You're going to need energy to take on the waves on the Space Coast. Start your day right, at one of our favorite 10 places to grab breakfast in the area.
Energize with an authentic Cuban coffee at the Vargas Cafe, or sip a brew made from custom-roasted beans at the Sun Shoppe and Cafe. The Sunrise Whole Grain Bakery and Coffee Shop can pour you a Joe and serve it with fresh-baked pastries – even gluten-free. With plenty of seating space and multiple floors, the Sunrise is ideal for larger groups or people looking for some quiet space to work.
We especially love the unique, Florida twists on some of the classic breakfast options, such as the Crabby Frank's Benedict, an eggs benedict with snow crab instead of Canadian bacon, offered at Grill's Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar. Pair it with some fresh-squeezed orange juice, to top off the perfect beachy breakfast.
Several restaurants offer popular brunch menus, too. The Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill's Sunday mimosa brunch is always packed. Izzy's Bistro's brunch is set to live music. And the Chart House, known for offering some of the Space Coast's best seafood, brings that same quality to its brunch menu.
Or if you're looking for some inexpensive, familiar comfort food, Barrier Jack's is a local fave.
In this little, family-owned cafe, you will be awed by the authentic Cuban and Mexican cuisine for reasonable prices – under $10 a meal. Vargas Cafe (named after the husband-wife owner duo) claims to make the best Cuban subs in Cape Canaveral, and there's really no contest.
Breakfast here starts around 8:45 a.m. Enjoy omelets, espressos and Cuban coffee, which is the shining star of this small establishment.
For a later brunch, we enjoy the Don Pepe Special: Palomilla steak, red beans, a salad, Cuban bread, pico de gallo and, of course, that steaming "expresso" to wash it all down. Feeling less adventurous? The beef empanadas will fill you up and leave your belly smiling. Everything here is homemade, from sauces to the refreshing avocado salad, and the real Cuban deal. (321-783-9519)
Simply Delicious Cafe and Bakery
Simply Delicious is an early riser, and only open until mid-afternoon. It's well known for its stunning cakes and cupcakes, but its breakfast always draws out crowds, too.
As you might expect as a bakery, Simply Delicious's specialties are also sweet and indulgent, such as blueberry-stuffed French toast with cream cheese. But you can also get hearty, American-style plates, such as omelets, grits and biscuits and gravy.
On your way out, make sure you grab a cupcake. The baked goods here are beautiful, creative, colorful and photo-worthy. Like an art gallery that you can eat.
Simply Delicious is a family-run, long-standing Cocoa Beach business with a loyal following. (321-783-2012)
Sunrise Whole Grain Bakery and Coffee Shop
Sunrise opens at 6 a.m. and stays open until 6 p.m. This family-fun business is a hot gathering place to work, relax and meet. In fact, a local running club and knitting club meet here regularly. There's plenty of space to meet and wifi is free.
Sunrise doesn't only offer (delicious) whole-grain breads. It also bakes muffins, cookies, scones and cinnamon rolls – most from scratch. Bread here is made from 100 percent whole wheat with no additives, and flavored using pure Florida honey. Most bread doesn't contain preservatives, fats or oils.
Gluten-free eaters will be happy to see a small selection for them, too. Curl up with a book, a coffee and a light breakfast upstairs, and prepare for your fun day on the beach. Craving something to cool off? Order a smoothie or iced blended coffee drink. (321-268-1009)
Chart House Restaurant - Melbourne
The Chart House is considered one of the Space Coast's best seafood restaurants. The location is ideal, right on the banks of the Indian River and close to some of Melbourne's top businesses and, of course, the beach.
Brunch at the Chart House is on the higher end, but with that, you can expect top quality. For about $26 per person, the brunch menu includes tasty plates of macadamia nut French toast topped with pineapples and berries, or a drool-worthy version of the classic benedict: a tenderloin benedict, accented with carved filet medallions.
Brunch comes with the salad bar, and you can top off your late breakfast with mimosas, bloody Marys or fuzzy navels. (3217296558)
The Green Room
The Green Room is one of the healthiest restaurants on the Space Coast, but it does not sacrifice taste – or originality. Plan to be surprised, plan to feel indulgent, and plan on leaving feeling better than when you arrived.
Here, you can pick up organic meals for a variety of different diets: vegetarian, gluten-free, wheat-free and vegan. But even hungry carnivores and kids will enjoy the extensive menu any time of day.
