It’s easy to drop a couple of 20s on brunch in Washington, but what if you want to keep the damage to around a five-spot? Skip the fast-food chains and cast a watchful eye on these locally owned places that offer breakfast dishes for $6 or less — nearly the same amount as an overpriced cup of coffee.
Georgia Avenue’s Heat Da Spot cafe has more couches than Central Perk did on “Friends” — and is just as welcoming as that famous hangout seemed on TV. To wit: The WiFi password is a play on the phase “Get Cozy With Us.” Look past the wall of mismatched mugs to the clipboards displaying the multitude of breakfast options, including a $9.99 Ethiopian-style spread with injera, eggs, onions, peppers, tomatoes and ful (a mashed bean dish).
Less expensive is a $5.99 sandwich. The hearty bagel variety comes with crispy bacon (or ham or sausage), eggs and onions smothered with cheese. Switch the bagel out for another carb such as toast, or try the B.E.L.T. (an egg added to the classic combo).
Just don’t miss the bright-green squeeze bottle labeled “secret sauce.” Its exact recipe, which features such ingredients as garlic, jalapeño and Ethiopian salt, is indeed a secret, but a staff member did reveal what makes it so special: “It’s a secret sauce made with love.”
Steam pours out of a pillow-shaped Egyptian pita as soon as it hits the table. Use the bread to scoop a big bite of the creamy, slow-cooked fava beans while both are piping hot. An inviting restaurant decorated with murals of famous Egyptians, Fava Pot is eponymously named for this bean dish (similar to refried beans), topped with olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, cilantro and red onions. A version of the dish is often eaten for breakfast in Egypt, and it’s on the menu here for just $5.90.
The bang for your buck gets even better if chef-owner Dina Daniel walks around handing out another helping of the puffy bread, known as aish baladi. That’s way better than Olive Garden’s unending breadsticks.
Other inexpensive items on the menu include a pistachio baklava for $3.90 and a filling koshary dish for $5.90 — made of caramelized onions, lentils, rice, pasta, chickpeas and a very fiery sauce.
7393 D Lee Hwy., Falls Church. Breakfast hours: Available all day. Opens at 7:30 a.m. daily.
It seems like hundreds of pupusa fans could fit into the cavernous dining room at the Glenmont location of local Salvadoran and Honduran eatery Irene’s. There isn’t much atmosphere here beyond rows of booths, packed-in tables and a stage by the bar. Luckily, the pupusas are way more of a draw than the decor.
At this pupuseria, $6 goes a long way: Each corn cake is priced at about $2.50, and one nearly covers your plate. There are 10 options to choose from — warm tortillas stuffed with gooey cheese and toppings ranging from beans and zucchini to fried pork and chicken. Can’t decide? Order the “mixta con todo,” the “everything” option. When paired with tangy, spice-flecked cabbage, two would more than keep hunger at bay.
12391 Georgia Ave., Glenmont; 2218 University Blvd. E., Hyattsville. Breakfast hours: Available all day at both locations. Glenmont: Opens at 9:30 a.m. daily. Hyattsville: Opens at 8:30 a.m. daily.
Walking into the Bob and Edith’s in Huntington on a weekend morning often means instantly joining a line that stretches to the door. That’s how popular this no-frills local chain can be, with a constant flow of families and friends lining up for the chance to seat themselves at the tiled diner’s blue tables and metal bar stools.
To avoid cracking the $6 mark, scan the side-order section of the menu and create your own plate. For example: Combine a glistening order of $2.79 hash browns with scrapple or a half smoke, each $3.19. It’s instant portion control, and the fare here is everything you’d want from a diner. Waiters are happy to refill your coffee mug over and over, but don’t linger: A sign on the wall reminds diners that “management reserves the right to limit seating time to half an hour.”
At Sunrise Cafe, diners can grab such essentials as Advil, M&M’s and, perhaps more important, a cheap yet tasty breakfast. There’s barely room to turn around in this old-school joint near Farragut Square, as construction workers, cubicle dwellers and tourists towing suitcases order all manner of breakfast sandwiches. Think every combination of egg, cheese, meat and bread: The array of options start at just $2.95 for an egg on toast and go up to $5.99 for an egg and cheese sandwich packed with hash browns and meat (bacon or sausage), served on toast, a croissant or a bagel. Or get your morning meal wrapped in a tortilla, with a very weighty $5.99 burrito, studded with peppers, onions, potato and a folded sheet of eggs.
1102 17th St. NW. Breakfast hours: Available all day. Opens at 7 a.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The waffle irons are ready to go at 7:11 sharp weekday mornings at this 14th Street restaurant devoted to Belgian cuisine. Eat in the quiet dining room or get a bite to go before breakfast service ends at 11:07 a.m. Those quirky hours aren’t an accident: B Too’s chef and owner Bart Vandaele intended this to be a playful place to kick off the day (also seen via the menu’s $3.75 “doffle,” a doughnut crossed with a waffle).
Even though the setting is fancier, with clothlike paper napkins, the prices aren’t: You have four choices of waffles under the $6 mark, spanning from a $5.99 waffle with scrambled eggs to a $4.58 Liege waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar. The most intriguing (at $4.85) comes with a surprise: The perfect golden-brown square, topped with scallions, hides a poached egg in its center.