When we think of going out for breakfast, reliable options include diners, fast-food restaurants and delis, but they don’t necessarily offer much in terms of ambiance or something out of the ordinary. Fortunately for us early risers, breakfast is trending, and these six new restaurants are dishing up sumptuous sammies, bountiful bowls, tantalizing toasts and so much more.
7140 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda | 301-656-1526 | mamannyc.com
Everything about Maman, a New York City-based bakery and cafe that opened at Bethesda Row in June, is designed for oohs and aahs. It starts at the entrance, where a thicket of faux greenery and white flowers is intertwined in vines above the windows, a motif repeated inside the 2,600-square-foot space. Dome pendants fashioned from twigs hang over rustic farm tables outfitted with Shaker chairs and vases of white flowers. Even the espresso machine and coffee grinders are covered in a custom blue and white toile pattern.
The cookies, cakes and sweet and savory pastries made in-house (among them almond croissants, Nutella-filled beignets, matcha passion fruit olive oil loaf and quiche Lorraine) and displayed on cutting boards atop marble counters are jaw-dropping. (Oprah deemed Maman’s nutty chocolate chip cookies one of her favorite things in 2017.)
Baker Elisa Marshall and her husband, lawyer Ben Sormonte, opened their first Maman (“maman” means mother in French) in 2014 in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Now they have 18 in New York, two in Canada and two due to open in Washington, D.C., in November. The Bethesda location, which seats 74 inside and 30 outside, is their first in Maryland.
Maman’s “sunrise” menu ($9 to $16) has 11 offerings, all served on attractive Delft dishware and brought to your table after ordering at the counter. Items include a Greek yogurt granola parfait, quiche, breakfast sandwiches, French toast with whipped ricotta cheese, and omelets with a choice of fillings (tomatoes, ham, roasted peppers, feta or Comté cheese). Two large slices of toasted country bread spread with smashed avocado and piled with tomatoes, red onions and sprouts arrive on a cutting board with little piles of pumpkin seeds, coarse salt and red pepper flakes for sprinkling at will. We devoured the contents of Papa’s breakfast bowl—roasted potatoes with chunky bourbon bacon jam, sliced avocado, chipotle aioli and a sunny-side up fried egg on top.
Maman serves Brooklyn-based Parlor Coffee (ground to order) and offers several nondairy milks (almond, oat, soy, coconut and pistachio). Try the iced blueberry
The sunrise menu is available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
216 Market St. W., Gaithersburg | 240-477-7764 | lapulapubreakfast.com
Silver Spring residents Jennifer Fernandez and her husband, chef Javier Fernandez, opened Lapu Lapu in Gaithersburg’s Kentlands development in June. They named the breakfast spot after a Filipino war hero who fought against Spanish colonization, defeating Magellan in a 1521 battle in the Visayas archipelago—Javier’s birthplace over 450 years later. Inspired by Lapu Lapu, the couple’s mission, as spelled out on their website, is to help people win their daily battles after being fortified by breakfast, “the most important meal of the day.”
The Fernandezes, who own the Filipino restaurant Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly in Rockville, keep it simple at Lapu Lapu’s 325-square-foot space, accessed by customers at a walk-up window. They offer five “American Classic” and five “Filipino Favorite” breakfast sandwiches, ranging from $6 for an egg and cheese to $14 for one filled with griddled, thinly sliced rib-eye steak, a fried egg, pickled onions, cheese sauce, lettuce and garlic mayo. All are served on delicate but durable 5-inch pan de sal, Filipino bread that Fernandez buys from his sister’s Rockville bakery, Gwenie’s Pastries, to use as buns. “Pan de sal [literally, salt bread] is slightly sweet, not salty at all, despite its name,” Javier says. “It’s a Filipino breakfast staple and often an afternoon snack.”
Lapu Lapu’s breakfast sandwiches may well be the best in the D.C. area, especially the ones made with scrambled eggs, and for good reason: Fernandez brings his chef bona fides to them. “They are classic French, slow-cooked, soft scrambled eggs with a tad of salt, very fluffy and buttery,” Fernandez says. “It was one of the first things I learned to make at L’Academie de Cuisine.” (Fernandez is a 2017 graduate of that Gaithersburg cooking school, now closed.)
Our favorite sandwich is made with griddled, crispy-on-the-outside corned beef hash, those wonderful soft scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese, potato chips (the crunch!) and spicy slaw. For another, a Filipino mainstay—Spam—is teamed with scrambled eggs, smoked Gouda cheese, arugula and Lapu Lapu sauce (sweet Filipino ketchup, chipotle mayo, capers, garlic and soy sauce). The Paksaw sammie is loaded with soy-braised pork, a fried egg and pickles.
