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Photograph: Courtesy Erica Chan/ Bar Beau

Unexpected Mother’s Day brunch spots in NYC

This year, show your mom you love her by taking her out to the best Mother’s Day brunch NYC has to offer

By Emma Orlow and Time Out contributors

Show some love for the woman who raised you by treating her to the best Mother’s Day brunch NYC has to offer on May 12th. And that doesn’t necessarily mean some crazy expensive place, either. While, we'll show some of the classic spots for Mother’s Day brunch, we're also all about unexpected destinations that demonstrate how well you know the mom you've got. Amazing food and warm hospitality sets the stage for all else.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Mother’s Day in NYC

Whether you’ll be heading to the Whitney Museum after brunch and want somewhere near, or will be kicking it in Bushwick near your pad (Mom’s got to check out your neck of the woods sometime!) we’ve got you covered. Whether mama prefers chicken and waffles fan or one of the city’s best cocktails (hey, who said she can’t have both?) From charming Greenwich Village bistros to uptown fine dining restaurants, use this handy guide to find some of the best brunch in NYC

Best Mother’s Day brunch in NYC

1. Simon & the Whale

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Kips Bay

Restaurateur Gabriel Stulman (behind Fairfax, Charlie Bird, Fedora) brings another hit with Simon & the Whale, his first-floor flagship at the Freehand Hotel. Here, find sorrento lemon mascarpone danishes, griddled banana bread with date syrup and ricotta artichoke popovers that make the perfect Mother's Day feast. 

2. Estela

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Contemporary American Nolita

The spot sports a fashionably cookie-cutter decor—exposed brick, globe lights, hulking marble bar, you know the drill—but the true draw to the space is the talented Ignacio Mattos, the imaginative Uruguayan-born chef cooking in this Mediterranean-tinged spot. Mom will appreicate the simple, yet thoughtful fare.

Bar Beau
Photograph: Courtesy Bas Berkhout

3. Bar Beau

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

Up until recently, Claire Chan's spot in Williamsburg was just open for nightime fare, with a front café serving Parlor Coffee and pastries from local bakers during the day. Last month, Bar Beau opened for weekend brunch, just in time for Mother's Day. The "What's Up Doc" cocktail with gin, Salers, chartreuse, carrot, galangal and black pepper pairs perfectly with their deviled eggs prepared with yuzu kosho, togarashi and scallion. 

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

4. Misi

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian Williamsburg

Misi, now open for brunch, would be our pick for a Mother's Day brunch by pasta legend, Missy Robbins. Misi is as much, possibly even more, about the veggie sides as it is handmade al dente noodles and whimsical pasta shapes. 

Photographs: Zandy Mangold

5. Hart’s

Restaurants Mediterranean Bedford-Stuyvesant

Everyone freaks out about their clam toast and Mom will too. The natural-focused wine list also keeps close to the coast, with by-glass options like Manzanilla sherry and Portuguese vinho verde. 

6. Olmsted

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Contemporary American Prospect Heights

The sheer whimsy at Greg Baxtrom (Per Se, Blue Hill at Stone Barns)'s Prospect Heights restaurant will make whatever lingering family drama you were worried might explode at the table, totally fall by the wayside. Instead, you'll be enchanted by Olmsted’s sheer dedication to freshness: An urban minifarm behind the modestly dressed restaurant provides Baxtrom’s kitchen with radishes and lovage; a bird coop coos with quails laying eggs; and a repurposed claw-foot bathtub sloshes with crayfish.

Olmsted is offering a $65 prix-fixe menu for brunch (from 10am-3pm)


7. Freemans

Restaurants American Lower East Side

Down an easily-missed alley on the Lower East Side is Freeman's, one of our favorite brunch spots for fancy, mystical times that feel straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. 

Photograph: Courtesy Jake Lindeman

8. Gertie

Restaurants Cafés Williamsburg

Inspired by Los Angeles all-day cafes like Gjelina and Sqirl, Gertie serves up bowls and toast with the soul of real New Yorkers. Run by Nate Adler (Huertas), Will Edwards (Marlow Collective) and Flip Biddelman (Huertas), the result is a gorgeous 70-seat spot off the Lorimer L train, in ode to Adler's grandmother, who was born-and-raised in Queens. Here, luncheonette-style dining made for 2019 (there's an Instammable mural designed by artist, Lea Carey). For brunch, you'll find egg 'n cheese on bialys (made in-house by Savannah Turley), the Gertie Breakfast (two sunny eggs, white beans, greens and toast) as well as squash toast. 

