The idea of brunch–especially for Mother’s Day–is a beautiful thought; family gathered around a communal table enjoying a cobbling of breakfast and lunch fare. The reality? Long lines, off hours and booze-fueled crowds don’t mix well with small children in tow. Does this mean parents of wee ones have to miss out on this Sunday (and sometimes Saturday!) tradition? Absolutely not! We’ve scoured the city for family-friendly restaurants that open before 9 a.m. (and some as early as 7 a.m.) so you and your brood can dine-and-dash before the crowds appear. 

Photo: Family Meal

Family Meal
This restaurant is a no brainer: the name says it all! A (gourmet) step up from a diner, the food here has a celebrity status (it’s the brainchild of Bryan Voltaggio of Top Chef fame). Brunch is served 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. To note: breakfast is served all day (every day!). The restaurant offers crayons and a coloring menu to keep their youngest customers busy.

882 N East St. (Frederick, Md)
301-378-2895
Online: voltfamilymeal.com

Papermoon Diner
This quirky Baltimore hot spot gets crazy busy on the weekends, but if you get there early (they open at 7 a.m.), you are sure to nab a seat. There is a lot for the wee ones to look at; the walls are teeming with toys, outsider art and curiosities. It’s a great place to play “I Spy.” There are plenty of kid-pleasing brunch options, like chocolate chip pancakes and French toast with caramel apples. A kid’s menu is also available (there is a $10 per person minimum charge). We recommend milkshakes — which are essentially breakfast in a glass. Flavor combos include a  maple syrup, bacon crumbles and vanilla or chocolate ice cream blend and a milkshake with Captain Crunch (pureed cereal yumminess). 

227 W 29th St (Baltimore, Md)
410-889-4444
Online: papermoondiner24.com

Photo: Ted’s Bulletin

Ted’s Bulletin
If your kids require a lot of distractions to keep them content, head to Ted’s. The restaurant’s centerpiece is a large movie screen that plays black and white movies and sitcoms like I Love Lucy, The Little Rascals and Shirley Temple flicks. If the short reels don’t entertain, there are a number of toys on hand that you can borrow and bring to your table. Still fussy? They have books and coloring menus, too! The restaurant opens at 7 a.m. (the last brunch seating is at 10:30 a.m.). Missed the brunch rush? No worries; breakfast is served all day.

1818 14th St., NW (U Street)
202-265-8337

505 8th St SE (Capitol Hill)
202-544-8337

220 Ellington Blvd (Gaithersburg, Md)
301-990-0600

2911 District Ave (Fairfax, Va)
571-830-6680

11948 Market Street (Reston, Va)
703-956-9510
Online: tedsbulletin.com

Firefly
It’s not an all-you-can-drink bonanza here but we do feel we should warn you: this place does offer insanely cheap mimosas ($3) and bargain Bloody Marys ($4), which really packs them in, so get here early (they open at 9 a.m.) to beat the rush. The brunch menu for kids offers simple options like scrambled eggs and peanut butter and jelly. What makes this place a must-try is the decorate-your-own cookie that comes with kids’ meals. The cookie comes out early in the meal, keeping littles busy while you wait for your food (it bakes while you are eating).

1310 New Hampshire Ave., NW (Dupont Circle)
202-861-1310
Online: firefly-dc.com

Photo: Shoes Cups and Corks

Shoes Cups and Corks
You’ll be able to spot Shoes by the large, vintage “Shoes” sign — a throwback to when this cafe was a shoe cobbler’s storefront. Inside is a vintage-vibe, complete with a chandelier made of wooden shoe forms. The menu is limited and seasonal. How did this glorified coffee shop make our cut, you ask? Well, there is a secret garden in the back where kids can run free and adults and small ones alike can enjoy a game of bocce ball. Can you think of a more ideal Sunday? Doors open at 9 a.m.

17 N King St. (Leesburg ,Va)
703-771-7463
Online: shoescupandcork.com

Cafe Kindred
This is not Starbucks; this coffeehouse serves a legit brunch. The kid-friendly space features a mix of high and low tables, and sofa-style seating and fun records and rock posters on the wall. The cafe offers breakfast and lunch fare (the pastries are baked fresh on premise daily; the Nutella croissant is ah-mazing!), as well as a kid-tailored menu. They open at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, so you are sure to beat the brunch rush if you get here early. The bar does not open until 5 p.m., so the brunch crowd is strictly teetotalers. The best part? Shelves and bins are lined with toys your toddler will love (blocks, Lincoln logs, books and more!).

450 N Washington St. (Falls Church, Va)
571-327-2215
Online: cafekindred.com

Afterwords Cafe
If you’ve never ventured to the back of Kramerbooks, you are missing out on a Dupont Circle tradition. The food is good; the desserts phenomenal. Kids will enjoy the homemade soda selection. The best part? Rows and rows of distractions! Yes, we’re talking books! Your kids can even “shop” with their used books (bring in titles they’re tired of and trade for new paperback adventures). Doors open at 7:30 a.m.

1517 Connecticut Ave., NW (Dupont Circle)
202-387-1400
Online: kramers.com/cafe

Where do you like to go for an early brunch? Dish in the comments below. 

–Meghan Meyers