On the Brown Low: Adventures in Brunching

Welcome to On the Brown Low—a column dedicated to exploring all that the lovely city of Providence has to offer. Join me, Isabela Karibjanian, as I take you on a tour of all the hidden gems I find off College Hill!

Though Andrews Commons serves an excellent brunch on the weekends, living on the southern end of campus, it’s kind of a trek. Luckily, Wickenden Street, which is home to dozens of cafes, coffee shops, antique stores, and other small businesses, is only a short walk from where I live and has a brunch scene that never disappoints. Read more after the jump to read about my most recent brunch excursions and my definitive ranking of College Hill pancakes.

Everyone on campus knows that the go-to spot for a great brunch is the Duck and Bunny—a local snuggery whose interior is as cute as its name and whose cupcakes are the best around. But because the Duck and Bunny is so popular, you can often find yourself faced with an hour-long wait. This past weekend, my friends and I braved the cold and made the trek down to Wickenden Street to get some of the Duck and Bunny’s finest pancakes and eggs, hoping that we’d get lucky and there’d be an empty table waiting for us. Even though we are D&B veterans and have worked our way through a good portion of the cupcake menu, we foolishly under-anticipated the number of other brunchers seeking to escape the cold in a cozy café.

After wandering on Wickenden for only about five minutes or so, we stumbled upon another brunch spot, Brickway on Wickenden. Its lively atmosphere and mural-covered walls (along with really good looking pancakes) drew us in almost immediately. Though there was still a wait for tables, there was a large enough space for us to wait inside, unlike D&B where, though it is a very cozy café, it can be a bit cramped at times. With an extensive menu filled with breakfast favorites like omelets, pancakes, French toast, and plenty of lunch options, too, Brickway did not disappoint. Though most of my table got classic breakfast favorites like French toast, pancakes, and eggs, the food was anything but average. Brickway’s bright and energetic dining room made it the perfect spot for a Saturday brunch.

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Brickway’s chocolate chip pancakes made me reconsider my personal hierarchy of College Hill pancakes—they were that good. As it stands currently:

  1. Loui’s—fluffy, buttery pancakes that can’t be beat at 5 am or otherwise.
  2. The Duck and Bunny—I always go for the chocolate/peanut butter combo, but they’re all delicious.
  3. Meeting Street Café—huge pancakes that can be delivered to your dorm late at night!
  4. Brickway on Wickenden—a surprising find that could become a favorite.

When faced with a long line at D&B, don’t despair! There are so many other great breakfast spots around, including Brickway on Wickenden and Amy’s Place (which I’ve heard nothing but good things about). Or, if you’d rather not have a sit-down brunch after the disappointment of not immediately getting a corner spot at D&B but aren’t totally averse to waiting in lines, walk a few blocks up Wickenden to PVDonuts on Ives Street!

PVDonuts drew huge crowds when it first opened several months back, and continues to attract swarms of donut lovers whenever it’s open. I recently went for the first time with my roommate, and I had no idea what to expect. I heard their donuts were really good, but I did not expect for them to sell out of all but three flavors by 11:30! It was nerve-wracking seeing the donuts I wanted to order, like cereal milk, dulce de leche, peanut butter Oreo, and Dave’s coffee milk, sell out as I watched from the back of the line. Fortunately, every flavor at PVDonuts is delicious, so even the plain-sounding vanilla sprinkle donut that I ended up ordering was to die for. (Though next time, I am definitely getting there earlier to try out some of their more gourmet offerings). The fluffy brioche donut is such a step up from Ratty donuts or Dunkin’ Donuts that I don’t even think the latter two deserve to be in the same category of pastry as PVDonuts’s creations.

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The interior of PVDonuts is as artisanal looking as its donuts, and though it was filled with people waiting in line, had plenty of seats and a large communal table where we could eat our donuts. However, we probably should have just taken our donuts to go, because after devouring them, our food comas made it quite the challenge to walk back to our dorm.

There are so many great breakfast and brunch spots within walking distance of campus. People who know me know that I take the Leslie Knope approach to meals (“Why would anyone eat anything other than breakfast food?”), so I’m sure I’ll continue to stumble upon delicious breakfast spots throughout my time at Brown (and maybe blog about them for you, my dear readers!).

Is there something in Providence that you want to see covered here? Have any suggestions for my next adventure? Send me an email (isabela_karibjanian@brown.edu) to let me know!

 

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