by Courtney Dabney
photography by Jason Kindig
According to doctors, dietitians and mothers alike, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.It can also be the most enjoyable on the rare occasion you have time to sit back and linger over it.
There is something special about breakfast. I can still remember the taste of my grandmother’s tiny hand-cut biscuits. I have yet to master how she scrambled those eggs.
And, her cheese grits...
Where did I put those recipes?
Most of us grab something on the run during the workweek.My poor children usually find three spoons, three bowls and three boxes of dry cereal to choose from at our Breakfast table on school days. But on the weekends, we treat them to homemade waffles, eggs, pancakes, or even a stop by our favorite donut shop.
It seems like an indulgent escape to sip your coffee out of a real cup, read your paper and have someone else do the cooking for a change.
We have compiled a few early morning locations you may want to try. Some are roll-out-of bed-and-throw-on-your baseball- cap kind of places, while others will require slightly more grooming. All are restaurants where you can take time to catch up with friends and family and start your day off by relaxing over the most beloved meal of the day.
The Porch, located in the snug old town area of Burleson, is shaded by oak trees. It offers many egg options along with a limitless variety of omelets. You can choose the Meat Lover’s, chock full of sausage, bacon and ham, or the vegetarian Greek, which includes sautéed spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese. The Porch Special is basic and just what you expect from breakfast. It has your eggs and sausage plus two buttermilk pancakes. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but locals pack the place, and a quick glance inside the pie case will make you a believer. 140 S. Wilson St., Burleson
The Omni Hotel Downtown serves breakfast every day of the week, as well as brunch on Sunday in the Cast Iron Restaurant. The chefs update breakfast classics and tempt their guests to try something new like the Sweet Potato Pancake Stack topped with cinnamon whipped cream or the Malted Chocolate- Espresso Waffle. The Cast Iron also has menu items you won’t find anywhere else like its Smoked Salmon Frittata featuring egg whites, smoked salmon, fresh sliced jalapeños and baby spinach, all topped with lemon cream cheese. The restaurant emphasizes local ingredients and offers hometown hospitality. 1300 Houston St., Fort Worth
If you find yourself passing anywhere near Godley in the morning hours, check out Del Norte Tacos. The breakfast burritos and quesadillas are a local draw. They are potato and chorizo-laden delicacies that can be filled with any number of favorite ingredients.Another classic, the Steak and Egg Burrito, tastes warm and satisfying. As the name implies, you can also sample an endless combination of tacos for breakfast. The homemade salsas and sauces make them sing. Presentations are both artful and appetizing at Del Norte. 101 E. Highway 171, Godley
Although you could legitimately start the day with a big slice of Black Forest Cake (and who would blame you?), the Swiss Pastry Shop has some other tasty options. A la carte is the way to go here. You can get your Eggs cooked any way you like, but you would be crazy not to include something from the bakery. The turnovers, strudels, croissants or muffins will get you ready to continue the drive down Vickery. And, don’t forget, the coffee cakes in apricot, cherry, cinnamon or cream cheese are great to take home for breakfast tomorrow morning. 3936 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth
As the name describes, Yogi’s Bagel Cafe on Hulen is a great place for a toasty, chewy bagel. There are many flavors to choose from along with homemade cream cheese spreads.Pick your favorite bagel and smear. It is also a kid-friendly place with its classic Green Eggs and Ham (literally dyed green), and it has a fine selection of egg dishes as well as hearty pancakes. Since Yogi’s serves breakfast all day, it’s perfect for the late riser who just missed the McDonald’s breakfast menu. It is a perennial TCU hangout and is always packed on the weekends. 2710 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth
Bedford is the proud home of Le Peep. It’s the only one on this side of the Metroplex.The pancakes are large and fluffy. No need for a side of bacon or sausage with these babies.They come in Blueberry Granola or Cranberry Almond and will fill you up and take you to your happy place. The crepes are also good. Try the Chicken Crepe Benedict, with diced chicken and mushrooms, smothered in fresh hollandaise sauce. The interior style may be grandma chic, but the food tastes as if she made it herself.2113 Harwood Road #317, Bedford
