Start the Day on a Sweet Note
As much as everyone loves a hearty brunch, some early mornings call for something lighter, quicker, and sure
to get the day going with a sugar rush. From hot-from-the-oven baked saccharine indulgences to bowls of nature’s finest superfoods, these six morning joints are sure to hit the sweet spot.
Left Hand Coffee (83 South Elmwood Ave., Montauk)Surfers may think that Left Hand Coffee derives its name from what are known as left-hand breaks, but in fact the meaning is meant to capture its founder’s identity of being left-handed—having to work outside of the norms and do things your own way. This translates beautifully into a bar constructed of driftwood, tables made of repurposed timber, coffee blends (the light espresso Lighthouse roast, the dark-roast Sinister blend) created in-house, and a peaceful atmosphere that makes this the perfect early morning spot for a coffee and pastry breakfast.
Here, typical iced coffee is shunned in favor of the smoother Yama cold-drip method from Japan, which pairs well with one of the fine local pastries on offer, such as coffee crumble cake that’s baked nearby. For tea lovers, a wide selection of gourmet Bellocq teas from London are available by the pot or for purchase as well.
Montauk Bake Shoppe (29 The Plaza #A, Montauk)
Some say that the advent of the cronut came about not in 2013 at the hand of Dominique Ansel, but rather in 1981 at the quaint Montauk Bake Shoppe in the heart of its namesake Hamptons hamlet. This year, the Shoppe introduced its now-famous jelly croissant, filled with red jelly, dusted with cinnamon, and just small enough to be the perfect pre-breakfast treat.
Lines still form early in the morning to get them hot and fresh, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide what you want before reaching the counter. The indecisive, however, should come prepared for what could be an overwhelming experience. Cakes and pies and desserts aside, there’s nearly every kind of breakfast pastry, each in numerous flavors—muffins, crumb cakes, scones, donuts, danishes, and even cruffins that can give any posh city bakery a run for its money.
Photo Credit: @noleftovers via Instagram
Dreesen’s Donuts (Scoop du Jour: 35 Newtown Ln., East Hampton)
Similarly legendary are Dreesen’s Donuts, which have been around since 1950 and earned acclaim from the likes of Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, and Mario Batali, who once proclaimed Dreesen’s as having “some of the nest donuts ever made.” Dreesen’s donuts are constructed of dense cake, served plain or dusted simply in powdered sugar or cinnamon.
Even after all these years, the brand still lacks a storefront of its own and instead operates out of a simple white truck, which is available for hire and often appears at Hamptons events ranging from weddings to spectacular parties and fundraisers, doling out specialty donut avors like apple cider or white chocolate glittering with gold flakes. On any given day, though, head to Scoop du Jour, an ice cream store in East Hampton that sells the three Dreesen’s classics.
Grindstone Coffee and Donuts (7A Main St., Sag Harbor)
Grindstone Coffee and Donuts is not just another summer-only coffee shop. Although its aesthetic—menus spelled out on changeable letter boards, employees in black baseball caps, vintage comic books for sale—would look perfectly at home in Brooklyn, Grindstone is a soulful champion of its locale, partnering with local farms and foodstuff purveyors and using its walls as gallery space for local artists.
It was also designed to be the perfect union of owner Kyle Shanahan’s two favorite things: coffee, sourced from San Francisco’s acclaimed Four Barrel roaster, and donuts that, unlike Dreesen’s are made from a light and airy brioche dough and come in constantly rotating flavors that are on par with the culinary zeitgeist. In the past, there’s been Nutella and marshmallow, Bailey’s and milk chocolate, maple and crushed almonds, and all the toppings of an everything bagel.
Beach Bakery Café (112 Main St., Westhampton)
For a taste of home, head to the Beach Bakery Café, a down-at-heel Hamptons staple that couldn’t be more convivial. In a big yellow clapboard house with a front porch hung with potted plants, Beach Bakery is a stark contrast to newer establishments that focus on the quirky or all-local gourmet.
Here, there are no flairs or even innovation—just time-tested recipes for black and white cookies, cinnamon rolls laden with vanilla frosting, custard donuts, and one of the best peach crumb pies this side of the Mason-Dixon. When you’re fresh from the beach, hungry, and with sand still in your hair, this is where to come.
Photo Credit: @foodisreligion vis Instagram
Happy Bowls (805 Montauk Hwy., Montauk)
On the other end of the health spectrum, Gwyneth Paltrow– approved Happy Bowls is a beacon of the joys of a nutritious breakfast. Owned by a local family of surfers, this spot hails the power of açai bowls to rejuvenate after a sunrise spent out on the waves (or a night spent on the town). Anyone who has been to an açai- bowl establishment before knows that the options of blend-ins and toppings come as an impressive buffet of superfoods, each offering to transform your diet and life in a different way.
A menu boasts pre-created bowls and smoothies such as the Montauk Bowl with açai or pitaya blended with pineapple juice and a rainbow of toppings, or the Earth Bowl, whose base is a blend of banana, spinach, and kale. More practiced bowlers can build their own breakfasts and use the 25 topping options to make just the meal they need.