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Eggs BenedictWhen you sit down for breakfast at any diner across the country, you will likely find eggs benedict on the menu – Colony Diner included! Due to the popularity of its original recipe, variations of the classic runny egg with creamy hollandaise sauce have emerged over the years, from Florentine benedicts with spinach to California-inspired benedicts with avocado.

Yet as with many classic American dishes, there are disputes surrounding who invented it. Learn about the origins of eggs benedict.

What Is Eggs Benedict?

The classic dish begins with an English muffin, toasted but still soft on the inside. From here, Canadian bacon or ham is layered on top, then a poached egg is added to each half of the English muffin. Hollandaise sauce over everything is the finishing touch.

Origins of Eggs Benedict

Multiple individuals and restaurants claim to have introduced eggs benedict during the 19th century.

Delmonico’s Restaurant

Delmonico’s defined American cuisine well into the 20th century, unrolling staples like Baked Alaska and Chicken à la King. As such, introducing eggs benedict to the American public seems like a no-brainer. However, this lower Manhattan institution has two stories regarding the origins of this dish.

First, chef Charles Ranhofer created a custom combination for regular customer Mrs. LeGrand Benedict in the 1860s, who was looking to try something new. She told him to create a dish out of poached eggs, ham, hollandaise and truffles. However, Ranhofer claims to have invented the dish himself and published it as his own recipe in his 1894 cookbook.

The Waldorf Hotel

In 1894, stockbroker Lemuel Benedict requested the components of eggs benedict – this time with buttered toast and Canadian bacon, plus a pitcher of hollandaise on the side – after a night of drinking. Chef Oscar Tschirky, credited for the Waldorf salad, whipped up the dish with an English muffin but Benedict supposedly assembled the combination by himself. Tschirky was so inspired that he kept the dish on the menu for breakfast and lunch.

In the 1940s, Lemuel Benedict backed up this story, telling New York Magazine that he thought up the combination as a hangover cure.

Commodore E.C. Benedict

In 1967, the New York Times published a story about a letter from Edward P. Montgomery, which credited banker and avid yacht sailor Commodore E.C. Benedict with creating the now-popular breakfast dish. The letter included a recipe, supposedly developed by Commodore Benedict’s mother. The recipe included toast and ham but had over-hard instead of poached eggs.
Stop by Colony Diner for all-day breakfast, including classic eggs benedict and newer New York, Greek and Polish-inspired takes on this classic. View our menu today.