For breakfast, Lake Worth residents head to Ginger Brown’s Old Tyme with a newspaper under their arm. You have a decision to make right off the bat. Are you in the mood for pancakes or will it be fresh buttermilk biscuits today? Once you have that nailed down, you can decide on how you want your eggs and what part of the pig you are craving this morning (chops, sausages or bacon). The waitresses will call you by pet names and keep your coffee cup topped off. 6312 Lake Worth Blvd., Lake Worth
McKinley’s Fine Bakery and Cafe houses one of the best and most affordable bakeries in town. It is in the heart of University Park Village, which makes it the ideal place to Stroll off your indulgences. That requires you to think of window-shopping as sport. Work with me here. The Homemade French Toast is only $5.95. It is served with powdered sugar, fresh strawberries, maple syrup and crispy bacon. The Breakfast Special comes with two scrambled eggs, bacon, yummy green chile potatoes and toast. And, don’t forget to take Something from the bakery case along for that mid-morning snack. 1616 S. University Dr., Ste. 301, Fort Worth
Breakfast taco fanatics scurry into Fuzzy’s Taco Shop to get their fix every day of the week. The egg and cheese filled tacos and burritos come with either potato, chorizo, bacon Or shrimp. Fuzzy’s also serves traditional plates with sides of fried potatoes, refried beans and fresh green sauce. The Huevos Rancheros consists of two fried eggs topped with jalapeño, onion, tomato and salsa. The Migas scrambles those eggs with chorizo sausage and tops it with Mexican cheese and green sauce. And, the Chilaquiles replaces the chorizo with beef or chicken. Fast service fills up patrons and sends them off in need of a morning siesta. Multiple Locations, fuzzystacoshop.com
The Tavern serves Saturday and Sunday brunch from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Along with a selection of breakfast cocktails, you will find a Spartan but creative brunch menu. The Beef Brisket Hash is a pleaser with slow-roasted brisket, roasted potatoes, one egg sunny side up, cheddar cheese and au jus for dipping. The Cinnamon French Toast is hot off the grill and includes three thickly sliced pieces of homemade bread, dusted with powdered sugar and served with crispy bacon and maple syrup. A relaxed atmosphere lets you savor your morning conversation and slow down a bit. 2755 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth
West Side Café is also known to some regulars as the Highway 80 Cafe. It’s always good food, but slow down and chew each bite thoroughly. One morning, I had to save a woman’s life by giving her the Heimlich Maneuver (true story)! This is where you come for two eggs over easy, with crispy bacon and a side of buttery grits. My kids like the pancakes, which are large, and a short stack is ample.Many customers are on a first name basis with their waitress. But, it’s a friendly crowd who won’t mind your sitting in their favorite booth. (Just ignore the glares!) 7950 Camp Bowie Blvd. W., Fort Worth
Stepping into the Montgomery Street Cafe is like stepping back in time. It feels like everything around it has aged, but Montgomery Street took a long sip from the Fountain of Youth and got stuck in 1949. It is cozy — some would say cramped like sardines — but that is all part of the charm. Choose your meat, and then you will be asked how you like your eggs, and whether it will be grits or hash browns, toast or biscuit and gravy. It’s not only the food you come here for, it’s the original refrigerators and finishes and the real cowboys eating breakfast in their spurs. 2000 Montgomery St., Fort Worth
The Mansfield staple, Our Place Restaurant, can handle hearty appetites. The Ranchers Breakfasts will feed your need for protein.These two-egg combos come with corned beef hash, sirloin steak or pork chops. You don’t even have to wear your spurs to get served. Or try the aptly named “S.O.S.” breakfast combination with four buttermilk biscuit halves smothered in sausage gravy and hash browns on the side. No need for a distress signal; just a few strong cups of coffee to wash it all down.915 W. Debbie Lane, Mansfield
If you need a break from the rat race, check into Rough Creek Lodge and dream about breakfast, or just stop in if you happen to be passing through Glen Rose. The views are expansive and demand that you take a deep breath and give them the attention they deserve. Chef Gerard Thompson’s menus are creative, locally sourced and ever-changing.This is an experience not just a meal. The fresh air and free-range eggs will do you good. It’s a culinary masterpiece with a view. 5165 County Road 2013, Glen Rose
