At the risk of sounding too much like a knock off Ron Swanson, I am sincerely shocked that there are people out there who wouldn’t rather be eating breakfast foods.
Indeed, in my opinion a city is only as good as its breakfast options, and we are lucky to live in a place with a plethora of them.
While everyone knows Miss Shirley’s and we’ve all had a hangover bagel or two at THB, when I’m having a Rough Morning I like to take the JHMI down to Mount Vernon for breakfast at RyeZenDine.
I discovered the restaurant pretty much by accident a couple summers ago when I was looking for somewhere air conditioned to wait for the Charm City Circulator.
More than just some place that was below 100 percent humidity, RyeZenDine quickly became one of my favorite spots to grab an omelette.
The restaurant is unassuming, about a dozen tables and a bar area. It’s not huge, but it’s definitely bigger than most of the food places on St. Paul.
Weather permitting, there are cute little outdoor tables if you wish to dine outside. Enjoy watching the city wake up as you bite into the best french toast ever made (sorry, Dad).
The space is brightly lit by big windows, and it faces east as to get that perfect morning sunlight.
RyeZenDine also has pretty cool wall art; the kind of stuff that looks a little modern, but isn’t so obviously picked out from some catalog of “groovy looking pieces that Mount Vernon artist-types might like.”
The set up seems pretty intentional, like someone actually sat down and chose their favorite pieces. Furthermore, a lot of the art is for sale, just in case something catches your eye.
There are also cool looking bar stools, which are always a plus.
Perhaps the most notable aesthetic of the restaurant is its signature red mugs, each bearing a silhouette of a person wearing a hat.
The design is technically the logo of coffee supplier Julius Meinl, but I’ve come to think of it only as the unofficial emblem of early morning cinnamon rolls.
Of course beyond its cutesy look and wonderful service, RyeZenDine also offers some pretty damn good food.
This is not in any way an exaggeration. I would do some things I’m not proud of for their Berry Berry Good Cakes, which have mascarpone cheese, fresh berries and Nutella.
When I gave up sugary breakfast foods for Lent one year, I literally had fever dreams about these pancakes.
They also have a good selection of breakfast sandwiches designed to be eaten while on the go, which is perfect for when you’re “too busy” to otherwise justify going across town for a breakfast joint.
And don’t even get me started on their coffee (or their $5 Bloody Marys).
They also have a mural that explains what each coffee drink consists of, so you don’t have to guess at what exactly a “flat white” is.
If you’re misguided enough to order lunch, they also have what feels like approximately 45 different chicken sandwiches.
RyeZenDine is also one of the few places in this city where you can get a reasonably priced salad; goodbye $15, limp lettuce Caesars.
Of course if you do decided to visit, it’s only right that you celebrate your valor in trying new things by picking out one of their delicious pastries or homemade cookies.
Get there by hopping off the JHMI at Peabody and going up Mount Vernon Place. Hang a left on North Charles and walk a couple blocks; you’ll know it when you see it by its white exterior and big green sign.
So go and get yourself some S’Mores French Toast. Three weeks into the semester is the perfect time to treat yourself.