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Of the things we’ve given up in recent weeks, a few nonnecessities are especially hard pills to swallow. Brunch is one — a meal which, by its very nature, is joyous and life-affirming, from morning sunlight to oozing egg yolks, slender mimosas to sugar-dusted pancakes, and the lazy, bleary company of friends and family.
Yet there are still glimmers of maple-syrup-tinged hope for those who miss their (temporarily) bygone brunching days: A few Long Island restaurants, diners and even a taco spot have taken up the mantle of brunch to go, or delivered to your door, sometimes along with requisite day-drinking bloodies, too.
These nifty spreads range from a brunch box jammed with most everything your family might want to eat to breakfast nachos to large-format mimosas. It’s wise to be prepared for some dishes not to travel well — for instance, eggs Benedict can’t really hold its tenuous creaminess during a car ride — but aesthetics and temperature are the sacrifices we make when it comes to takeout. What you won’t give up is safety; restaurants say they are taking stringent measures to make sure the staff who prep your food are healthy. And since some of them are working for lesser wages these days, consider tipping generously.
Hatch (286 Main St., Huntington): This cheerfully decked out downtown spot may be closed for dine-in, but their brunch menu is definitely still open for business. Chef William Muzio and his team turn out oozy pretzel-bun breakfast sandwiches (melted Cheddar, scrambled eggs, Nueske’s bacon), cinnamon roll pancakes, corned-beef hash, avocado toast and a construction dubbed “hashtag tots and eggs” — a hillock of hash browns and tater tots covered with melted Cheddar and jack cheeses, as well as crumbled bacon, breakfast sausage, and eggs. Cue nap time — even more so if you add on some breakfast cocktails, from spiked espresso to mimosa. It might take persistence to get through via phone; delivery is through DoorDash. More info: 631-424-0780, hatchbrunch.com
Swell Taco (30 E. Main St., Patchogue): The Patchogue spur of this wildly popular taco spot has a hearty Mexican-style brunch spread — available Friday through Sunday — but before we get to the food, we need to shout out the to-go drinks menu, which not only features single-serve margaritas and sangria but a $30 “mimosa bar” of a bottle of dry Champagne with fresh juice (orange, pineapple or mango). Of course, you need to order food to get drinks (those are the state rules) and the noshes include breakfast nachos, a burrito filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, beans and other particulars, or cheese enchiladas with a sunny-side up egg. Most meals come with fried potatoes (called fried papas), and prices top out at $11.99 for a breakfast tostado. Takeout/pickup only. More info: 631-627-6710, swelltacoli.com
Whiskey Down Diner (252 Main St., Farmingdale): This funky Main Street diner is keeping the breakfast fires alive, and serving all day, which means brunch whenever you crave it. So what might that look like? Breakfast quesadillas, breakfast poutine (a tater tot-based version with eggs, bacon, Cheddar sauce and scallions) or “over easy benny” with baby spinach, bacon, eggs and sausage gravy. If you don't feel full just reading about it, consider the $40 brunch box, a trove of pancakes, scrambled eggs, home fries, French fries, bacon and sausage that feeds four to five people. Given the name of this place, it’s probably not a surprise they offer old fashioneds to go, too, as well as $5 mimosas and bloodies More info: 516-927-8264; whiskeydowndiner.com
Flour Shoppe Cafe (486 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre): Banana-crumb pancakes. Breakfast poutine. Shakshuka. These things don't seem like they should be possible in the time of pandemic — but at Flour Shoppe, all figure on the takeout (and delivery) menu, as are add-ons such as housemade turkey sausage or Thai basil jelly. While there’s no alcohol here, there are cold brew or lattes made from Ace Coffee, as well as t-shirts for sale that read “support your local caffeine dealer.” More info: 516-536-2253, flourshoppecafe.com
Brownstone's Coffee (Locations in West Islip, Amityville, East Northport and Centereach): This seemingly unstoppable local chain is still grilling up its entire breakfast-slash-brunch menu, from Grecian scrambles to banana-nut bites to salted caramel Belgian waffles, for pickup or delivery. On the drinks front, the pagoccinos and Brooklyn egg creams still flow, too, including on Easter Sunday. More info: brownstonescoffee.com
Pretty Toni’s Café (759 W. Merrick Rd., Valley Stream): The “home of the red velvet waffle,” as well as chicken and waffles, croissant French toast, cheese grits, and many other brunch goodies, still boxes these up for takeout every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (including Easter) from noon to 3:45 p.m. More info: 516-285-8664, prettytoniscafe.com
South Shore Dive (65 Main St, West Sayville): Wonder who's truly considered the remote brunch experience? This West Sayviille bar, who always push the envelope in myriad ways, and offer brunch seven days a week. South Shore Dive abides the zero-egg brunchers with chicken BLTs, burgers (including two veggie versions) and oysters, but there's also a chicken and waffle benny, breakfast burrito and an egg-white frittata that nevertheless sports bacon, ham and chorizo. To augment the eats, Sunday brunchers can also take part in bingo, "Tiger King" trivia, music and raffles via Instagram live — and if they order more than $40 on a Sunday, the staff will throw in a free bottle of bubbly, orange juice and two flutes, plus edible orchids. More info: 631-218-6500, southshoredive.com
Estia’s Little Kitchen (1615 Sag Harbor Tpke., Sag Harbor): For those hunkered down on the South Fork, Estia’s has your back with a takeout menu of imaginative breakfast fare such as huevos rancheros tacos, grilled skirt steak and eggs (with sofrito), a vegan breakfast bowl and “Muggsy’s Migas,” a plate of cornbread French toast with salsa verde, avocado, adobo pork and poached eggs. It’s a bummer not to be able to indulge these things in Estia’s relentlessly upbeat environs, but that they’re even open right now is happy news. There are margaritas to go, too. More info: 631-725-1045, estias.com
Park Avenue Grill (178 Park Ave., Amityville): The $39 brunch deal from this adorable Amityville café lets you choose two sides (think bacon, cinnamon French toast, and home fries) and one entree (Potato pancakes, Tuscan eggs Benedict, scambled eggs with Brussels hash, et al), and feeds four people. Add-on drinks aren't slouchy, either: Think Bailey's hot chocolate, sangria or a Bloody Mary accented with bacon or shrimp. More info: 631-598-4618.