Where to go for New Year’s Day brunch in Vancouver, no reservations
Once the Champagne has been popped and Auld Lang Syne has been sung, it’s time to ring in the new year with a good meal. Whether you’re on your way home after a night of celebrating or well-rested and ready for your first meal of 2013, here are some restaurants that will be open for brunch on January 1. None take reservations, so roll in at your leisure.
Just about every item on the brunch menu at Twisted Fork Bistro (1147 Granville Street) is made from scratch. “We make everything in-house, from the jam for brunch to the ketchup to the bread,” says chef and co-owner Corey Sullivan in a phone interview. For diners with big appetites, Sullivan recommends the eggs Benny ($12.05), which has a toasted brioche base and comes in seven varieties; the honey lager sausage is a standout. The dish is served with sautéed spinach, Swiss-style rösti potatoes, and baked beans. Those wanting a sugar rush should order the banana-stuffed brioche French toast ($12.05), sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar, and served with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream. “It’s one of the only sweet things that we have, and it’s a big, huge meal,” Sullivan says. Twisted Fork also serves French press coffee with endless refills. Doors open at 10 a.m. and customers are seated until 2:30 p.m.
Also downtown is Commune Café (1002 Seymour Street), which will serve brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on New Year’s Day. The licensed café uses organic and local ingredients whenever possible, and brews Vancouver’s 49th Parallel coffee. While there are plenty of light options on the menu, including caramelized apple oatmeal ($7) and a granola and yogurt parfait ($6), co-owner Amir Samei recommends trying the corned beef hash ($13) made with braised cabbage, two poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. The Really Good Pancakes ($9) also live up to their name. “We basically make everything in-house, and our maple syrup is mixed with [spiced] rum,” Samei says.
At the Red Wagon Restaurant (2296 East Hastings Street), pancakes are also a crowd-pleaser. “Our pulled pork pancakes [$12.50] are obviously the main draw,” says chef and owner Brad Miller of the flapjack tower layered with pulled pork and topped with Jack Daniels maple syrup. “As far as hangover food goes, I can’t imagine anything being much better than that.” Miller also recommends the crisp pork belly ($11.25), which comes with two eggs, potatoes, grilled tomatoes, salsa verde, hollandaise sauce, and toast, and has been a popular request since it was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. “That’s what Triple-D made big and that’s what seems to be big,” Miller says. The coffee comes from North Vancouver’s roasters Casa del Caffé, and vodka or tequila Caesars can be mixed up if you’re still in party mode. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
If you follow a special diet or you’re brunching with someone who does, the Wallflower Modern Diner (2420 Main Street)—open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 1—accommodates vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free diners. General manager Crystal Sevigny says that the vegan Benny ($12) is a favourite amongst non-carnivore customers. “It’s an English muffin, Portobello mushroom, our cheesy sauce, and tofu ricotta,” Sevigny says, noting that the cheese sauce is made in-house using Daiya vegan cheese; the dish is served with hash browns. For meat eaters, the Crystal Benny ($12) is the most popular dish, made with bacon, Cheddar, and avocado. The breakfast poutine ($10) is also a big hit. “It’s a big bowl of hash browns, cheese curds, bacon, and chicken gravy with two poached eggs on top of it,” Sevigny says. The Wallflower offers drip coffee with free refills.
Across town, expect to stand in line outside at Jethro’s Fine Grub (3420 Dunbar Street). For many diners, the wait is worth it. The small eatery will be serving brunch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 1, and may be the perfect stop on the way home for all-night partiers. “For the New Year’s Day hangover, I would go for the Cowboy’s Breakfast [$12] simply for the assortment of pork on one plate,” co-owner Emily Jane Stuart says by phone. The platter includes three eggs, smoked bacon, sausage, grilled chorizo, chili-smothered hash browns, and corn cakes. For a dish that’s more refined, Stuart suggests the crab cake Benedict ($12), which features house-made crab cakes served with hash browns and toast. While the restaurant isn’t licensed, Stuart says that coffee-drinkers always leave happy. “Coffee is $2 and our waitresses are militant about refilling.”