Sure, you could whip up a multi course breakfast for the crew at home, but why not leave the dirty dishes for the other guy this weekend? From down home chicken & waffles to hoity-toity buffets with sprawling ocean views, our Bay Area is blessed with some pretty incredible kid-centric brunch options perfect for your family where you can turn a simple meal into a full-fledged activity.

Brown Sugar Chicken and Waffles

Brown Sugar Kitchen
This West Oakland haven is a hotspot for the stroller set. Their coffee is Roast Coffee Company’s “Brown Sugar Kitchen,” great for perking up moms & dads, and their bacon is the good organic stuff from Niman Ranch so while it’s not completely guilt-free (it is BACON after all) it’s certainly yummy and does no harm to your hungry little ones. You come here, really, for the chicken & waffles made with an indescribable yeasted cornmeal and super crunchy, moist easy-to-eat-off-the-bone chicken that’s beyond finger licking for the kiddos. This combo is crazy addictive for every member of the family. Dubbed as a “Nouveau Soul Food Diner”, even Oprah herself tested ‘em out and was impressed.

Insider Tip: Open for breakfast & lunch only, closes at 3:00pm.

2534 Mandela Parkway
Oakland, Ca
Phone: 510-839-SOUL
Online: brownsugarkitchen.com

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Mel’s Drive-In
On the seventh day it was decreed: let there be MEL’S! Old-school and super classic, this family joint is regular as clockwork. The welcoming stack of high chairs upon entering is just the first sign that this is a family zone. Yummy chicken breast nuggets arrive nestled in a souped-up cardboard toy racecar, and festive colorful balloons are a sure fire hit for the car ride back home. There’s every single conceivable variation on the breakfast basics here, truly something for everyone, including even their special ‘Mickey Mouse’ pancakes.

4 locations throughout the Bay Area
Online: melsdrive-in.com

Zazie
A weekend darling for Cole Valley locals, Zazie speaks to the decadent pancake enthusiast in each of us! Be it gingerbread, buttermilk, or straight-up griddle cakes cranked out of their tiny kitchen, you can’t help but smile and have a flashback to your own childhood.

Insider Tip: Hip hip hooray for their New Year’s Day brunch, where once a year parents in pajamas receive free mimosas all day. Just sayin’.

941 Cole Street
San Francisco, Ca
Phone: 415-564-5332
Online: zaziesf.com

Mama’s on Washington Square
They’ve been slinging hash out of this North Beach neighborhood staple for more than 50 years. So they most definitely have the skinny on truly delicious, fluffy M’Omlettes served up with a charming home kitchen vibe. The best part of immersing yourselves in this neighborhood’s culture is a short hop skip & jump over to popular Washington Square after the meal to fly a kite or just watch the kids play with a belly full of Mama’s love.

1701 Stockton Street
San Francisco, Ca
Phone: 415-362-6421
Online: mamas-sf.com

Q Restaurant

Q
Super funky comfort food with a website proclaiming “NICE TOTS” in refrigerator magnets, you know this is THE place to bring your troops. The ambiance alone provides plenty of eye candy for kids, since the interior space is basically one giant collage of wacky artwork. The menu provides all the old brunch favorites, but most have that same arty twist on them, like the egg & chorizo “Berto’s Bomb” and “Manuel’s Rico Suave French Toast”.

225 Clement Street
San Francisco, Ca
Phone: 415-752-2298
Online: qrestaurant.com

Fred’s Coffee Shop
Located in quaint Sausalito, this is a low-key spot for the family where you can all plop down at uber-friendly communal tables and get to know the locals. The ambiance is bright and welcoming for your family with lots of regional history on the walls for the kiddos, combined with just a touch of laid-back Marin groovy. There’s just something about owner (and Star Wars fanatic!) Tien’s invention of “Millionaire’s Bacon” that you have to try at least one in your lifetime, all the food is super tasty…and hint: the deep fried french toast tastes like classic, delicious funnel cake!

1917 Bridgeway
Sausalito, Ca
Phone: 415-332-4575

Where’s your go-to weekend brunch spot?

–Mireille Schwartz

In descending order, photos courtesy of: Eyeliam (Flickr) Brown Sugar Kitchen website, Q Website