Some people enjoy a light brekkie and some – especially if they’re on holiday – like to go for broke. Either way, if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you better make it a good one. And 10Best is happy to tell you where to get it. Fans of the family-run diner vibe will love Nick’s in the north part of the metro area. Want country charm? Head to “busy” downtown Oviedo where its famed feral chickens may entertain you while you wait for a table at the venerable TownHouse Restaurant. And if you like your pancakes Polynesian-style, look no further than the Kona Cafe, where they do them up with pineapple and macadamia creme. Diners looking for something just as decadent but a little more portable should run, not walk, to Donut King in Minneola (or its sister outpost in Winter Park). DK's circular breakfast cakes are so revered ‘round these parts that people come from miles around just to get their sugary fix. Plus they’re open 24/7 on the west side. Many of these venues are also open for lunch – and some serve breakfast all day – so be sure to do your research if you plan to sleep in and get your Benedict on at noon instead.
Polynesian-themed menu items like the Tonga toast and macadamia-pineapple pancakes are enough to warrant the Kona Café's mention when it comes to breakfast at Disney – or in the Orlando metro – but coffee lovers, too, will certainly appreciate the estate-grown Kona brew, particularly if they've had a late night. This venue, ensconced amid the splendor of Disney's Polynesian Resort, wins high marks for its breakfast and offers all the basic, American classics along with Hawaiian spins on its signature offerings. The Tonga toast – banana-stuffed sourdough "French toast" that's rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with strawberry compote – is arguably its most famous. Or infamous. Depending on your frame of mind. (407-939-3463)
Shakers American Cafe
The collection of salt & pepper shakers will give you ample conversational fodder while you await your meal at Shakers American Cafe, an old-school diner serving breakfast and lunch in Orlando's College Park neighborhood. Breakfast is served all day on Saturday, but on weekdays the small place gets a good lunch crowd (come early to get a table) and you'll miss out on those buttermilk pancakes you've been craving if you don't make it in before 11:00 am. Portions are hearty, options are impressive and come lunch Shakers does up an array of great salads if you're eating light. Of course, College Park is a great area for strolling, so if you need an excuse for something more decadent, by all means go ahead. ((407) 422-3534)
White Wolf Cafe
The White Wolf Cafe has been a staple in charming Ivanhoe Village for more than 20 years, a pioneer of sorts in a neighborhood that has caught up with its Bohemian, eclectic style, an easy place evocative of your Great Aunt's antique cluttered attic, where treasures from the past awaited discovery – only with better lighting and a full bar. Outside, sidewalk seating allows diners to be part of the Ivanhoe scene, inside Tiffany-style lamps and warm surroundings make you want to stay awhile. And the menu doesn't hurt the prospects. The White Wolf Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and hosts live music all the time, but weekends are for $3 mimosas and bloody Marys, decadent plates like steak and eggs, benedicts, pancakes (the kids breakfast menu is great, too) and always – homemade cinnamon rolls. (407-895-9911, 407-895-5590)
Look, it's not like three-meat omelets and cream cheese-stuffed French toast are the breakfasts of champions, so why NOT donuts? And if you're going to do donuts in the Orlando metro, you'd best be having the ones from Donut King. Made fresh around the clock (they're open 24/7) it's a donut-, cinnamon roll-, eclair lover's paradise. And ready for a surprise? They've got a broader menu, featuring Cajun/Creole dishes along with their square, steamed Castle burgers, patterned after Harold and Kumar's favorite foodstuff. Of course if those two DO show up here at 3 am, we're betting they came for the donuts. ((352) 243-4046)
Nick's Family Diner
Slinging breakfast and lunch to a devoted legion of customers – and likely creating new ones daily – Nick's Family Diner showcases all of this culinary genre's classics along with hearty and satisfying Greek and Italian specialties. Whether you're in the mood for a good old burger deluxe or want to step outside diner business as usual and go for a daily special – perhaps the stuffed meatloaf – Nick's should deliver the good nicely. Soul food aficionados might want to give the chicken and waffles a try. As for breakfast, the customers love it so much they serve it all day long. ((407) 704-8861)
Keke's Breakfast Cafe - Waterford Lakes
Keke's is a franchise born in Orlando. The Millenia location was its first and since then, it's popularity – driven by a clean design, welcoming atmosphere and really tasty food – has propelled the numbers to six and growing. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, Keke's staffers are courteous, knowledgeable and expeditious, its décor bright and modern, its food reliably good. The menu is large, perhaps daunting even for the indecisive, so enjoy the coffee, peruse awhile and go with your gut. Egg-vegetable pairings are especially light and enjoyable. The Keke's at Waterford Lakes has the added benefit of sitting in the heart of a heavy-duty shopping district. (407-559-1400)
Whether your early-morning routine leans more toward steel-cut oatmeal and Greek yogurt or black pepper-crusted bacon, there is a lot to love about starting your day at Artisan's Table. Locally sourced ingredients are the norm here, as are delicious takes on quiches, egg sandwiches, French toast and more. Looking for something a little exotic? Try the Japanese bowl, which features sticky rice, scallion, bacon, sweet chili sauce and togarashi – topped with two eggs however you like them. Whatever you do, leave some of that yolk runny. ((407) 730-7499)
Prepare for a wait if you show up at peak weekend breakfast hours at this longtime Park Ave. favorite, but fervent fans find that the benedicts and mimosas are worth a little extra time. That said, you can always pop in on a weekday for a late breakfast or early lunch to sample items like raspberry-and-brie-stuffed French toast or the lump crab scramble along with an array of burgers, salads and sandwiches. Also notable, the Briarpatch is an ice cream parlor and its desserts (cake slices are enormous) are definitely share-friendly. The Park Avenue location makes it a great place to start the day before exploring the neighborhood. (407-628-8651)
This quaint working Milk District bakery is open for breakfast and lunch with a manageable, fresh-made menu that changes near daily and makes choosing easy. Okay, that's arguable, since how one chooses between creative, handcrafted moon pies and fresh, local fruit-infused cobblers. is subjective. Easiest method? Bring a friend and share everything! Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies – the smells emanating from the Se7en Bites kitchen are wrong in all the best ways possible. Be thoroughly prepared for a sweet-related impulse buy to take home. Eggs and biscuits, scones and soups, Southern comfort classics and lots of surprising modern twists. ((407) 203-0727)
The TownHouse Restaurant
To paraphrase that old 70s Greg Kihn hit, "they don't make 'em like this anymore." Oviedo's downtown is hardly bustling (unless you count its famous feral chickens, they bustle quite a bit) but at its center sits the TownHouse, almost as it has since the 1950s. A recent move has put it in brand-new expanded digs up the street, but the food hasn't changed a bit. They're serving up all the diner classics in a clean and cozy a setting; it's been named to a host of Orlando-local lists over the years, most notably for its breakfasts. Aside from biscuits and gravy, omelets, pancakes and the like at breakfast, the Townhouse menu also features Greek and Mediterranean fare – with staples like burgers and meatloaf and all the things you'd expect from a quaint country diner. ((407) 365-5151)
About A.D. Thompson
A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.
A roller coaster enthusiast, A.D. readily admits there is fun to be had amid the madness of the theme parks, but has found there is magic, as well, in the outer-lying reaches of Mickey’s long shadow. She is delighted to share with you the spoils of her adopted city.
Visit her colorful compendium at www.amydrewthompson.com.
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