Paco & John Mexican Diner on 8th Avenue serves up tasty Mexican dishes. The morning menu has Huevos Divorciados, which is two eggs, either scrambled or fried, and topped with fresh homemade red and green salsas along with bacon, toast and pan-fried potatoes. The quick hand-held burritos come with interesting fillings like chorizo sausage, apple and champignon mushrooms or salmon, avocado and scallions — not your typical Tex- Mex. That is probably because its sister restaurant happens to be haute cuisine Saint Emilion.1116 8th Ave., Fort Worth
The Six 10 Grille inside the Ashton Hotel downtown is the posh way to start your day. Its Bananas Foster French Toast with caramelized bananas, pecans and Mascarpone cheese is a decadent twist on the basic. Or warm up with a bowl of not-so-typical oatmeal topped with either fresh apples and cinnamon or bananas and pecans. The classy decor, impeccable service and intimate setting open onto a huge Window framing a bustling street scene. 610 Main St., Fort Worth
The Smith Family has been in the breakfast biz since 1926. The Paris Coffee Shop on Magnolia is where your grandfather used to stop in on his way to work. That’s right — Paris Coffee Shop opened the doors more than 85 years ago. There is a perfectly simple menu that covers all the bases. Instead of putting together annoying combinations that leave out the one thing you really had your heart set on, the restaurant lets you choose how many eggs or pancakes and exactly what you want on the side. Brilliant and consistent! 704 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth
Hit the bricks to Lucile’s Stateside Bistro for Banana Nut French Toast. Lucile’s batter fresh slices of rich banana nut bread and cook it in the wood oven. It is topped with melting butter and powdered sugar and comes with your choice of grilled ham, sausage or country bacon. The waffles are a similar feast, topped with fresh, plump blueberries. The interior is full of cafe curtains, original tile floors and tin ceilings. Lucile’s dishes up great service in its quaint and cozy dining room full of vintage charm that takes you back and slows you down. 4700 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth
The OldWest Cafe in Grapevine serves up heaping helpings of pure Texana. The Southern home-style grub will start your day right. How about Almond Crisp French Toast served with sliced bananas and whipped cream or something new like Lemony Pancakes or Coconut Pancakes with Pineapple syrup? Of course, eggs with bacon and a side (more like one half of the plate) of fresh hash browns is always an option. It’s down-home done right! 600-A W. Northwest Highway, Grapevine
Inside the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel downtown you will find Vidalias.As the name suggests, the restaurant provides both down-home hospitality and Southern cuisine. Start with a glass of fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, unless your idea of a true Southern breakfast includes a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary, which are also on the menu. Choose something from the griddle like the Malted Vanilla Pancakes or dive into A French Toast Bake. You can also go with the V-Signature breakfast, which is a morning version of the beloved BLT sandwich with fried egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheddar and mayo.
200 Main St., Fort Worth
Close to everything on University Drive, you will find Panera Bread (and a new one just opened across from Hulen Mall). It is the perfect place to meet in the morning. With free Wi-Fi access and a full range of coffee bar specialty drinks, you can give Starbucks the day off. It has beautiful Baked Egg Soufflé.s with your choice of fillings. Panera also serves full breakfasts. If you can ignore the bakery case, that is. Not easy to do when fresh-baked croissants, bagels, bear claws and giant muffins are calling your name. 1700 S. University Drive, Fort Worth & 4611 S Hulen St., Fort Worth
Esperanza’s Mexican Cafe and Bakery has a location on North Main just around the corner from the mother ship — Joe T.’s— and also one on Park Place in the hospital district.Take your pick. You can’t go wrong. Huevos Rancheros is simple with two fried eggs served on top of a tostada with fresh Ranchera sauce. And you can kick it up a notch by adding slow-cooked barbacoa beef to the mix.Or, if your cholesterol is not an issue, go with the Chorizo con Pappas — Mexican sausage scrambled with pan-fried potatoes and a side of refried beans. 2122 N. Main St., Fort Worth &1601 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth
