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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

What’s good: Brunch in Bellingham

Every Monday this quarter, a Western Front reporter will tell you what’s good in Bellingham.

By Taylor Nichols

People love brunch. I mean, who doesn’t?

Some trudge through weekdays, knowing the hardest thing they’ll have to do on the weekend is decide between eggs benedict or a soup and sandwich combo.

For others, it’s all about the socially-accepted day drinking.

Whether you’re doing it for the ‘gram or in serious need of a mimosa, the same old spots can get old after awhile.

Here’s a list of five note-worthy places that are not so average.

*Yes, all of these places have coffee.

Cafe Rumba

Walking down North State Street, you may be intrigued by this Peruvian deli. If the half-painted deep blue door doesn’t make you look twice, the steamed up windows might.

What’s so steamy in there? All the Peruvian flavors, of course.

They have a signature breakfast sandwich, but you can add a fried egg to any of their regular ones too. They can make any sandwich as a breakfast plate or a scramble as well. No mimosas here, but they do have Peruvian coffee, beer and Peruvian passion fruit juice. They don’t usually get too busy ‘til lunch, so it’s nice and easy to get a table in the morning.

La Fiamma 

Pizza for breakfast? Kind of weird, but actually, it works.

First of all, this hungover brunch thing has gotten to the point where they serve slices of leftover pizza from their late-night window with a beer or shot.

Also notable: Two dollar bloody marys and mimosas from 9 to 11 a.m. (including a ghost pepper or chipotle bloody mary for those spicy people out there.)

I had the mozzarella and veggie pizza, which comes with poached eggs, arugula and pesto. The eggs benedict pizza also piqued my interest. They serve French toast, dutch babies and skillets too, if you’re not down with the poached eggs on pizza thing. It usually gets busy around 11:30 a.m. on weekends, so be sure to show up early for happy hour or make a reservation.


Marlin’s Cafe

If you live in the York neighborhood, there’s a good chance you’ve caught the bus in front of Nelson’s Market. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably already been here for brunch. The cafe is a popular place for students, likely because if you haven’t lived in this neighborhood with 5 roommates, you probably will by the time you graduate.

It’s pretty kitschy in the cafe, which is inside the market. Think of the classic 1950s diner style.

During my visit, I had the veggie omelette and a side of blueberry pancakes (the pancakes were bomb). It  gets pretty busy on the weekend but the atmosphere and convenience is hard to beat. It’s way more low-key on weekday mornings, so this would be a good place when you feel like getting your weekend started early. You know, like on Tuesday.


Rook and Rogue

This board game pub opened in May 2017. If you’re into spending 13 hours playing Dungeons and Dragons, drinking soda and eating mountains of tater tots, this is the place for you. That’s basically the idea: eat, drink and play games. Their weekend brunch menu pays tribute to Harry Potter, Pokemon, and Star Wars, among others. It’s totally nerdy, but not in an exclusive way.

I had the Hogwarts Letter, which was eggs, bacon and hashbrowns, with a side of French toast. They also have a tofu scramble for us veggie people out there.

The food was so-so, but the atmosphere and fun games were totally worth it. I played Muggles Against Humanity, which is just Cards Against Humanity but Harry Potter themed.

They also had an Oregon Trail card game, Scrabble, Connect Four and a bunch of others I’m not cool enough to know about. It’s worth checking out.

The staff was super friendly, showed us all their favorite games, and made it accessible for people who just want to dabble in the board game world.

Plan to spend a couple hours here and bring friends, so you can actually finish that game of Monopoly. It doesn’t get too busy for brunch, so this is a good place to go if you don’t want to wait. The place is pretty spacious and they have spots to accommodate bigger groups.


Magdalena’s Creperie

Magdalena’s is awesome. The fancy sweet and savory crepes are not to be missed (a bit more “gourmet” than ABCrepes), but I’m really here for one thing: pierogies.

Handmade ones are so much better than the frozen ones, and this spot in Fairhaven does it best. The sauerkraut and mushroom ones are my favorite (get them pan fried). With lunch fare like the Warsaw, Oslo and Roma sandwiches, Magdalena’s will satisfy your travel bug without, you know, spending thousands of dollars on a backpacking trip.

I’m a huge fan of Pel Meni, but there’s really nothing like traditional, authentic pierogies in the morning. I finished it off with a tiny tart, covered in Nutella and topped with strawberries and blueberries.

Magdalena’s isn’t so much in the student budget range, as it’s not so cheap, but for authentic Polish cuisine, it’s worth it.

Bonus points: They serve tons of different coffee options, including a French press for the table.

You’ll have to travel pretty far to find another truly Polish pierogi, and Magdalena’s are spot on.

Photos by Taylor Nichols


Restaurant reviews in The Western Front are the opinion of the individual writer. These reviews are not sponsored or influenced by advertising.


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