The acai bowls are a breakfast hit, as are the smoothies. Or bring the two together for an acai smoothie. Breakfast here starts at 10:30 a.m., so sleep in and start off the day on a healthy foot with fresh fruit. (321-868-0203)
The name says it all: D.I.G. Bistro stands for "dirt inspired goodness." In other words, fresh real food, straight from the soil.
D.I.G. Bistro uses produce and meats grown and raised by local farmers – not the pesticide-laden stuff you can find in the grocery store.
Although the farm-fresh food here is house-made and healthy, it's substantial, too. Indulge in bacon and cheese and and eggs and rich goodness, as well as refreshing drinks like the blueberry iced tea, and unique alternatives, such as pumpkin fries or baked sweet potato fries.
For more traditional healthy offerings, the wraps and salads (try the pear and roasted squash) are delicious. Vegetarian and gluten-free options abound, such as quinoa and lentil dishes. (321-254-5001)
Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar
Enjoy breakfast here seven days a week. Sip on fresh-squeezed orange juice or "bite the dog" with an inexpensive bloody Mary. The specialty omelets are scrumptious (try the spicy Cuban-inspired Spanish Armada omelet), but the house specials will really start your morning right. Our favorite: Crabby Frank's Benedict, an eggs benedict with snow crab instead of Canadian bacon.
Pick your favorite location: Melbourne Riverside or on the Port. But whatever you do, don't judge this restaurant by its curb appeal. Grills looks like a standard waterside shack (complete with its own party deck and tiki bar, of course!), but then it's that intentional shabbiness that helps give the place its character. Of course, the kitchen crew does its part, too.
Forget all of that battered and fried nonsense! If it's fresh fish and seafood you seek, Grills serves up some of the best. (http://www.visitgril)
Sun on the Beach Restaurant
Sun on the Beach Restaurant is a family business that backs right up to the beach. In fact, it's one of the few places to eat with an ocean view between Cocoa and Vero beaches.
Sun on the Beach is surprisingly inexpensive, for the unique, delicious options you will find on the menu. Breakfast is where this restaurant really shines. Sure, you can find the standards (including a plate of plain pancakes form the "pancake bar" for just $4.50), but you can also get adventurous (try the peaches and cream pancakes). Seafood inspired much of the breakfast menu: an omelet with mahi mahi or house-smoked salmon; shrimp and grits; soft-shell crab and grits; a pesto shrimp crepe.
Best of all: This excellent breakfast is served all day. (3217779483)
Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill
This enormous waterside bar features a great, covered party deck, tiki bar upstairs, sports bar, sun deck, an array of terrific martinis and an ever-popular seafood omelet brunch on Sundays.
The special "Chef Creations" offer everything from a smoked salmon platter to breakfast burritos. We love the Caribbean Sunrise: grilled mahi mahi with salsa and veggies and the smoked salmon potato pancakes.
The food here will pleasantly surprise you. Fishlips even offers a gluten-free menu, as well as a mouthwatering selection of seafood, fish and steak for lunch and dinner. The all-you-can-eat crab legs win the world.
This is the type of place you can stop by any time of the day and enjoy good times and a great view of the water. (321-784-4533)
Sun Shoppe and Cafe
Sun Shoppe and Cafe, located in the heart of downtown Melbourne for more than a decade, features good selection of coffee, dessert, muffins and bagels.
This popular, quirky coffeehouse serves breakfast all day. Coffee here comes from custom-roasted beans, and the blended "frappe" selection includes some unique concoctions, such as the PB + Mocha. Pastries are made fresh daily. You can also choose from vegetarian and vegan offerings. Looking for a cool, lighter option? The long list of smoothies at the Sun Shoppe are refreshing and inexpensive. If you're more of a tea-drinker than coffee-addict, the Sun Shoppe's selection of teas will warm your belly and start your morning right.
Enjoy free wifi by day, and live music at night. (321-676-1438)
About Aimee Heckel
Aimee Heckel’s passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University.
When she's not covering Colorado for Fodor’s Travel Guides and writing for SpaTravelGal.com, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees in Africa.
Heckel also blogs for HuffPost Weird News and writes feature stories, a fashion column and fitness column for the Boulder Daily Camera in Colorado.
Read more about Aimee Heckel here.
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