Growing up in New Jersey, no lesson was drilled into my head more than this: breakfast sandwiches are a gift from above.
No matter if it’s a pork roll, egg and cheese towering on top of an everything bagel or a mere sausage patty on a kaiser roll, nothing beats a warm breakfast between two pieces of bread.
And since moving to the DMV, I realize that this place doesn’t skimp when it comes to the sandwiches that start their day.
From rich biscuits calling you down south to Cubanos that change the way you see breakfast breads, here is a list of DMV breakfast sandwiches that stand out in the crowd.
The Staycation at Butter Me Up
What I love about this sandwich is that it takes a relatively straightforward concept and makes it decadent and lasting in impression. Sure, it’s always going to be egg and cheese on a roll. But the way that the incredibly creamy egg scramble meshes with the onions and avocado is awe-inspiring. And nothing makes for a more delightful surprise than the goat cheese. It’s such a distinct and well-paired choice for this rich brioche bun. $12. Butter Me Up: Montgomery Mall (Entrance #4) 7101 Democracy Blvd. SPC 1158 Bethesda, MD; buttermeupdc.com
The Buttermilk Biscuit with NY Sharp Cheddar at Bayou Bakery
Nothing wins my heart over more than classic Louisiana bakeries. But instead of constantly heading down to New Orleans for a bite, an impressive substitute is ordering this simple yet stellar sandwich at Arlington’s Bayou Bakery. The inviting softness of the biscuit paired with this cheese’s mature flavor is a great way to start your lazy mornings and sets the bar for what all buttermilk biscuits should strive toward. Don’t forget to sample their spiritually-lifting beignets while you’re at it. $4.50. Bayou Bakery: 1515 N. Courthouse Rd. Arlington, VA; bayoubakeryva.com // @bayoubakery
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The Open-Faced Smoked Salmon Sammie at A Baked Joint
Ever since devoting myself to a pescetarian diet, I have been ecstatic to dive back into the world of smoked fish for breakfast. And sure enough, A Baked Joint’s smoked salmon on toasted baguette is a stand-up way to start that dive. The scallion cream cheese invites you to its onion flavor, but doesn’t overwhelm the creaminess of the spread. And it only seeks to compliment the salmon on top. There is no struggle between the dominant flavor notes. $13. A Baked Joint: 430 K St. NW, DC; abakedjoint.com // @abakedjoint
English Muffin Egg and Cheese at Baker’s Daughter
When ingredients are of high quality, simplicity sometimes reigns supreme. This English muffin egg sandwich that is offered all-day embodies this philosophy. Fluffy eggs folded with cheese, rests on a perfectly toasted English Muffin. The finishing touches of a sweet sundried tomato aioli and peppery arugula make this sandwich a perfect way to start the day. $8. Baker’s Daughter: Multiple locations. bakersdaughterdc.com // @bakersdaughterdc
The Everything Bagel with Vegetable Cream Cheese at Nerds & Nibblers
For someone like myself who grew up with New Jersey breakfast culture, but also became the stereotypical college vegetarian, a veggie cream cheese on everything is the definitive benchmark of any breakfast menu. Not only is it a measure of the bagel’s bake and texture when colliding with the schmear, but it also shows how that baked outside works with the distinct veggie flavor instead of masking it. It’s a team effort that Nerds & Nibblers knocks out of the park. $3.95. Nerds & Nibblers: 1451 L St. NW, DC; nerdsandnibblers.com
The Egg Whites on a Croissant at City Place Cafe
This might just be me, but another firm indicator of a proper brekkie menu is its quality of contrast. And nothing shows this leveling achievement better than egg whites on a croissant. Without the richness of the yellow yolk, this sandwich welcomes the opportunity for the croissant to shine through as this crisp yet equally soft component. It’s also a great way to see if egg whites are given the attention that makes the extra 50 cents worth it. City Place Cafe takes the effort to master this little litmus test of mine. $4.84+. City Place Cafe: 1101 17th St. NW, DC; cityplacecafedc.com // @cityplacecafedc
The Croissant Sandwich at Tatte Bakery
So we’ve discussed croissants as a stand-out sandwich vehicle, but how about a croissant sandwich that has multiple attention-capturing components? Tatte Bakery has this wonderful menu item that features the classic pastry with Vermont cheddar, baby arugula and my all-time favorite: avocado. With so many quality ingredients, it’s a true mark of excellence how they work together in just one culinary experience. $11. Tatte Bakery: Multiple Locations; tattebakery.com // @tattebakery
Egg & Smoked Gouda on a Biscuit at The Green Bee Cafe
You gotta love a place that stands by their cheese. Back home, selecting a cheese for your breakfast sandwich is as telling as a zodiac sign. As soon as you choose it, the world reads you like a book. So when I saw that The Green Bee made the effort to distinctly choose smoked gouda, I knew they saw themselves as a cultured yet modern place. They’re unique just like smoked gouda. $7.50. The Green Bee Cafe: 1129 20th St. NW, DC; thegreenbeecafe.com
The Mountainview at Call Your Mother Deli
It wouldn’t be a DMV breakfast sandwich roundup without Call Your Mother, the District’s bagel-obsessed pride and joy. Showcasing quality bakes while playing around with Jewish American cuisine and amazing tastes beyond it, Call Your Mother’s Mountainview is the sandwich that my more stubborn cohorts from the Garden State would adore. It’s bodega eggs with American and cheddar cheese on a plain bagel, but it pushes even the most conservative sandwich fans forward with the addition of a crisp latke and rich avocado for much-desired contrast. It’s a total gateway to the other amazing features on their menu. $9. Call Your Mother Deli: Multiple Locations; callyourmotherdeli.com // @callyourmotherdeli
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Honey & Goat Cheese on a Bagel at Bullfrog Bagels
Joining bagel sandwiches with a twinge of sweetness is an amazing concept to me. And with this honey and cheese pairing, you get to slightly dip your toes into sweetness with a robust and mature start. The honey by no means overwhelms the sandwich. Instead, it serves as an accent to the goat cheese’s one-of-a-kind cut of flavor. It’s a subtle route into sweeter domains and reminds me of a quaint charcuterie board. $4.45. Bullfrog Bagels: Multiple Locations; bullfrogbagels.com // @bullfrogbagels
The Spinach & Egg Whites on Cuban Bread at Colada Shop
Colada’s breakfast sandwiches make a strong case for Cuban bread becoming another iconic breakfast staple. Toasted to perfection and paired with Swiss cheese that mingles beautifully with the spinach, this sandwich is a texture playground, and it’s all thanks to this versatile bread choice. $8.75. Colada Shop: Multiple Locations; coladashop.com
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