Here's How Eggs Benedict Really Got Its Name

It's Sunday and you're out with your friends for your weekly brunch. There's nothing better than a mimosa or a steaming latte and a plate of eggs Benedict. It's easy to see why this is one of the most beloved breakfast and brunch dishes. 

Two poached eggs sit atop an open-faced English muffin, topped with Canadian bacon and slathered with hollandaise sauce to create a dish that's comforting, savory, and elegant at the same time. The dish is so beloved, there are countless variations for vegans, pescetarians, and just about any other lover of breakfast. Many chefs even create their own versions, using variations like Taylor ham, smoked salmon, spinach, asparagus, turkey, or any number of other ingredients to personalize this classic dish.

Though many people agree on their love for eggs Benedict, not many actually know the origins of the name. Who, on earth, was this delightful dish named after? Who is (or was) Benedict?

A tale of two Benedicts

Though one might guess that the dish was named for Benedict Arnold, the most famous traitor of the American Revolution, it was not. Nor was it named after Pope Benedict XIII, the leader of the Catholic Church from 1724 to 1730 (or any of the 15 other popes who took the name Benedict). The origins of the dish eggs Benedict actually start in New York City in the late 1800s. At that time, the city's elite enjoyed dining out with a new late morning meal — brunch was starting to become all the rage.

The name of eggs Benedict has at least two possible origin stories, according to Atlas Obscura. Famous New York City steakhouse Delmonico's is one possible location. In the late 1800s, Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, regular patrons of the restaurant, asked for a special order one morning that were basically what we know as an eggs Benedict. The item proved to be so delicious, it became a popular "off-the-menu" item. 

Another story involves Manhattan's Waldorf Hotel, where a man named Lemuel Benedict ordered a meal to appease his hangover. Benedict asked for "some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce." 

Either way, the next time you hunker down to a delicious brunch, give thanks to whichever person named Benedict for their contribution to the weekend meal.