With Lake Champlain stretching before the city and the Adirondacks rising behind it, it’s hard to find a bad view in Burlington. Vermonters and tourists alike are constantly on the move between downtown’s bustling Church Street, the lake-shore, and the mountains. The majority of Burlington brunches feature Vermont and New England vegetables and meats. We check out the ten best places to enjoy brunch in Burlington.
Bistro, American, European, Vegan, $$$
After opening in 2006, Magnolia Bistro became the first Green Certified restaurant in Vermont. The restaurant is committed to purchasing non- GMO grains, composting organic materials and limiting energy use. Magnolia has many partnerships with farms throughout the state of Vermont, who supply their ingredients and offer the restaurant the chance to really get involved with the origins of food production. The chefs and floor staff at Magnolia are accommodating to those who desire vegan or gluten-free options, making sure that every diner leaves satisfied. Select from a lengthy brunch menu that includes fluffy lemon-ricotta pancakes, tofu scrambles and eggs benedict.
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Mirabelles is a beautiful Burlington secret located at the heart of downtown, steps away from Church Street. The bakery prepares the best pastries in town, best enjoyed with a hearty coffee and fresh from the oven. Flaky croissants and the charming, light and airy interior make Mirabelles a perfect spot for a sunny brunch. If looking for the full works, Mirabelles offers sustainable, organic meat and their hash browns are famously delicious. Check the blackboards above the counter for many daily specials, reflecting European influences as well as All-American home-style cooking. Try their ‘Popover’ breakfast with herbed scrambled eggs or choose the breakfast tostada with chorizo.
Penny Cluse is one of the most popular brunch destinations in Burlington. A multi-level home converted into a restaurant, the space is cozy and bustling with a lively yet laid-back atmosphere. Due to its warm and inviting vibe and delicious food, a long wait for a table has become somewhat customary at the weekend. If the line is too long, try Penny Cluse’ sister restaurant Lucky Next Door which is, as the name suggests, located next door. The excellent quality ingredients and extensive menu at Penny Cluse is however, undoubtedly worth the wait. Try the eponymous dish – two eggs, home-fries and biscuits with herb cream gravy, or opt for the Zydeco breakfast; two eggs, black beans, Andouille sausage, and corn muffins.
Located near the shore of Lake Champlain and walking distance from Burlington’s downtown and Church Street, the Skinny Pancake is a delightful place for a late morning feast. Skinny Pancake is owned by Jonny and Benjy Adler, two brothers whose first version of the restaurant was a traveling vending cart. In 2007, the cart was cast aside and the Burlington premise was established. The restaurant welcomes musicians to perform in the space on a regular basis and is actively involved in the Burlington community. The Skinny Pancake is best known for its sweet and savory crepes, drawing in visitors from across the region. Select from a long list including the ‘localvore’s dream’: locally-sourced chicken, cranberry-apple chutney, blue cheese and arugula on a whole-wheat crepe.
Whilst perhaps best-known for their inventive flatbread pizzas prepared in their wood-fired earthen oven, American Flatbread also offer unique brunch options over the course of the weekend. Their brunch-style flatbreads include an eggs benedict pizza with tomatoes, capicola, eggs, and rich hollandaise or, if looking for something a little lighter, try an egg white frittata with basil puree, greens, artichoke, roasted red pepper and chevre. American Flatbread is located in downtown Burlington and in addition to their two brunch pies, they offer a wide selection of salads, savory flatbreads, and delicious desserts all carefully crafted using local ingredients.
Located on cobblestoned Church Street, Leunig’s prides itself on its delicious, authentic French bistro fare. The restaurant offers a slightly more elegant brunch than many of its farm-to-table counterparts in Burlington, describing itself as offering the ‘panache of Paris and the value of Vermont’. Brunch is served on the weekends and includes gluten-free options to cater for all tastes and requirements. Try the steak and eggs – featuring a marinated grilled steak with a port wine demi-glace – or the typically Montreal chicken-fried-steak poutine, finishing with decadent pumpkin French toast.
Myer’s Bagel Bakery is not a traditional brunch spot, but rather a no-frills store that serves the best Montreal-style bagel sandwiches in Vermont. Montreal bagels are distinct due to having a larger hole in the middle, being made with slightly sweeter dough and being wood-fired. The Myer’s Bagel Bakery is now under new management, simultaneously introducing a gluten-free bagel to celebrate a new, inclusive attitude. Try lox and cream cheese on a Montreal spiced bagel, or buy a selection of flavors and create a perfect picnic to enjoy on the shore of Lake Champlain.
Nunyuns is owned by a husband and wife team in Burlington’s Old North End. The restaurant uses only the very best produce and organic meats harvested at local farms, ensuring the finest farm-to-table fare. The establishment is known for its unfailingly thorough service and attention to detail – staff and chefs are all willing to accommodate special requests, even during a busy brunch. Nunyuns menu is also very affordable – the fried egg on a flaky buttermilk biscuit is only $4.50. The restaurant is committed to making a difference and supports community projects, becoming a warm and inclusive gathering place for community members.
Rustic Roots is new to the Burlington brunch scene, owned by a couple from New Jersey and opened in 2013. Whilst the restaurant is located outside of the city, the delicious food is well worth the 20-minute drive from Burlington’s downtown to its location in Shelburne. With a focus on local foods expertly prepared, the menu at Rustic Roots changes with the seasons. All breakfasts are served with caramelized onion and herb potatoes – a local favourite that simply cannot be replicated at home. A particularly popular item on the menu is the magnificent ‘Rustic Breakfast’; two eggs, coffee, maple sausage, Canadian ham, and a popover. If in the mood for something sweet, try the gingerbread French toast with orange curd and candied ginger.
It is not an understatement to say that Sneakers is famous for its brunch. Having been owned by several individuals over the years, the current chef, Marc Dysinger, and his wife Jean are the recent pair tackling the venue with energy and vision. As the restaurant website declares, ‘Marc is a kitchen whiz who has been known to bake twenty-minute brownies in fifteen minutes flat and once defended a small African village from flesh eating ants with nothing more than a spatula and tongs’. While decidedly delicious, be prepared for a long wait as this Vermont institution is a popular haunt. Enjoy a coffee or bespoke cocktail whilst waiting at the restaurant bar, the Monkey House. After dining at Sneakers, the memory of Kahlua-battered French toast will leave you dreaming of eggy coconut until the next time you visit.