By Maria Rodriguez
Sausage and eggs on a pillowy biscuit. Advertising copy of the most unremarkable sort. Common to McDonalds as well as white tablecloth establishments, and yet such words are nowhere more true than at Bayou Bakery in Eastern Market.
Brunch, so sacred in D.C., can get a little complacent and bland in what’s offered. Do you want eggs or bacon? Fruit? Oatmeal? You can find that nearly anywhere. You can also find spicy brunches of a Latin or Indian flair. But back to the basics, when they’re done well, the simple becomes a subtle definition of excellence.
Bayou Bakery has mostly typical breakfast offerings, with a slant to the southern U.S. There’s the usual bacon and eggs, but there are also biscuits and gravy. Oatmeal with toppings grace the menu alongside grits. Beignets and gumbo pop-up as well. Really, nothing is overly remarkable – except for its execution. Really good home cookin’. Quality tastebuddery.
Last weekend, I went there with a couple of friends. It’s not really a restaurant. It’s more of a souped-up coffeeshop. There’s a heavy neighborhood feel, like it’s something full of local regulars who are used to sharing with city trend-seekers. In classic D.C. fashion, there’s a deep connection with history. The building which Bayou Bakery calls home was a carriage house commissioned for the Old Naval Hospital by none other than the storied President Lincoln.
Walking in the entrance, you run smack into the bar where you place your order. There’s no table service here, you read the menu, tell the man what you want, and pay, all in the same place. An espresso machine and alcohol mini-fridge share space behind the bar. Freshly pulled espresso drinks, aromatic brewed coffee – straight from local roaster Counter Culture coffee, abound in colorful mugs, scarred by their frequent use. Breakfast cocktails are bright and basic, they are made without much fanciness but stay quite tasty. Their mimosa comes in a simple flute, and their Bloody Mary comes in a mason jar rimmed with spices. Homey-ness done well.
Bakery fare accompanies breakfast. They have a display case chock full of delectable pastries. Common shapes like cookies or muffins are given a slight twinge of unique and trendy glitz. For instance, I went up for a muffin, and my choices were a variation on apple, and…vanilla bean? Yep. That was basically cake. And deliciously so!
For any interested in a good breakfast/brunch, with some traditional southern additions, Bayou Bakery makes for a good weekend stop.