Since it opened, Scott Schroeder and Pat O'Malley's The Hungry Pigeon has been slammed for brunches, lunches, and dinners alike, but breakfast at this new Queen Village spot is a quiet weekday pleasure. O'Malley arrives daily at 4 a.m. to bake the day's muffins, banana bread sticky buns, and croissants, which regular guests aren't shy about proclaiming the best in the city. While other meals offer table service, breakfast is still largely a casual affair. Walk up to the counter and order your coffee, pick a table, and make yourself comfortable. There's acoustic guitar from the speakers, and light pouring into the front wall of windows even on an overcast morning. As a result, the airy space has a coffee shop vibe to it in the early hours; a couple talking over coffee, friends settling in to study for an exam, an animated business meeting, and neighbors stopping in for croissants to go. The door swings open over and over, but Hungry Pigeon feels calm.
Where the restaurant breaks from the coffee shop vibe is with breakfast offerings beyond the inviting trays of pastries: robust egg sandwiches on house-made English muffins; brown rice congee topped with vegan kimchi, poached egg, avocado, Sichuan chili oil, and sprouted lentils; or a special of huevos rancheros with a side of hash browns. Pretty much anything on the menu would put most coffee shop breakfasts to shame. Stick around long enough and you might even see a delivery of fresh pigeons.