Best Brunch in the Northeast?

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | July 22nd, 2009 | Restaurant Reviews

Lazy weekend mornings and brunches are quite a pairing.  While the advantage of staying in pjs as your make your own brunch at home is quite nice, the thought of having numerous food choices and no clean-up can make getting dressed worth the effort.

In an attempt to help those in the Northeast find the best brunch restaurants, I submitted a query to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) seeking recommendations for great brunch restaurants in New England and Upstate New York.  Many, many recommendations were received and reduced to one restaurant per state.  Unfortunately, Rhode Island and Vermont were not represented.

In the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that I have not dined at any of these restaurants, so each restaurant has provided a brief summary of its brunch.  Please take the time and vote for the brunch that awakens your appetite the most.  The most popular brunch will be announced on Wednesday, August 5th.

Finally, don’t forget to submit a comment about your brunch of choice.  One comment will be chosen at random, and the author will awarded a gift certificate to the winning restaurant.

Without further ado, here are the Northeast Best Brunch nominees:

Damariscotta River Grill, Damariscotta, Maine

The Damariscotta River Grill serves regional, upscale comfort food, and Sunday brunch is a delightful treat.  Specialty coffees, cocktails and quintessential Maine ingredients give Chef Rick Hirsch a platform for culinary creativity.  Menu highlights include Pemaquid oysters–fresh from the Damariscotta River–with a “Three-Ring Circus” of sauces (mignonette, snappy jalapeno relish and the Grill’s own fresh horseradish sauce), lobster BLT, clam chowder, banana foster pancakes and stuffed French toast.  The menu is a masterpiece.  Furthermore, Chef Hirsch’s commitment to supporting Maine farmers, producers and fishermen means that this local treasure is supported by its community and visitors “from away.”

Eagle Mountain House, Jackson, New Hampshire

Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Eagle Mountain House is everything you’d expect from this grand Sunday feast that has been served every Sunday for over one hundred years. Long winding tables filled with flowers and foods that may include Belgian waffles, poached salmon, Eggs Benedict, seafood, omelets made fresh-to-order, seasonal fruit, freshly baked pastries, desserts, and more. All deliciously savored and accompanied by a complimentary glass of champagne. Sunday Champagne Brunch has long been regarded as on of the best in the Mount Washington Valley.

Nashoba Valley Winery & Orchard, Bolton, Massachusetts

Nashoba Valley Winery & Orchard presents the absolute best of New England by combining a rustic farm house overlooking vineyards and orchards with a brunch that captures the magic of local farms.  Years of success have been sustained by a continued and evolving commitment to local quality and perfection.  From produce, herbs and fruits grown in our own gardens, orchards and vineyards to the very best available from neighbors, local farms, friends and artisans, we are passionate about exceeding expectations.  The presentation of foods and diversity of wines, all produced on site, captures the essence of creative dining and sustainable farming.

Rizzuto’s Wood-Fired Kitchen & Bar, West Hartford, Connecticut

Rizzuto’s Wood-Fired Kitchen & Bar, an exciting Italian restaurant and gathering place in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square shopping, dining  and entertainment district, combines warmth and hospitality with a rustic menu and exceptional wines. The multi-dimensional space dazzles with an active display kitchen, wood-fired oven, antipasti bar, dining room as well as counter seating, an expansive bar with high-top seating, and our wine room.

Carriage House Café, Ithaca, New York

The Carriage House Café in Ithaca, New York, is a beautifully restored, 160-year-old, cobblestone barn, built circa 1850. A historic site near Cornell University, it’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Our mission is to provide a haven in which visitors may enjoy the finest quality, hand-crafted food and drinks in an atmosphere of rustic elegance. One of the most popular brunch items at the café is our Brie-Stuffed French Toast. King Arthur Flour is baked into a house-made brioche, battered with Finger Lakes eggs, and served with NYS maple syrup and house-made raspberry coulis.

Now, the hard part:






  1. tara says:

    awesome, delicious food, great coffee…. just perfect

  2. Desiree says:

    The Brie-Stuffed french toast sound to die for!!! Yum!!

  3. Natalia D. says:

    Just delicious!

  4. Frances says:

    Love their savory scone!!! (carriage house!!)

  5. Tracey Schaaf says:

    Damariscotta Grille has the BEST brunch anywhere–and we’ve been to a lot of places. Rick Hirsch is one of the most innovative chefs in the Northeast, and he continues to amaze and surprise his customers, even after years of loyal visits. Quite simply, we go back and back and back because (lucky for us) we can! We have never, ever, had a bad or even so-so dish at the Grille. They are all fabulous.

  6. Wendy says:

    I’ve gotta say, I love the Carriage House, but the Damariscotta River Grill is in another class – especially when you factor service into the mix. When you’re talking leisurely meals with lots of coffee, service really talks!

  7. Elizabeth Young says:

    Carriage House Cafe is superb. I can’t think of a nicer place to relax for brunch and enjoy food prepared with excellance in every regard, with attentive cheerful waitstaff. Cast my vote-they are #1

  8. Brian says:

    The Brie-Stuffed French Toast at the Carriage House is amazing. Pair that with a side of potatoes and a coffee, and you’re all set!

  9. Crystal says:

    Carriage House for life!

  10. Jim says:

    The Grill continues to impress. The attention to detail and presentation are only equaled by the generous portions and superb quality of the food.

  11. Callen says:

    Brunch is my all time favorite meal ever, and Carriage House hands down does it the best! From their Brie-Stuffed French toast to their fresh baked goods and delicious coffee, it’s where I take my parents, dates, friends, and out of town visitors if we’re in the mood for a brunch! 🙂 yum! I think I might actually go there this sunday now that I think of it….

  12. christian says:

    The Grill: Down East and Divine Eats!

  13. Debbie Danielson says:

    The Damariscotta River Grill is in a class by itself. There are so many wonderful items on the menu that it is hard to choose. The chef, Rick Hirsch, makes fabulous baked goodies, Banana Fosters Pancakes, Corned Beef Hash and the best Blintzes you have ever tasted! They could win any contest! The list goes on and on. Jean Kerrigan Hirsch makes sure the service is perfect. She makes you feel like you are one of the family with her warmth and generosity. This restaurant can’t be beat! A visit to Maine is not complete without dining at the Damariscotta River Grill.

Comments on Best Brunch in the Northeast?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.