There’s an old cliché that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Scientists have long debated the truth of that one. But on Long Island, you can make a solid argument that brunch is the most delicious one — at least on the weekends. Specifically, in the Hamptons, a place with getaway appeal, brunch allows diners to sleep in and devour a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich (if you know, you know) after 12 p.m.
Whether you live on the South Fork full-time or part-time or are there for a getaway, brunch is anecdotally known to reduce family feuds and marital strife. Should we go out for breakfast or lunch? A brunch menu is generous with both options, so there’s no room for fights (or in your belly after). Though some restaurants scale back after Tumbleweed Tuesday, other Hamptons restaurants boast winter brunch menus, proving the region is far from seasonal (but the menu’s fresh ingredients still often are). Plan on a light dinner when pulling up a table at any of these Hamptons brunch spots this winter.
Lauded for its Mediterranean menu and lunch and dinner foods cooked on a wood-burning grill and oven, Lulu Kitchen & Bar has a brunch that just might be one of the South Fork’s best-kept secrets. The brunch menu recently got an upgrade with European-inspired dishes like a crêpes a l’orange with Grand Marnier and vanilla cream, orange marmalade and blood orange. Pairing it with a mimosa is a natural choice. For a true breakfast-lunch hybrid, opt for the raclette fonduta. The dish serves two and features a pair of sunny-side-up eggs, raclette cheese, potato, pickled cucumber, and a truffled herb salad.
In a sea of spacious white tablecloth restaurants with harbor front views, Estia’s Little Kitchen stands out for being a humble roadside abode with an eclectic Mexican menu bursting with flavor. Breakfast and lunch are served six days per week (excluding Tuesdays). The early birds get the pancakes — that menu includes chocolate chip, buttermilk and blueberry pancakes and stops at noon. But omelets can be gobbled up until 2:30 p.m., including a gooey Nacho Mama’s with tomato, pepper jack cheese, jalapeño and onion. Tacos and burritos have eggs and veggies, perfectly toeing the line between morning and midday meals.
This approachable local café loved for its amiable service and necessarily strong coffee made from organic, fair-trade beans roasted on-site is a Shelter Island workhorse. It’s open 363 to 364 days per year (only closing on Christmas and sometimes New Year’s). Make-your-own omelets allow diners to start the day their way, and Mexican-inspired dishes like burritos and huevos rancheros have vegetarian, meaty, mild and spicy options.
In the winter when it’s too cold to enjoy the pretty outdoor porch overlooking the sprawling lawn dotted with Adirondack chairs and Coecles Harbor, you won’t mind cozying up in Ram’s Head’s pretty fireplace warmed dining room for duck confit hash, veggie-packed omelets and braised short-rib poutine. With excellent cocktails mixed up by magic Mike Darby, you may want to see if there’s any room at the inn and stick around for dinner.
This unfussy spot is casual, but tons of thought goes into the chef-curated farm-to-fork dishes and cocktail menus, and the brunch offerings are no exception. A quinoa and greens bowl is ideal for people with wellness on the mind this winter. Fuel up on a dish full of cucumber, asparagus, avocado and feta cheese — salmon and chicken can be added for a protein boost. For something savory on a cold Hamptons afternoon, spring for the soul-soothing mac and cheese made from a proprietary blend.
This whimsical Westhampton Beach eatery, owned by the same team behind Rumba and Cowfish, has a bright, airy interior with Sputnik chandeliers, tasteful greenery at every turn and white tablecloths. The year-round restaurant boasts a weekend brunch menu that lasts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — so honestly, there is no shame in sleeping past noon. The caramel apple French toast and brunch burger with sunny-side-up eggs will be waiting even if the sun is about to set. Also, in a unique twist, Flora also sells seeds like those for Crimson Clover and Mexican Lupine for you to plant in your garden for a natural, sustainably-driven landscape as vibrant as the restaurant’a menu.
Saturdays and Sundays are for brunching at Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House. Bonus: Since it’s an inn, diners can play and stay — consider it a spot for a winter staycation complete with brunch not far from your bed. The brunch menu is served from 11:30 to 3 p.m. and includes some expected choices from a restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef like egg toast caviar and black truffle and fontina cheese pizza. Classic dishes like scrambled eggs and a warm Maine lobster roll that prove the dish is not a summer-only experience.