10 New Year’s Day brunches that go beyond bacon and eggs

From a drag brunch to a weekly doughnut launch, here’s how to kick 2020 off with a bang — and a full stomach.

The Kitchen Sink Sundae at Banners Kitchen & Tap
The Kitchen Sink Sundae at Banners Kitchen & Tap. Banners Kitchen & Tap

The first day of the new year is, traditionally, a time to set intentions, reprioritize your life, and start working toward your goals — which all sounds a little exhausting, to be honest. Can we eat first?

In a sea of New Year’s Day brunches, we homed in on 10 restaurants that are bringing something a little different to the January 1 brunch scene, whether that’s offering “lucky” dishes, launching brunch for the very first time, or serving French toast with a side of drag queens.

So have another mimosa. Put caviar on your eggs. Then, you know, go out and do the important stuff.


If the sparkling views of the water and the Zakim Bridge aren’t enough to entice you to this waterside hangout in the West End, then hear this: On New Year’s Day, Alcove pastry chef Capen Burbank will launch a weekly doughnut series, starting with a Boston Cream Bacon doughnut and rotating in a new doughnut every week thereafter. Want more than doughnuts? Specials will also include the lobster and eggs with caviar add-ons, plus Alcove’s usual brunch fare featuring French toast and fried chicken sandwiches. (50 Lovejoy Wharf; 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.)

Cinnamon rolls at Banners Kitchen & Tap

Cinnamon rolls at Banners Kitchen & Tap.

Banners Kitchen & Tap
The sports bar made a splash in October when it opened with a gigantic LED TV, but brunch hasn’t been on the roster until now. On New Year’s Day, Banners will start offering brunch dishes like the clothesline smoked bacon, skillet cinnamon rolls, and lobster avocado toast. Once the New Year’s buzz wears off, you’ll be able to take advantage of Banners’s brunch Friday through Monday starting at 11 a.m. (82 Causeway St., Boston; 10 a.m.–4 p.m.)

Brunch at Bar Mezzana

Brunch at Bar Mezzana.


Bar Mezzana
Don your Hawaiian shirts and (fake or real) mustaches: The South End’s go-to spot for coastal Italian food is bringing back its annual Magnum P.I. New Year’s Day brunch on Wednesday. Dine on brunch specials and kick back with a tiki cocktail for a midday meal that feels like a vacation. (360 Harrison Ave., Boston; 11 a.m.–3 p.m.)

Citrus & Salt
New year, new you: Citrus & Salt’s Glow Up Brunch offers a chance to win a prize pack featuring botox and lip treatment, a $100 gift card to airbrush tanning boutique Bright Bar Boston, and a 30-minute photography session. If you don’t win the giveaway, you can still eat well: brunch chimichangas, breakfast quesadillas, and blue cornmeal biscuits will all be on the menu. (142 Berkeley St., Boston; 11 a.m.–3 p.m.)

The patio at Coppersmith in South Boston

The patio at Coppersmith in South Boston.

With Coppersmith closing in January, this is your last chance to have brunch at the South Boston staple, known for its rooftop views and rotating food trucks. The restaurant is going out with a bang: On Wednesday, between bites of shakshuka, breakfast burritos, and corned beef hash, diners have the option of popping by an IV station for some extra hydration. (40 W. Third St., Boston; 11 a.m.–3 p.m.)


Craigie on Main
You’re going to do just fine in 2020, but in case you think you might need a little help, Craigie on Main’s Lucky Brunch is a decent place to start. The three-course, prix-fixe menu ($50 for adults, $25 for children 12 and under) features ingredients and dishes considered to bring luck, including black eyed peas, smoked trout, pork belly, and more. The meal finishes with your choice of crème fraîche panna cotta or caramelized pears with gingerbread pain perdu — who knows if either are lucky, but they’re definitely delicious. (853 Main St., Cambridge; 11 a.m.–2 p.m.)

Dorchester Brewing Co.
You may have already heard the news: Dorchester Brewing Co. is revealing a brand new space — complete with an expanded taproom, rooftop beer hall, and onsite kitchen — on New Year’s Eve. But if you can’t make it to the end-of-year bash, stop by on Wednesday, when M & M BBQ, the brewery’s new restaurant, will serve a special brunch menu as a preview to their grand opening. Kick off the first day of January with beer-battered chicken and Belgian waffles, buttered-and-salted soft pretzels served with either smoked cheese or mustard sauce, and a sandwich featuring beef brisket covered with house barbecue sauce. (1250 Massachusetts Ave., Boston; 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.)

Eastern Standard
If you wake up on New Year’s Day looking for something laid back, make your way over to Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square for the restaurant’s swagger-filled Gin & Juice brunch. The meal is an ode to the OGs (and a few newcomers) of hip hop, with dishes like the “Riggie Smalls” rigatoni, “Bone Marrow, Thugs & Harmony” roasted bone marrow, and “Carby B” benedict. Pair it with some gin and juice for a Snoop-worthy start to the new year. (528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston; 11 a.m.–3 p.m.)


Shrimp and grits at The Porch Southern Fare and Juke Joint

Shrimp and grits at The Porch Southern Fare and Juke Joint.

The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint
Every table at The Porch’s Dirty South brunch will have a little bit of prosperity bestowed upon them with a complimentary serving of Hoppin’ John — a Southern dish made with rice and black-eyed peas, which are believed to bring good luck. Dig in while enjoying music from The Porch’s DJ, then make your way through the rest of the brunch menu featuring Bloody Marys, barbecue hash, and fried chicken and waffles. (175 Rivers Edge Drive, Medford; 11 a.m.–2 p.m.)

Tiger Mama
Haven’t been able to make it to Tiger Mama’s monthly drag brunch? January 1 is your day. The Southeast Asian hot spot in the Fenway is putting on a special rendition of its drag show, with the talented Bruiser, Pamela Manderson, and Assa Sination commanding the room. Dine on Apple Cinnamon Boons French Toast and Shrimp Toast Benny while being serenaded by Boston’s most dazzling queens. (1363 Boylston St., Boston; seatings at noon and 4 p.m.)


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