up this corner of the country, NYC has also become a hub of acceptance for different food preferences and needs.
While California (specifically Los Angeles) has become well-known for catering to plant-based lifestyles, New York has become a leader in vegan food and products. In fact, the current mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, is a self-proclaimed vegan.
And what’s many a New Yorker’s favorite meal but brunch, of course? Brunch is the perfect meal for fueling up before a big day of city exploration or refueling after a night on the town. So walking past many of the restaurants, taverns and taphouses within the city, it’s likely you’ll pass by more than a few A-frame chalkboards with brunch specials scrawled across.
New York arguably has some of the best vegan and vegetarian brunch spots in the world. So read on for some of our favorite spots for brunch in NYC with friends, regardless of their (or your) dietary restrictions.
Public Records (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn)
Based on first impressions, Public Records is a restaurant that caters to an alternative crowd. A completely vegan joint in Brooklyn, it offers a relatively small brunch menu curated to match the tastes of anyone who walks through the door.
Rather than serving a selection of bougie plant-based fare, Public Records is the type of place you can take friends who are more hesitant toward trying vegan food. With dishes like a breakfast burrito, a classic granola bowl and a mushroom melt, there aren’t many scary, oddball items here.
Public Records also boasts a cafe, sound room and a record shop, all in one. So, even when you’ve finished your comfort food, you can stick around to enjoy a latte and some dope tunes. This is the kind of restaurant you’ll want to take your most ~indie~ pals.
Address: 233 Butler St., Brooklyn
No. 5 (Astoria, Queens)
With both a vegan and non-vegan menu, No.5 is ideal for brunching with a bigger group of people. They also have two brunch deals, one for US$25, which includes a “meal + smoothie or fresh juice + coffee/ tea or soft drink + brunch cocktail,” and one for US$30, which includes “meal + coffee/ tea or soft drink + an hour unlimited brunch cocktails/selected beers or house wine.” Hello, bottomless brunch deal! Considering their impressive menu, both would be a steal.
The left side of the menu is non-vegan, and the right is all plant-based. Try out one of their VeganEgg dishes, like the Scrambled Truffle ‘Eggs’ and Mushrooms, or a vegan taco or quesadilla or maybe even a slice of vegan Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake.
Regardless of what you order (and whether or not it’s plant-based), your table is bound to be covered in colorful, enticing eats. And remember, mimosas pretty much always count as plant-based.
Address: 35-43 37th St., Queens
Quantum Leap (Greenwich Village, Manhattan)
A small vegetarian restaurant that specializes in both Asian and Mexican-inspired cuisine, Quantum Leap is more than just a breakfast nook with an admittedly great name. For brunch, though, it’s all about diner favorites with a little extra something.
The Banana Pecan Pancakes here are made vegan, and so are the Wholesome Blueberry Pancakes and the always welcome Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Quantum Leap offers an array of salads and smoothies for a lighter bite, all of which are packed full of nutrient-dense ingredients. Highlights among these include the 20 Grain Smoothie and the Roasted Veggie and Quinoa Salad.
Address: 226 Thompson St.
A Live Kitchen (Rosedale, Queens)
Located deep in Queens, A Live Kitchen may be a bit of a trek if you’re not in the area already. But it’s definitely worth a visit. Completely vegan, A Live Kitchen’s brunch menu is a place for simple eats that are done right.
Their US$20 brunch special is a great way to get all of your favorites, with “our choice of pancakes or a waffle, home fries, grits, scrambled tofu, [and] tempeh bacon or veggie sausage.” Make sure to order a smoothie or a juice blend with your food to add some pizazz to your morning.
Address: 227-16 Merrick Blvd.
The Butcher’s Daughter (Brooklyn and Manhattan)
While each of The Butcher’s Daughter’s locations offers a different menu, they all feature some great brunch items. Go for the Crab Cake Benedict in West Village, in which you can sub the egg for a tofu scramble. At this same location, you can get the Butcher’s Bowl, which is full of roasted potatoes, a harissa aioli, mushrooms, spinach, red onion, adzuki bacon and a poached egg or tofu scramble … and who wouldn’t be tempted to add in some avocado?
You can get these same items in Brooklyn and Nolita. Then, enjoy your meal with an interesting cocktail, like one of their eight different types of mimosas made using cold-pressed juices. You can also order a mimosa flight to accompany your meal if you’d like to try several.
Address: See The Butcher’s Daughter website for a list of locations.
The Boogie Down Grind Cafe (Hunts Point, Bronx)
Touting not only the best coffee, tea, local beers, sangria and wines, but also the best vibes, The Boogie Down has set the bar high. Describing itself as “a curated experience celebrating hip-hop culture and community,” eating here is an experience, to say the least.
Winning the 2021 Alfresco NYC Award for “creating a unique outdoor dining design that celebrates the neighborhood and hosts community events and art exhibitions,” The Boogie Down is a fixture of the Bronx that invests in the same community that it depends on. Their focaccia bread used for paninis is even locally sourced from Il Forno Bakery.
Try out their vegan panini for brunch, made with chickpea spread, cheese, olive spread, roasted pepper, and greens. Or a bowl of comforting oatmeal with your choice of toppings. In the mood for a pastry? The Boogie Down offers dense vegan strawberry muffins. And from 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, you can order a local beer, sangria, mimosa, wine or prosecco to accompany your meal.
Plus, their drip coffee is at the top of the drinks menu for a reason. Craving a dose of caffeine? Make sure to order one.
Address: 868 Hunts Point Ave., Bronx
The Miles Coffee Bar (Throgs Neck, Bronx)
The Miles Coffee Bar is the brunch spot for those of us who really do need caffeine in order to function. With its minimalist aesthetic and low-key atmosphere, grabbing a bite here with a friend or two is ideal for catching up and focusing on one another.
They offer standard coffee drinks, but also what they refer to as Rocket Fuel Cold Brew, which is “steeped in maple and chicory to conquer defeat.” Their latte selection is also extensive. How about a few Salted Caramel Lattes for the table? And yes, they do also serve alcohol, with wine, local beer, mocktails and seasonal cocktails all available for order with some grub.
As far as food goes, Their avocado toast, hummus toast and oatmeal are all gloriously vegan and well-priced. Enjoy a chill, easy brunch in NYC out at this Bronx staple.
Address: 4039 E Tremont Ave., Bronx
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