My parents are early risers. And no, I don’t mean early like waking up when the sun rises at 7 or 8 AM. I mean EARLY. Like waking up at 4 or 5 in the morning. Yes.
When my dad was visiting, I knew that we would definitely need to go somewhere to get breakfast because by the time I finally woke up he would have been up for hours and hungry by then. The catch is, it was also Thanksgiving. So, I was that girl who was calling all these restaurants on Wednesday night trying to figure what would be open and when (feeling slightly guilty and sympathetic every time they told me, “Yes, we’re open on Thanksgiving.”). Turns out Le Pain Quotidien, a staple found all over New York City, would be open on the holiday and at 7 AM at that. Perfect!
As mentioned, it’s not hard to find a Le Pain Quotidien around NYC. It often gets bunched together with Au Bon Pain and Pret A Manger (okay, just now realizing all these French names), as a quick, easy, and casual place to eat breakfast or lunch, but I would argue that LPQ is a step above those other two.
“Le pain quotidien” is French for “the daily bread” and the restaurant is actually part of a chain that started in Brussels in 1990 and now has 200 locations throughout the world. The first one in New York City, the flagship bakery, is on Madison Avenue. The food is organic (whenever possible), light, and simple. There are assorted baked items, breakfast items like frittatas and waffles, quiches, tartines, salads, soups, and desserts. I would argue that LPQ is definitely more of a breakfast and brunch place than anything else because of their food offerings, but also because it plainly states “Breakfast & Brunch” on their awnings. You also might see on their awnings that it says “Bakery & Communal Table.” Besides the separate table seating, there is also a large, long communal table in the restaurant for people to share.
I decided to order the spiced apple cider as well as the ham and gruyere croissant, which came with a small side salad. My drink, as well as my dad’s, came in this large cup with no handle which now makes me wonder…if a cup has no handle, does that make it a bowl? I’ll save the philosophical debate for later. In any case, it made for a very pleasant drinking experience to cup the warm dish in my hands while enjoying the lovely smell of spiced cider. My flaky croissant sandwich came with a little dish of three spreads, two of which were mustard and the other was black olive spread. It was all in all a very delicate meal, and nice to have so early in the morning as it didn’t leave us feeling heavy with food before the day had even started (and did leave us with more room in our tummies to graze throughout the day at Marta…Papaya King…Le Cirque…). But really though, no one wants to start off their day feeling stuffed and sluggish, unless you’re planning on going straight back to bed that is!
The prices may seem a little high for the kind of food you get and the portion size, but remember that you’re paying for the quality of the ingredients. If you want something no-fuss and reliable but something a notch above your usual bakery or cafe, then head to Le Pain Quotidien.
Spiced apple cider, ham and gruyere croissant
1592 1st Ave
New York, NY 10028