There are days in DC that I forget we are in a recession. Last Sunday’s brunch at Kramerbooks & Afterwords was one of them. The book shop was stuffed full with people, and every table was filled, the air abuzz with excitement for spring. I was worried that the wait for two would be at least an hour when we walked in, but we actually only waited for 15 minutes! Afterwords Cafe has lots of little parts, the glass house, the outdoor patio, the upstairs – they take advantage of not a lot of space, and stuff it full with people.
Kramerbooks is definitely a DC institution, ranking up there with Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Brickskeller as a place everyone has been at some point while living in the city. I actually had not, but was eagerly awaiting checking out both the bookstore and the cafe – I had heard mixed reviews, from horrible to mediocre, to a favorite. I was ready to decide for myself. So… the food? Well… you’ll find out after the break.
The bookstore was fantastic, I kept browsing and browsing and wound up with an arm-full of books by the time our table was ready. The children’s book section was entertaining, board books ranging from Olivia to Goodnight DC. I love to buy books, ask any of my friends, I’m like the group library, so putting brunch in a bookstore is like heaven to me.
We were able to sit in the glass house, and as we were eating the sky cleared and it got warm. They were able to open the garage-door-type windows and air the place out, a perfect spring Sunday morning to catch up with a friend. The brunch menu was impressive – a good selection and generally around $12. I wound up getting the french toast, served with a fruit compote, bacon and potatoes. The potatoes were a surprise, they weren’t typical hash browns, they were seasoned sliced red skinned potatoes. The french toast wasn’t too eggy and not heavy, and the fruit that accompanied it was perfect. The bacon was a bit greasy and fatty without crisp makes me sad – nothing makes good bacon like super crispy fat (… mmm…) but that was the lowest point of the whole meal, not bad!
Steve wound up with a HUGE and yummy vegetable omlet, he battled oozing cheese to get to the veggie goodness. We wound up chatting and eating for a little over an hour, downing coffee and talking – not once did we feel rushed. The service was pleasant, but not overbearing. I hear that the dessert is fantastic, but we were stuffed. I’ll be back though, ready for some pie!
Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe is located at 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Closest Metro stop: Dupont Circle (Red line). For more information, call (202) 387-1462.