Nutritionists may love breakfast, but among the general population, brunch is probably the more popular meal. Not just an opportunity to refuel the body, brunch is a chance to catch up with friends and family, linger over the Sunday paper, enjoy an endless cup of coffee (or something stronger), and indulge in comfort foods you might not allow yourself during the week. Also working in its favor are flexible hours, anywhere between midmorning and early evening. Sleep as late as you want, and you’ll still be on time.
Brunch menus used to be limited to pancakes, waffles and eggs, but these days choices run the gamut, from soul food to a seafood smorgasbord.
Here are some brunch spots to try on Long Island.
Hendrick's Tavern (1305 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn): The 1740 structure, built as an estate home in Roslyn for Hendrick Onderdonk, may be an antique, but the brunch menu at Hendrick's Tavern is up-to-the-minute, featuring trendy items such as avocado toast, ahi tuna poke and breakfast pizza. The large and eclectic menu has something for everyone, making it a good choice for a large family gathering: house-made granola and organic yogurt for the fitness-minded, bagels and lox for the traditionalist, lobster Cobb salad for the Sybarite. If buttermilk pancakes don't please the little ones, spaghetti and meatballs or cheeseburger sliders could do the trick. More info: 516-621-1200, pollrestaurants.com/restaurants/hendricks
Pretty Toni's Cafe
Pretty Toni's Cafe (759 W. Merrick Rd., Valley Stream): Chef-owner Toni Clifton serves a healthier version of soul food in Valley Stream, with no pork products and limits on fat and sugar. That said, there's plenty of comfort to be had from specialties such as fried whole whiting served with eggs, grits and home fries. The French toast croissant is topped with whipped cream and berries and comes with sides of turkey bacon and sausage. Saturday is waffle day, with choices such as blueberry, chocolate chip and banana. Down-home desserts include sweet potato pie and 7UP poundcake. The Soul Brunch (named for the recorded soul, jazz and R&B piped into the comfortable dining room during the meal) is served Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3:45 p.m. More info: 516-285-8664, prettytoniscafe.com
Grey Horse Tavern
Grey Horse Tavern (291 Bayport Ave., Bayport): Just like lunch and dinner, the brunch menu at this charming Bayport tavern features seasonally driven and locally sourced dishes. The buttermilk pancakes are served with New York State maple syrup, the omelets are made with farm eggs from Pennsylvania. Healthy choices include a baby kale salad with baby beets and goat cheese, and a smoothie with berries, ginger, honey and coconut milk. Brunch is served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you linger at the bar (signature Sunday cocktails include a blood orange Bellini), you can hear live music starting at 4 p.m. More info: 631-472-1868, greyhorsetavern.com
Tullulah's (12 Fourth Ave., Bay Shore): On weekend mornings, this stylish, eclectic restaurant in Bay Shore swaps small plates for decidedly generous brunch dishes. In addition to the usual suspects (avocado toast, biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs) there are some creative wild cards such as coffee cake French toast (griddled coffee cake bread pudding with streusel crumb and maple syrup), a banh-mi sandwich with smoked Berkshire pork belly and wild mushroom hash with chanterelles, criminis, shiitakes and potatoes topped with two eggs any style. Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info: 631-969-9800, tullulahs.com
Del Frisco's Grille
Del Frisco's Grille (160 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station): The Huntington Station location of this upscale steakhouse chain offers a brunch menu of satisfying comfort food. In addition to longtime favorites such as scrambled egg tacos, crab cake Benedict, chicken-fried steak and eggs, and red velvet Belgian waffles, the restaurant is previewing new brunch specials for Mother's Day, which will become permanent at the end of May. Let your mom be the first to try Nonna's cinnamon roll, topped with bourbon espresso caramel and candied walnuts. More info: 631-423-0308, delfriscosgrille.com
Lola (113A Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck): Brunch comes with a Mediterranean twist at this sophisticated Great Neck spot. There are Middle Eastern specialties such as shakshouka (a tomato stew topped with poached egg and served with grilled pita bread) and a griddled Israeli omelet, green with herbs and served with tzatziki. Traditional brunch dishes are spiced up: Duck hash comes with harissa aioli. Chicken and biscuits are served with shawarma sauce. In addition to mimosas and Bloody Marys, there are specialty cocktails such as the Arak & Roll (Arak, grapefruit and pomegranate) and the Fig-ure It Out (fig-infused vodka, Amaretto and orange). Brunch is served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info: 516-466-5666, restaurantlola.com