From Stetsons hung as artwork, to cowhide covered chandeliers, the Cowtown Diner provides a sense of place – Cowtown. One breakfast entrée is named That Boy Can Pack Some Groceries and includes three eggs, three meats, grits, potatoes and pancakes, all on the same feast. I would love to meet the guy who is ordering that one. Sounds more like a food challenge than breakfast. For the more moderate appetite, choose from classic omelets or pancakes with a side of either ham, bacon, sausage or even chicken sausage.350 Main St., Fort Worth
The Ol’ South Pancake House is a hometown institution. If you are new to town and haven’t made it in yet for one of the famous German Pancakes or (mini-me) Dutch Babies, consider it a pilgrimage. For those who have been regulars for years, you might also consider one of the waffles. The waffles come in many flavors including blueberry, strawberry, chocolate or pecan. They have a crispy exterior and are tender inside.The staff is friendly, even motherly, and will keep a close eye on refilling your coffee cup.1509 S. University Drive, Fort Worth
You know Lambert’s Steaks, Seafood, & Whiskey with the happy-looking Hereford on its sign serves up brilliant beef, but did you know on Sunday it also serves brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.? The price includes both the full buffet and a la carte options. The Buffet boasts smoked salmon, fresh green salads and a carving station serving either prime rib or pork tenderloin. The a la carte menu gives you three types of Eggs Benedict to splurge on: the Classic, a Salmon Benedict or the John Wayne with Prime Rib, as well as Green Chile Grits for a side dish.2731 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth
Café Modern is a masterpiece any time of day. Its dramatic architecture and artwork are also an appetizing backdrop for Sunday brunch. The menus are always seasonal, local and sustainable. I highlighted the Modern Benedict a few months back with its lemony hollandaise and artistic presentation. How about Moroccan Chicken Salad? A pistachio and almond crusted chicken breast with a hint of curry is served over romaine lettuce with a tart-tasting preserved lemon vinaigrette, roasted peppers, feta cheese and pita croutons. This is high-end decadence and everything on the menu goes above and beyond. 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth
Hacienda San Miguel serves a great Sunday Brunch with a limited but very affordable menu. The priciest meal is the Huevos Benedictine Cafe San Miguel Style for $12.95. It is an indulgent presentation consisting of two poached eggs served atop two handmade jalapeño crab cakes with hollandaise sauce. The Chilaquiles a los 3 Chiles has the zing you’re looking for, with a blend of crispy corn tortillas and spicy chicken draped with melted white queso asadero. The upscale Mexican interior sets the right mood. 2948 Crockett St., Fort Worth
Tucked into the Forest Park area is Old Neighborhood Grill. Breakfast is a specialty, and everyone knows it. Although you can find a full range of egg-based offerings, the favored side dish has to be the Beer Battered Biscuits (and cream gravy). Can’t you just smell them now? If you are looking for a vegetarian entrée, try the Austin Migas, which is a meatless version of the original flavored with hatch green chiles and melting Monterey Jack cheese served over tricolored tortilla chips. The chalkboard displays a vast menu, and the vintage vibe is comfortable. It is a great place to meet friends. 1633 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth
Park Hill residents are passionate about their neighborhood Black Rooster Bakery. The line can be long on the weekends, but it moves quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be face to face with gooey pecan cinnamon rolls or delicate scones and muffins in amazing, ever-changing varieties. One recent item was a Cinnamon Pecan Coffee-Cake with Chocolate Cherry Almond Swirl. If you have a particular craving to satisfy, we suggest you queue up early. Rest assured that baker Marche Ann Mann has been up since 4 a.m. baking everything just for you. 2430 Forest Park Blvd., Fort Worth
The Sunday Brunch Buffet is perfected at Blue Mesa Grill.This self-serve extravaganza hits all the highlights of New Mexican cuisine. It includes the famous Blue Corn Cheese Enchiladas with Three Chile Red Sauce as well as the slightly sweet, corn masa-based Adobe Pie stuffed with Chicken, Cheese and Roasted Peppers. This true Champagne brunch comes with your choice of either bubbly or a Mimosa. You will also find a great selection of salads and more typical morning fare like Eggs Benedict, waffles and an omelet bar. 1600 S. University Drive, Fort Worth