Other than sandwiches, there are Tater Tots with Lapu Lapu sauce and grated pecorino cheese, and tasty ube soft-serve ice cream. There’s no indoor seating, but there are six tables (18 seats) outside and a large communal green space with Adirondack chairs.
Beverages include juices (orange and limelike calamansi) and Crown Beverages coffee.
Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Junction Bistro, Bar & Bakery
5471 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase | 586-949-2035 | junctionbakery.com
When a hankering for French toast hits, Chevy Chase’s Junction Bistro, Bar & Bakery is the place to indulge it. Their version, made with thick slices of brioche, has a light, slightly crispy egg coating on the outside and a fluffy, almost custard-like interior. Gilding the lily with maple syrup and butter is hardly necessary, but why resist?
Noe Landini opened Junction Bistro in Alexandria, Virginia’s Del Ray neighborhood in 2016 and another on Capitol Hill in 2020. The 2,700-square-foot Maryland location opened in The Collection at Chevy Chase in April in the empty Ralph Lauren space. Junction seats 60 inside, plus 14 at a sleek marble bar, and 50 outside on a chic terrace with marble-topped tables. The interior is industrial-chic-meets-farmhouse. Shiplap walls, globe pendants and old photos of trolleys remind guests that Chevy Chase was a trolley hub in the early 20th century. Food ordered at the counter is delivered to diners’ tables.
Junction bakes everything daily at its Alexandria location and delivers it to Chevy Chase by 7 a.m., so relish the wide variety of baked goods, such as chocolate cream croissants, maple blueberry scones and espresso cake. The breakfast menu has 16 “mains” ($9 to $18), including eggs any style. Ten come with home fries. The cheddar chive biscuit filled with thickly sliced smoked brisket, cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs and braised onions is spectacular, as are the huevos rancheros—two corn tortillas, both filled with black beans, avocado puree and spicy tomato salsa, and topped with a fried egg and goat cheese.
Junction has a full liquor license. Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters in Arlington, Virginia, provides the brew for a wide selection of drinks that includes several flavored lattes, such as lavender honey, dulce de leche and matcha.
The breakfast menu is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The restaurant does not accept cash.
Butter Me Up
7101 Democracy Blvd. (Westfield Montgomery mall), Bethesda | 301-347-7370 | buttermeupdc.com
The tagline for Butter Me Up, which opened in May in Bethesda’s Westfield Montgomery mall, is “breakfast made to uplift,” and they deliver from the get-go. The entrance seating area evokes a kid’s bedroom, with fluffy clouds suspended from the ceiling, furry pastel pink and blue beanbag chairs and bright orange sofas. On the wall of a minihouse outfitted with two real bunk beds is a cursive neon sign that says “breakfast in bed.” Elsewhere in the 2,500-square-foot restaurant, which seats 45 inside and 20 outside, glass-topped dining tables, midcentury modern chairs and living-room-like seating areas provide adults with space to work, visit and post on Instagram over breakfast.
The fare, delivered tableside after ordering at the counter, features breakfast sandwiches on brioche buns ($12), superfood bowls ($13) and whole wheat sourdough toasts ($14), all as stunning as the setting, down to the heart-shaped serving vessels. Sandwiches, such as the Feels Like Home (fried chicken, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, smoked cheddar cheese, pickles and sriracha mayo), tower. Toasts (one large slice per order) include So In Love, which describes our feelings about that item, rife with an avocado spread, halved soft-boiled eggs, sprouts and hot sauce drizzles. Bowls are generous; the Just Saying Hi, a verdant puree of spinach, kale, bananas and avocado topped with mango and pineapple chunks and a surfeit of whole, deshelled roasted pistachios, easily serves two or three.
Butter Me Up is the brainchild of D.C. entrepreneur Andre McCain, whom Westfield Montgomery approached to open an outpost of HalfSmoke, his sausage-centric D.C. restaurant and bar, in their food court. (It debuted in late July; a Rockville Town Center location is slated to open by the end of this year, says McCain.) While at Westfield Montgomery to look at the space, he noticed that Aroma Espresso Bar on the other side of the mall was vacant and thought it perfect for Butter Me Up. McCain’s pre-pandemic Butter Me Up idea was a pancake place (hence the name), but during the COVID-19 shutdown he opted for breakfast sandwiches, which are more takeout-friendly. He operated a ghost kitchen out of the D.C. HalfSmoke but outgrew it, selling 72,000 sandwiches in a year. After sampling one, it’s easy to see why.
Butter Me Up has a full liquor license and offers made-to-order smoothies and juice blends. The Lottery Ticket, made with coconut, coconut water, mint and pineapple, is delicious. Coffee is sourced from Red Rooster Coffee in Floyd, Virginia.
