Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but brunch is the most fun meal of the week. From an opulent buffet to a down-home diner, these are some of the area’s most decadent morning feasts.


The Peacock Inn

{Princeton, N.J.}

20 Bayard Lane | 609-924-1707

With a history that dates back to the 1700s when it was a popular bed and breakfast for members of the Continental Congress, the Peacock Inn has hosted a long line of distinguished guests. In recent years, with Executive Chef Manuel Perez in the kitchen, the inn has won even more popularity and is regularly named among the best restaurants in the state. Perez’s talents, which were honed under Eric Ripert at New York’s Le Bernardin, are on display every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. when the Peacock’s two-course prixe fixe brunch menu is available. The menu’s signature dish is the ricotta gnocchi tossed with asparagus, tomato confit, and wild mushrooms with a parmesan-mushroom butter sauce. Reservations are recommended.


The Brothers Moon

{Hopewell, N.J.}

7 W Broad St. | 609-333-1330

chef-willChef and owner Will Mooney describes the Sunday brunch experience at his downtown Hopewell eatery as “upscale food in a very comfortable environment.” Every weekend Mooney serves an a la carte brunch menu featuring farm-to-table creations like the Tuscan Breakfast (two poached eggs, soft polenta, prosciutto, and grilled asparagus) and sesame-seared plancha-grilled salmon over a vegetable and wonton salad with hoisin glaze. But the real showstopper is something called TBM’s Very Berry Bread Pudding French Toast with fruit salad and cream, which is a slice of bread pudding that’s dipped in cream and eggs and pan fried. “A lot of people need a nap after eating it,” Moon says. A front patio offers al fresco dining and takeout cases are packed with salads, cheeses, breads, and specialty meats to bring home for the rest of the week.


Cross Keys Diner 

{Doylestown, Pa.}

4125 E Swamp Rd. | 215-348-4911

No matter if you plan to eat at the counter or get the whole family around a table at this converted farmhouse in Doylestown, plan on waiting in line for a bit—especially on Sunday mornings when the crowd spills outside. From the black and white checkerboard floor to the mismatched coffee mugs, Cross Keys offers heaping servings of charm alongside a breakfast and lunch menu packed with mouth-watering fare like the savory Huevos Burrito and sweeter creations like Belgian waffles topped with fresh strawberries, orange vanilla whipped cream, and pistachios. You can’t go wrong with anything off the menu, but regulars recommend you order a special off the chalkboard for a real treat.


Molly Pitcher Inn

{Red Bank, N.J.}

88 Riverside Ave. | 732-747-2500 

Regarded as one of Central New Jersey’s most scenic establishments, the dining room at Molly Pitcher offers a touch of old-world grandeur and panoramic views of the Navesink River. There are only two seatings for Sunday brunch at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., so reservations are strongly recommended. The monstrous buffet features traditional chafing dishes of poached salmon and au gratin potatoes; carving stations with turkey, ham, steak, lamb, and roast pork; crepes, omelets, waffles, and pasta dishes made to order; oysters and clams on the half shell; and a pate board. A Viennese table is piled high with sinful desserts to cap a truly unique brunch experience that you might want to follow with a walk along the river when you’re done. Be sure to check the inn’s special holiday brunch menus, too.

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