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Firefly Brunch

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I am not a morning person, in any sense of the word. I love to sleep, so much so that I’ve acquired the moniker “Pillow Princess” from my family. Some people can survive without sleep, but I am not one of those people.

I wish I was, because I’d accomplish so much more with those extra hours that I spend sleeping. However, without seven to eight hours of sleep, I’m grouchy and irritable. My productivity and performance—professionally, socially, physically—falters.

Sunday mornings are for two things: for sleeping in and for brunch. A few weekends ago, after a raucous night on the town, my boyfriend woke me up at 7 a.m. on a Sunday. Let’s keep it concise by saying that he is no longer my boyfriend.

After waking me at 7 a.m., he insisted upon going to brunch. Only, after he did a thorough Google search, he discovered a fact I already knew: no restaurants open before 11 a.m. on Sundays.

You know why? Because sane people don’t get up before 11 a.m. on a Sunday.


The only restaurants serving brunch before 11 a.m. are those located within hotels, as they typically serve breakfast all week long for their clientele. As I was in no state, or mood, for brunch at the W or the Jefferson hotels, we opted for Firefly, which is located inside the Madera, a Kimpton Hotel in Dupont.

It was a beautiful early fall day, and Firefly appeared to have a patio, but did not offer outdoor seating. This irked me more than it should, as I was hungover and running on three hours of sleep and was willing to try vitamin D—or anything—to improve my mood.


Firefly, for starters, is extremely loud. I’m not sure what the renovation did to the restaurant’s acoustics, but the din was unbearable. The restaurant felt cramped, with low ceilings and tables pushed close together. A cadre of young, friendly female servers buzzed about the packed space. In our time at Firefly, several of these young ladies would have to deal with complaints from the tables around us over the quality of the food.

Oy, the food at Firefly. The best thing about Firefly is the complimentary bread basket, which arrived first. It all went downhill from there. The basket is filled with pound cake, biscuits, and soft bread, and served with whipped butter. Kudos, Firefly, it’s a great complimentary bread basket.


My mimosa was sub-standard, without fresh orange juice or sufficient fizz.

We ordered the deviled eggs, which were presented beautifully, covered in pepper, and topped with a potato chip. In truth, they looked better than they tasted. They were good but tasted slightly processed.

Between the moment we placed our orders for out entrees and the moment they arrived, we witnessed issues at the tables on both sides of our own.


It began with us bearing witness to a heart-wrenching brunch spectacle. The elderly gentleman dining by himself directly to my right found something—a hair or an egg shell, I couldn’t quite hear what—in his entrée. He looked both startled and disheartened and mentioned something quietly to the waitress, a lovely young redhead.

Naturally, the sweet waitress felt terrible. She apologized profusely, called over the manager, and inadvertently created enough of a scene that before long everyone in the restaurant had a clue about what had happened.

Shortly thereafter, I overheard a couple of Brunchin’ Bitches to my left Bitching and Bitching some more about the grits. “I’m from the South. This is not how grits are made,” said the one. “Don’t tell me I don’t know about grits. I make the best grits this side of Texas,” said the other.

Much to my dismay, I had already ordered a dish with grits—the crab cake Eggs Benedict, which is served on a patty of grits rather than an English muffin.


As I wasn’t really speaking with my brunch companion, I engaged these ladies in conversation, politely inquiring what the fuss was all about. (This is what Bitches call investigative journalism.)

Apparently, the Firefly grits are hard and clumpy and not properly cooked, the ladies explained. So, they sent them back. But rather than apologize, the chef sent the waitress back out to explain that these are a special kind of grits and are meant to be served in that fashion. These Brunchin’ Bitches thought this was a load of bollox and didn’t appreciate “the chef forcing his wait staff to lie to patrons.” Two tables down, I saw a plate of untouched grits whisked away and another waitress seeking to make amends.


As there’s no need to kill a dead man—Firefly or the ex-boyfriend—so we’ll be quick in bringing this brunch review to a close. The crab cake in the Eggs Benedict was primarily filler, there was hardly any Hollandaise on the dish, and the grits really were awful. It was too mushy, quickly covering the plate in a cream colored slop.

As for the guy’s sausage and gravy, which also looked like cream-colored slop, the biscuits were hard and the gravy was gross. Poor guy. I feel badly for everyone at Firefly that day.

The Bitches say: F+. A Southern restaurant that can’t make grits? Simply unacceptable. Oh, and try not to poison your elderly patrons with inedible materials.

1310 New Hampshire Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
(202) 861-1310

Firefly serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Good For
Brunch Date, Group Brunch

4 thoughts on “Firefly Brunch”

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  1. That’s too bad! I’ve been to Firefly a couple of times for dinner and couldn’t have been more pleased by the food, service and ambiance. I even had their shrimp & grits appetizer and though I don’t like shrimp or grits, the app was amazing. Note to self: stick to dinner only at Firefly

  2. Truly sad to read. I first tried Firefly about 2 years ago, and at that point I really loved it because the staff was friendly, the place wasn’t excessively populated and the food (while not my favorite) was affordable and good enough. One of my favorite brunch experiences was the waitresses at Firefly just letting me and my brunchmate sit and talk over coffee for an hour after we finished eating without pestering us once.

    I’ve definitely noticed a decrease in quality as it became more popular though and I think the last time I had a good time there was in Spring 2012. Now it’s always overcrowded, noisy, and (like commented on here) the cooks have gotten lazy. Hopefully they can figure out how to grow before its’ too late, or they’re going to crash at some point.

  3. Been to Firefly a few times for brunch and twice for dinner, and while I wouldn’t say the food is OMG amazing, it’s always been quite good. I do agree that the restaurant is crowded and cramped, but I’ve never had any problems with the food. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience.

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