Sunday morning (especially during the summer) is probably my favorite time of week. Why you may ask? Because that is the ideal brunch time. Last Sunday was no exception and once I woke from my slumber, I asked a friend whether or not he had any brunch plans. Turns out he and a couple other college friends were planning to go to The Wonderland Ballroom up in Columbia Heights. Since I have never heard of the place before, the name definitely intrigued me so I adventured up from Foggy Bottom to see what it was all about. Arriving at the corner of Kenyon and 11th Street, I saw my friends sitting in an outside picnic table area where a bunch of other customers were eating and chatting away. My friends who lived in the area later informed me that the Wonderland Ballroom turned out to be a popular dive bar in the area and also happened to serve a good brunch. With Bottle Service Mimosas ($11.00), a sunny day, and a good group of friends, the morning could not be any more picturesque.
Looking through the menu, I found myself craving some eggs and veggies and the Gypsy ($9.79) in a skillet. The entree consisted of bacon, mushrooms, spinach, the works (grilled peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheddar, and home fries) with eggs sunny side up – a perfect choice for my craving. During my decision making process, the waitress however said that this place’s the Buttermilk Pancakes ($7.79) were “the best pancakes she ever had,” which is definitely a big statement to say. Definitely something I want to try the next time I’m up there for brunch. My other friends ordered other skillets, such as Hollywood ($10.79) which had veggie sausage, avocado, two eggs and the works.
Gu’d Tip: This is a dog friendly place so if you have a dog, feel free to bring him/her as well! During my meal, I saw a couple dogs sitting with their owners in the outside dining area.
When our food came (and after a discussion of why the food didn’t actually come in a hot skillet…), I dug into my skillet and found myself very stratified. The eggs were great, however the veggies were the real winners. Perfect for a sunday morning, the veggies were well-cooked and not oily. The size of the entree was large enough to fill you up, but not overfill you. My friend who ordered The Cure ($11.79), a chili cheese omelet, topped with sour cream, avocado, pico and the works ,said that that meal was a lot heavier than expended. Not surprising though since chili cheese omelet pretty much gave that clue away. Plus the entree’s most popular customers were probably the ones who were nursing over a hangover.
The atmosphere during brunch seemed to be a lot of customers ranging from the early twenties to their early thirties. Especially at the smaller picnic tables, you will be in close quarters with other customers, who will probably join in on your conversation from time to time. For those who are looking for a more private brunch, there are also small tables lining the outside of the bar. If you’re looking for a friendly environment and possibly meeting a few new strangers during your meal, the Wonderland Ballroom is the place to be.
The Wonderland Ballroom is a great place to have brunch (especially outside) if you’re looking for somewhere near Columbia Heights. If you happen to wake up to a day with great weather, grab a friend or two and head over for pancakes, skillets, and mimosas.
Price Range: $$ ($10-$25 range)
Gu’d Food Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0