Sincerely Breakfast, an all-day breakfast spot in Dupont Circle, is the first of the five vendors operating from Underground Food Court, a ghost kitchen operating in Northwest D.C. Owners Tiffany Fiedler and Randall Matthews came up with the concept in March 2022. With Fiedler’s ghost kitchen experience and Matthews’ culinary background, they joined forces to create a new digital food hall.
Matthews has extensive kitchen experience. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, then worked with chef Michael Mina for more than 16 years, helping open more than 20 restaurants as a corporate chef. He also helped open St. Anselm near Union Market and Ada’s on the River in Alexandria, but has since transitioned to the takeout-only concept of operating ghost kitchens. “Since the pandemic started, I’ve noticed people reverting to comfort food with takeout. We wanted to give that same hospitality,” he says.
Underground Food Court is in the basement level of a building on 19th Street NW, just off the circle. A handwritten chalkboard rests on the sidewalk, making the food court easier to find, and touch-screen kiosks inside the ghost kitchen allow you to place orders. Online orders are placed on shelves toward the left and a pickup counter for in-person orders, which kitchen staff hand over, is to the right.
Sincerely Breakfast’s menu includes mostly handheld items—think fast-food breakfast menus but heartier, with better ingredients and much better flavor. All their ingredients are locally sourced and cooked fresh daily. Choose between biscuit sandwiches, burritos, and French toast. There are also classic breakfast sides, like thick cut applewood smoked bacon, chicken sausage patties, and soft scrambled pasture raised eggs. Their crispy breakfast potatoes are seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and onion powder, then roasted with bell peppers and caramelized onions.
The most popular menu item is Nana’s Favorite Fried Chicken Biscuit, which comes from Matthews’ family recipe. This sandwich is sizable, and I could hardly get my mouth around it (in a good way). Cooks brine chicken thighs in buttermilk, then dip them in a country-style batter before double frying. It’s assembled with scrambled eggs, bacon, smoked Gouda cheese, and spiced honey. While I loved the chicken, the main character here is the buttermilk biscuit. It put me in a buttery carb heaven. The same person makes the biscuits each morning, baking about 150 daily! If I worked there, only 143 would be sold, because I’d be snacking on some during my shift.
Breakfast burritos are also ordered frequently. Each is made with various proteins, scrambled eggs, onions, and peppers, and wrapped in a fresh flour tortilla. The harissa-charred chicken burrito comes with breakfast potatoes and a garlic aioli. The meat lover’s version has the same harissa chicken and aioli, with chunks of pork chop, bacon, pickled onion, and smoked Gouda. A vegan option is made with smoked wild mushrooms and an avocado crema, wrapped in a low-carb tortilla.
I went with their signature burrito, because I never miss an opportunity to order anything with pork belly. The cooks lightly score the fatty side of the pork belly, then sear it on a griddle to render some of the fat. It’s then rubbed down with their special spice mix to cook in the oven for three hours until it’s fork tender. The cooked pork is chilled overnight, which makes it much easier to cut into chunks before it gets seared to order. That tender pork belly in burrito form was exactly what I needed that day. Whatever is in that spice mix can be bottled up and sold in stores.
Each of Sincerely Breakfast’s French toasts are made with brioche from Leon Bakery. There’s an old-fashioned French toast served with fresh fruit if you want to keep it classy. They also have a popular strawberry cheesecake variety. Strawberries are soaked in a bit of sugar to make their own syrup and paired with a cheesecake filling. It’s then spread between two buttery French toast slices and topped with a toasted caramel sauce.
Sam, the super helpful kitchen manager, recommended the “Are You Almond?” French toast. It is drizzled with a slow-cooked brown butter caramel sauce, sprinkled with sea salt toasted almonds, and dusted with powdered sugar. Again, the carb gawds were with me as I took a bite. I loved that it wasn’t too sugary, and the almonds gave it a good sweet-salty combo.
Sincerely Breakfast has some healthier options to choose from, which doesn’t get ordered as frequently. The gluten-free parfait is made with fat-free yogurt, macerated berries, and smoked honey. The smoked turkey and egg white burritos are paleo and keto friendly. Their overnight oats are soaked in almond milk and topped with local organic honey, chia seeds, fresh berries, and gluten free crispy granola. If you want to go the fake healthy route, there’s avocado toast made with grilled avocado, sourdough, pickled red onions, fresh dill, a garlic-herb cream cheese, and a sprinkle of their secret spice. Gluten-free bread can be used for the biscuit sandwiches, burritos can be made into bowls, and whole eggs can be substituted with egg whites.
There are a few canned and bottled beverages to quench your thirst, and cold brew coffee, orange, and apple juice are available to round out a breakfast. There are also a couple of sodas and fruity kombuchas to choose from. They’ve recently started selling a brand of canned lattes from Minor Figure, offering a coffee, chai, and matcha flavor.
It’s not that often that you come across a breakfast spot with quick service, decent portions, and fair pricing that doesn’t compromise flavor. Sincerely Breakfast hits all three of those marks.
Sincerely Breakfast is located at 1506 19th St. NW. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Pickup orders can be placed online or in person at the self-service kiosk. Delivery is available online, or through Grubhub and UberEats.