The LakeHouse (135 Maple Ave., Bay Shore): Head to the Lakehouse in Bay Shore if you like a water view with your eggs. The elegant dining room overlooks the Great South Bay. If you have a boat, you can dock it at the restaurant (call ahead to reserve a spot). In good weather, brunch is served on the deck. The seafood-centric menu reflects the surroundings. There are chilled oysters and clams on the half shell, yellow fin tuna tartare, crab cakes, lobster rolls and jumbo shrimp cocktail. If none of that says "brunch" to you, traditional options include vanilla bean and Grand Marnier French toast, buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy, and duck confit hash and eggs. More info: 631-666-0995, thelakehouserest.com
The Fifth Season
The Fifth Season (34 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson): This Port Jefferson restaurant specializing in seasonal cooking offers two options for brunch. A $24 fixed-price menu gets you two courses plus a mimosa or seasonal Bellini. Appetizers include a vegetable Napoleon and a mascarpone-stuffed crepe with house-made seasonal jam. Among the mains are a Snake River Farm American Kobe-style beef burger, a local farm egg frittata and lemon-yogurt pancakes. For a wider selection (or if you have a smaller appetite), these selections, in addition to sandwiches, soups and salads, are available a la carte. Brunch is served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info: 631-477-8500, thefifth-season.com
Garden City Hotel
Garden City Hotel (45 Seventh St., Garden City): A good choice for grand celebrations, this fancy hotel brunch features tables laden with breads and pastries, seafood, salads, fruit. In addition, stations serve omelets, waffles, sushi and pasta. Chocolate flows from a fountain. Unlimited mimosas, Bloody Marys, Champagne, wine and soft drinks are included in the $85 price ($42.50 for children 12 and younger.) The lavish spread, which includes a chef's selection of four hot entrees, will be tweaked by incoming star chef David Burke, who takes over in late May or early June. Expect some signature Burke items such as candied bacon cheesecake lollipops. Seating times: 11 and 11:30 a.m., 2 and 2:30 p.m. More info: 516-877-9385, gardencityhotel.com
Limani (1043 Northern Blvd., Roslyn): Bring your appetite to this all-you-can-eat extravaganza at Great Neck's temple of Greek cuisine. For $60, including one mimosa, Bellini or Bloody Mary (ages 5 to 12 eat for $30), graze numerous stations for breakfast items, including waffles, crepes, omelets and eggs Benedict; hot entrees such as Greek paella, moussaka and chicken Parmesan; and freshly carved prime rib, leg of lamb and roast turkey. To get your money's worth, don't forget the cooked lobster and shrimp on ice. Brunch is served in two seatings, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. More info: 516-869-8989, limani.com
Milleridge Inn (585 N. Broadway, Jericho): This quaint Early American inn in Jericho hosts a traditional buffet brunch with all the trimmings for $49.95 ($59.95 with bottomless mimosas, Bellinis or Bloody Marys). Kids (2-12) eat for $24.95. In addition to a full menu of omelets, eggs, French toast, bagels, lox and baked goods, stations serve salads, antipasti, chilled seafood and carved meats. A large selection of desserts includes crepes and bananas Foster. Brunch served Sundays, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. More info: 516-931-2201, milleridgeinn.com
Perennial (990 Franklin Ave., Garden City): This sleek New American restaurant in Garden City focuses on simple dishes using top-notch seasonal ingredients. The straightforward a la carte brunch menu encompasses the classics (pancakes, French toast, eggs Benedict, steak and eggs), some essential sides (house-cured bacon, home fries), and a few surprises (polenta with roasted Brussels sprouts, a fried egg and Parmesan; spaghetti carbonara). Drinks are carefully crafted: the Bloody Mary contains Tito's handmade vodka and fresh citrus, the Mrs. Daiquiri combines aged rum, green chartreuse and sparkling wine, and the Woke Up in Mexico has a potent mix of tequila, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, blood orange juice and egg white. Brunch served Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info: 516-743-9213, perennialrestaurant.com