Ida Mae's: A proper bruncherie

Breakfast, you might have heard, is pretty much the greatest and most important meal of the day. There’s no better way to start your morning than with a couple mugs of rich, steaming coffee, a couple fried eggs, home fries, toast and the all-important breakfast sausage.

Which makes the Fishtown bruncherie Ida Mae’s a pretty important place, all things considered.

This gem of a BYOB (yes, even for breakfast, if you really need to) at Norris and Tulip streets in Fishtown opened in March to serve neighborhood locals and those young up-and-comers reportedly moving to Fishtown in droves.

I can’t say enough good things about this diner. From the coffee to the pancakes to the rangers and bangers of the very traditional Irish breakfast, Ida Mae’s has done nearly everything right. Even the small dining area in the back has all the aesthetic charm of a little Irish cottage, potted flowers and all.


The delectable breakfast sandwich and blueberry pancakes:

The service, so often lacking at hip new eateries of the leisure class, is attentive and friendly at Ida Mae’s. Need a warmer on the coffee? Need a side of salsa for that just-fluffy-enough omlet or perfect breakfast burrito? You won’t have to wait long at Ida’s (unless, of course, you’re lazy and drag your hungover ass in at one o’clock on Saturday. You should know better.)

The contrast to other popular Philly hipster bruncheries, like Sabrina’s and Honey’s Sit-n-Eat, is palpable. Ida Mae’s has the same food with less of a wait, less obnoxious patrons, and they’ll take less from your wallet when the meal’s done; most breakfasts are about $6, $7 with coffee.

The place dubs itself a “bruncherie,” but it would better to call it a breakfasterie. Breakfast is what Ida Mae’s does, and she does it well. Doesn’t even matter what time of day you come in, you can get the amazingly authentic Traditional Irish Breakfast any time of day (2 eggs, rashers, bangers, white pudding, roasted tomato, saut�ed mushrooms, baked beans, potato and soda breads).

Another plus for Ida Mae’s is that it’s a family-run business. Owners Mary Kate McCaughey and Feargus McCaughey also get points for their commitment to But Fresh Buy Local and their Fishtown neighbors at Greensgrow Farm, which they proudly support. The McCaugheys also might be the most progressive restaurateurs in Fishtown; their Web site has a note: “Hey there, us and a few other local restaurants are looking for people who want our used fryer oil. Please call the restaurant or stop by!”

Oh we certainly will stop by, Ida Mae, we certainly will.

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