Aaron Hutcherson

9. Fancy Nancy

Restaurants American creative Bedford-Stuyvesant

At this Bed-Stuy brunch spot, you can expect excellent chilaquiles, lemon kale salad, maple toast with apple and eggs, alongside a New Orleans-style cold brew or homemade kombucha. The simple-yet-delicious fare will ensure there's something every family member can enjoy.

10. Nix

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Vegetarian Greenwich Village

Nix is the first veg-only restaurant from John Fraser, who dipped his toe in the genre with Meatless Mondays at Michelin-starred Dovetail and his blogger-luring rotisserie beets at Narcissa. It’s named for the plaintiff in the 1983 Supreme Court decision that designated tomatoes as vegetables, not fruit. Here, vegetable dishes are made decadent and won’t have Mom asking, “where’s the meat?”

Peaches, brunch, NYC
Photograph: Beth Levendis

11. Peaches

Restaurants Soul and southern American Bedford-Stuyvesant

At this pioneering Bed-Stuy restaurant, owners Craig Samuel and Ben Grossman (both of the Smoke Joint) ably merge two trends—Greenmarket and upscale Southern. Appetizers emphasize salads, like the toss of watermelon, arugula and spicy pickled ginger. The rest of the menu hews closer to Cajun and Creole: a juicy half chicken sports a salt-and-chili rub, and garlicky shrimp with tomato gravy are served over fluffy grits.

12. Via Carota

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian West Village

Because the love behind the kitchen shows in the dishes as much as your love for mama! In the #trending millennial slang lexicon, basic is not a compliment—it’s a dig to the banal, extra-regular-ness of everything from fur-lined Ugg boots to pumpkin-spice lattes. Basic cooking is no exception, redolent with whiffs of home kitchens and hands-on Sauté 101 classes. But the soulful Italian plates served at Via Carota, the first joint effort from chef power couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi—at once rustic, sophisticated and heart-swelling—proves simple food can be anything but basic. 

Photograph: Courtesy Ruby's Vintage

13. Ruby's Vintage

Bars Café bars Harlem

Ruby’s Vintage isn't a vintage store at all, but rather a spot for drinks and brunch in Central Harlem. Located on Striver's Row, the spot takes its name after its location at playwright and civil rights activist, Ruby Dee’s childhood home. The bar’s tagline reads: “welcome to Harlem 1968: a  hub for the artist- activist who shaped a generation,” and it’s accomplished not only through soul food, but soulful small design details of vintage records, portraits and a living room salon-style feeling throughout.

14. Butter & Scotch

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Bakeries Crown Heights

Carved into a narrow pocket on Franklin Avenue and awash in ’50s flair (chrome barstools, marquee lighting), this bakery-bar-cum-soda-fountain from Allison Kave and Keavy Blueher is a triple-hitter throwback. The boozy brick-and-mortar—the permanent offshoot of the duo’s beloved flea stall—serves coffee and pastries in the morning, snacks and spirit-spiked sweets in the afternoon, and drinks after dark.

Donuts at Red Rooster Harlem
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

15. Red Rooster Harlem

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Soul and southern American Harlem

At Marcus Samuelsson's Harlem bistro, global soul food takes center stage, artfully mixing Southern-fried, East African, Scandinavian and French flavors. At this spot by former Aquavit chef, now culinary TV star, slippery ribbons of house-smoked salmon and gravlax—“lox and lax" on the playful menu—are served with Ethiopian injera fried into chips.

La Mercerie
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

16. La Mercerie

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants French Soho

The seemingly-effortlessly-curated interior by Roman and Williams sets the stage for chef Marie-Aude Rose’s take on the classic French bistro with a modern touch. Every egg dish is perfectly cooked, the pastries glisten behind the counter, salads are expertly composed and the specialty butters from Bordier alone make the long waits worth it. French cafe fare feels Parisian chic with a New York flare. Everything is for sale, from the plates and napkins to utensils to the showroom in back (be careful after a few glasses).

Don’t forget to bring your mom flowers


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