It was a rainy Sunday, and I woke up sans brunch plans thanks to a last-minute cancellation. I texted my two favorite cohorts and within an hour Saro and I were zipping over the bridge towards Virginia to collect Brooke.
We decided to brunch in Del Ray, simply because we were in Saro’s car and it’s not very often we get to drive to a brunch. Plus, there are adorable little antique shops in that neck of Alexandria, a prime place for some unique Christmas gift shopping.
When we walked into Fire Flies, we were thrilled to hear the sounds of a mandolin. They have a Bluegrass brunch! Wait. Not just a Bluegrass brunch, but a Big Hillbilly Bluegrass Brunch—every Sunday. Amazing.
We had a short 15 minute wait, but the tables were turned quickly, and we were snug at a table with a perfect view of the entertainment. On stage, three men—one with that mandolin, one with a guitar, and one with a fiddle—gathered around a microphone singing their hearts out. (No banjo?! Sigh.)
Fire Flies is like a diner, but with a bar, and a wine rack, and a stage. The place has personality, and you can tell the staff there is like a family. Every person we encountered was lovely and kind and beyond hospitable. Our server was quirky but on it with our orders—our coffee (though it tasted a little stale) was never empty.
The brunch menu is quite epic: Belgian waffles, salads, sandwiches, egg sandwiches, other egg dishes, tons of benedicts, entrees (like steak and eggs and biscuits and gravy), burgers, and even pizza. Hell, even their brunch cocktails lend variety: a mimosa of the day … even a Black Velvet (basically, one hardcore mimosa: BBC Bourbon Barrel Stout with sparkling wine)
I had the breakfast sandwich. I was tempted to get the breakfast burrito, and in hindsight I probably should have opted for that, but I was craving biscuits. And they were touted as homemade buttermilk biscuits, so who could resist that? Inside, apple smoked bacon, scrambled eggs, and a square of what I’m pretty sure was Kraft cheese. The biscuit crumbled so easily I couldn’t pick it up to eat it like a sandwich, so I ended up eating it with my knife and fork.
Brooke had the Norwegian Benedict, which was two poached eggs on an English muffin with smoked salmon and hollandaise. They should have put it on one of their homemade biscuits.
Saro also got a benedict, the Southern, which chicken fried steak instead of salmon, milk gravy instead of hollandaise, and a buttermilk biscuit instead of an English muffin. Now they’ve done it right.
All these things came with a choice of sides. The “hashbrowns” were actually potatoes—slightly disappointing. The “fruit” was apple slices soaked in some sort of vinaigrette. Interesting, tasty, but not a fruit selection. Brooke had a side salad, which was standard.
We decided we simply couldn’t pass up the chicken and waffles, so we ordered the dish to share. It was chicken fingers on top of a waffle with a scoop of butter. The chicken wasn’t anything extraordinary, neither was the waffle itself, but the dish got the job done, diner-style. Saro loved its simplicity.
But the real win of the brunch was the atmosphere. Bluegrass just makes you relax—and brunch is the perfect time for that. I’m so tired of stuffy jazz brunches; this was a nice alternative.
Towards the end of our brunch, one of the servers put down her towel after cleaning some tables, jumped on stage and starting singing a bluegrass song along with the guys. It was awesome.
The Bitches say: B. Awesome themed brunch, great service, and they have a lot of fun with it, but some of the diner-style food needs improvement.
P.S. On New Year’s Day Fire Flies is hosting a Pajama Party Brunch all day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wear your pajamas and get $1 Bloody Marys and free coffee. Adorbs!
1501 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301
Fire Flies serves brunch Saturday and Sunday (though the Hillbilly Bluegrass Brunch is only on Sundays).