The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. daily and closes at 6 p.m. on Sunday and at 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Paris in Town
4903 Cordell Ave., Bethesda |240-552-5299 | parisintown.com
When Diane Himmich and her husband, chef Beni Himmich, moved to Bethesda in 2016, the idea was to create a D.C.-area version of Paris in Town, the North Palm Beach, Florida, bakery and cafe they’ve been operating since 2007. They settled on the window-filled former Fuse Taco space at the corner of Cordell and Norfolk avenues, signing the lease in December 2019. Due to various COVID delays, they didn’t open until this past April.
Diane’s family moved from Alexandria, Virginia, to Potomac when she was in seventh grade. She studied French at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, then at UCLA, and then at the Sorbonne. While in Paris, she met Beni. That she is a Francophile is evident in the furnishings of her 2,000-square-foot Bethesda cafe, which seats 40 inside and six outside: white and gray marble tables with wrought iron bases, farmhouse dining chairs with woven rush seats, copper pots hanging from the ceiling and French wallpaper. French music plays in the background.
Paris in Town provides table service, rather than counter. “For us, it’s about the experience,” Diane says. “We want contact with people, to give them service. Table service can be quick but still elegant and nice.” On the breakfast menu are baked goods (sweet and savory croissants, Danish pastries and cinnamon buns are sourced from Bethesda-based Fresh Baguette; breads from Hyattsville’s Lyon Bakery) and entrees ($7.50 to $16) such as scrambled eggs; scrambled egg sandwiches (one with smoked salmon, another with provolone cheese and bacon or sausage); housemade quiches (Lorraine, goat cheese and red pepper, tomato and basil, and spinach); and a wide variety of crepes. Most are sweet—filled with Nutella, strawberries, bananas and the like—but there is also a ham and cheese crepe, with or without scrambled eggs.
Paris in Town serves Nespresso espresso drinks and Farmer Brothers coffee. They have a retail and dine-in beer and wine license, so order a mimosa with breakfast and take home a bottle of wine from a selection that highlights small French vintners.
The breakfast menu is available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday.
7707 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda | 240-539-3410 | seventhstaterestaurant.com
There’s something alluring about the energy of a hotel dining room at breakfast. On our late summer visit to Seventh State, the restaurant inside the new Marriott Bethesda Downtown hotel, a young woman sits alone at a table on the patio, alternating between tapping on her laptop, sipping a cappuccino and nibbling French toast with sliced bananas, maple syrup and chocolate sauce. At one table inside, two men talk business. At another, a single diner scrolls through his phone while a server delivers a cold-pressed juice made with apples, ginger, lemon and a bit of cayenne pepper. In the corner, two children climb the back of a round corner booth while adults, likely their parents and grandparents, try to turn their attention to bowls of oatmeal and sliced apples.
The 3,125-square-foot ground-level restaurant—its name refers to Maryland, the seventh state to enter the Union—seats 55 inside and 36 outside. The design, a study in beige and earth tones, is contemporary, featuring high ceilings and, as a focal point, a copper-domed wood-fired oven. Floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls (open in good weather) fill the space with light.
In addition to riffs on a smoked salmon everything bagel and a breakfast sando (scrambled eggs, bacon, avocado), Seventh State’s nine entree options ($12 to $18) include eggs any style, a ham omelet and a tomato frittata. The standout is the shakshuka—a small cast-iron skillet of hearty cinnamon-, clove- and sumac-spiced tomato sauce dotted with feta chunks and topped with two fried eggs. For yolk sopping, strips of toasted flatbread sprinkled with za’atar seasoning (sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, sumac) accompany the dish. Another winner is a bowl of red and white quinoa, English peas and roasted vegetables dressed with lemon vinaigrette and crowned with a poached egg and squiggles of roasted pepper and sun-dried tomato sauce.
Seventh State has a full liquor license. They serve Starbucks coffee and Pure Green cold-pressed juices.
Breakfast is available from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
More spots offering breakfast fare
11321 Seven Locks Road, Suite 100 (Cabin John Village), Potomac
The Cafe at Zinnia
9201 Colesville Road, Silver Spring 301-704-6653
4836 Boiling Brook Pkwy.
121 Market St. (Kentlands),
7940 Airpark Road (Montgomery County Airpark), Gaithersburg
8233 Fenton St., Silver Spring
Flip’d by IHOP
8537 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring
Scratch Kitchen & Bistro
18062 Georgia Ave., Olney
Coming soon (as of press time)
The Breakfast Club
8240 Fenton St., Silver Spring
1010 Wayne Ave., Silver Spring
David Hagedorn is the restaurant critic for Bethesda Magazine.
This story appears in the November/December 2022 issue of Bethesda Magazine.