To say Danielle Messler is a passionate bruncher would be an understatement — she’s a bonafide brunch expert who knows all of the best places around Boston to satisfy your morning hankering for out-of-the-box eats like chicken & waffle tacos, everything bagel donuts and cronut breakfast sandwiches. When your weekend needs a shake-up, consult her Instagram feed (just like over 13,000 others do) for curated picks of the top restaurants around town. Below, Messler names her favorite chefs to follow online (hint: they’re two fierce ladies), reveals where she’d recommend taking photography courses and answers the question you’re obviously wondering — which is her favorite brunch spot? Read on to find out.
Can’t get enough brunch? Find 140+ of the best brunch spots around Boston here.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
I moved to Boston over 10 years ago for college at Northeastern University. After graduation, I got a job in Boston and decided to stay. I’ve always loved going out to eat, and found myself constantly researching new restaurants or new dishes I wanted to try. Going out to eat is also my favorite way of getting to know a new neighborhood— you can tell so much about an area by the types of restaurants there are and they can really make it feel like a community.
I started Boston Brunch Guide in 2014 when I really needed a creative outlet from work (at the time I was working in the financial industry), and brunch was my favorite weekend activity. I’m more of a brunch person than a bar person, so it was my favorite way to catch up with friends and socialize. I love the creativity there is on a brunch menu, and you basically get to have dessert for breakfast! Over the years it grew more and more, and I started investing more time and money into it, and it eventually helped me change careers to work in social media full time now.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
On my personal list that I haven’t gotten to try yet:
A Freak Frappe from Boston Burger Co.
The Loaded Hash at the Bacon Truck Cafe
Halloumi Shakshuka at Cafe Landwer
Sourdough Pancakes at Loyal Nine
Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch Doughnut at Union Square Doughnuts
(adding in one more because I just couldn’t choose) The French Toast at Tiger Mama
Recommend to others:
Everything Bagel Doughnut from Blackbird Doughnuts
Sunrise Poutine at The Gallows
Chocolate Chip Cannoli Waffle at Ducali
Soufflé Pancakes at Bootleg Special (actually honestly all of their brunch menu)
Chicken and Waffle Taco at Citrus and Salt
What do you think the next big trend is for restaurants?
I think the next big trend is one-of-a-kind or exclusive dining experiences, and there’s already a few really cool ones in Boston. East Boston Oysters is on my bucket list for sure, and if you haven’t heard of them, it’s definitely worth looking into. Shore Leave, the new tiki bar in the South End just opened a “secret” sushi restaurant that only has 9 seats, and does two seatings per night (editor’s note: read more about the sushi bar, No Relation, here). I love those kinds of experiences because they are so much more than just going out to dinner. I’m excited to see more of them continue to pop up around the city. Publico in South Boston also has an awesome pop-up all winter, where they turn the courtyard into a “ski lodge” complete with shot skis, cozy benches, and fire pits.
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
I love following Tiffani Faison (@tiffanifaison) and Joanne Chang (@joannebchang). They’re both awesome women who have created incredible brands and restaurants. I always have a bit of a fan girl moment when Joanne likes one of my photos from Flour Bakery!
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
@lizzies_bakery, @thatcheeseplate, and @stillcutedough. Lizzie makes the most incredible looking cakes — you almost don’t want to eat them because they’re so beautiful. But that would be a mistake, because they taste amazing. I’d highly recommend ordering the honey goat cheese cake for your next special occasion. It’s amazing, just trust me. Marissa Mullen (aka @thatcheeseplate and @cheesebynumbers) is a good friend from college who also happens to be an ARTIST with cheese. Seriously— she’s amazing. Emily from @stillcutedough focuses on donuts, which are an obvious favorite of mine. She’s also hilarious and fun to follow.
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Unpretentious, fun, growing.
Which restaurants haven’t you been to but you’re eager to try?
What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos?
Photography is about how you see the world, so focus on taking photos that you enjoy. If you like someone else’s style, be inspired, but make it your own. Don’t be afraid to take risks! That’s how you learn. I look back at my first photos sometimes and want to cringe, but it’s all been a process and I’m proud of how far I’ve come since then.
I’d also HIGHLY recommend the photography courses at the Boston Center for Adult Education — they’re incredibly well priced and I learned a ton. My single biggest piece of advice would be to practice, practice, practice. Also never be embarrassed about the things you need to do to get the shot you want. As long as you’re not disrupting anyone, go ahead and stand on that chair to get the overhead shot you want. Lighting is also SO important— so really understand how light impacts your photos. You can fix almost anything, but bad lighting can ruin your photos and be really frustrating.
A Few Of Your Favorite Things:
Favorite brunch spot: The HARDEST question I get asked! It’s a toss up between Mamaleh’s and The Gallows
Favorite place for outdoor dining: Publico
Favorite BBQ joint: Sweet Cheeks
Favorite late-night: Saus Boston
Favorite neighborhood for food: South End, hands down
Favorite new restaurant: Bartaco