They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In South Florida, it can be the best meal of the day too.
Around the country, people flock to places like Denny's or iHop to get their eggs and bacon on, but we don't have to. Because the area is such a tourist trap, there are plenty of local spots — from 24-hour diners to establishments specializing in breakfast-only menu items — to get your breakfast on.
3265 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Call 954-963-9161, or visit waffleworks.net.
If you like cars and breakfast and waffles, Waffleworks is your spot. Owner Sergio Goldvarg is an avid collector of scale model cars, many of which are on display at his Hollywood restaurant. It makes for a family-friendly environment. The menu has traditional breakfast eats like eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, and egg and pancake combos. The real draw here, however, is the waffles. Since 2011, the restaurant has been churning out some of the best waffles and crepe dishes around, everything from Butterfinger and dulce de leche to M&M's, Oreo, and apple and cinnamon. There's even a strawberry that isn't just topped with strawberries but whose
10. Dandee Donut Factory
102 N. 28th Ave., Hollywood; call 954-929-1118. Also 1900 E. Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach; call 954-785-1461. Visit dandeedonuts.com.
Sometimes, all you want for breakfast is coffee and a
9. Cypress Nook
201 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach. Call 954-781-3464, or visit cypressnook.com.
At night, it's a German restaurant, but by day, it's a great spot to grab breakfast. The Cypress Nook in Pompano Beach has been a fixture in the city's quiet neighborhood since
8. J28 Sandwich Bar
1854 N Young Circle, Hollywood. Call 754-208-2902, or visit j28sandwichbar.com.
South Florida breakfast wouldn't be anything worth raving about without a few Latin-influenced dishes. That's exactly what you'll get at the Hollywood-based fast-casual Peruvian restaurant J28, which recently expanded its hours of operation to include a short breakfast menu. The free-range egg sandwiches is served on the restaurant's own fresh-baked bread with a choice of added turkey or country-ham, both prepared and cooked in-house To make it a true Peruvian-style breakfast sandwich, customers are encouraged to pick one of the restaurant's homemade sauces, a choice of haucatay, amarillo, rococto, or huancaina. The same eggs are also used to make the house omelette, prepared with a medley of fine-chopped onion and cilantro, made perfect with a mimosa or two (available only on Saturday and Sunday).
7. The OB-House
333 Himmarshee St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-530-7520, or visit o-bhouse.com.
The Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House (AKA the O-B House) will help you rise and shine the right way each morning when it opens for business. The establishment opened just four years ago on Himmarshee Street in downtown Fort Lauderdale and has been serving a brunch-style menu — and only that menu, with a touch of "sass" — until 3 p.m. daily ever since. That includes a variety of specialty items, many of which have a distinctly Floridian vibe. The Anchor Breakfast features oven-baked Florida grouper with eggs, toast, and cheese grits. Another sea-inspired dish is the D-Clawed, an omelet filled with jumbo lump crab meat, cream cheese, and cilantro. The menu puts a spin on classic breakfast dishes like French toast and pancakes — the eight-inch pancakes are oven-baked in a cast-iron skillet and served with maple syrup from Vermont. For locals on the go, the O-B House offers several breakfast sandwiches like the Big O-B BLT (try saying that three times fast!) with raspberry mayo or the Morning Sailor — two eggs over medium with mayo on thick-sliced toast.
6. Dixie Tracks Cafe
4820 N. Dixie Highway, Oakland Park. Call 754-223-2456, or visit dixietrackscafe.com.
For the past few years, this low-key, café-style establishment has been serving some of the best breakfast in Oakland Park. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dixie Tracks Café offers a number of creative plates for breakfast and lunch. Here, you can order from the daily specials — everything from crab cakes egg Benedict to shrimp and grits — or off the main menu, where you'll find dozens of specialty sandwiches and even a few salads.
5. La Bonne Crepe
815 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-761-1515, or visit labonnecrepe.com.
In Europe, crepes are sold as street food — a quick meal for busy people on-the-go. In Quebec, Canada, the crepes are served for breakfast, stuffed with fresh fruits and drizzled with syrup. At La Bonne Crepe in Fort Lauderdale, you can get a taste all kinds, with fillings ranging from fresh strawberries and bananas with homemade blueberry syrup to apple and cinnamon compote to ham and swiss cheese. The place also serves a traditional egg breakfast, a dozen specialty omelets, waffles and pancakes, and even French toast.
4. Lester's Diner
250 State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-5641, or visit lestersonline.com.
Around for decades, Lester's Diner in Fort Lauderdale (there's one in Pompano Beach and Coconut Creek as well) is the epitome of diner chic, and everything about this place is a matter of superlatives: It's one of the oldest dining establishments in the county, dating back to the late '60s. It's also one of the biggest diners around, with room for hundreds. And its menu is one of the largest, featuring every breakfast food you can imagine (and still more you might not know were possible, like pizza sauce on an omelet and a continental burger topped with an egg and cocktail sauce). But it's not just the food you should come to see; it's also the late-night crowds. Come the weekend, the spot is jam-packed around 4 a.m. — and again for normal breakfast time, around 9 a.m. From self-proclaimed fluffy omelets, available in vegetarian, Spanish, Western, and plain old American cheese to Belgian waffles and homemade pastries, it's worth the late-night or morning lines. Don't worry: Lester's provides a bench in the expectation of a lengthy wait.
3. Floridian Restaurant
1410 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-4041.
For more than 70 years, the 24-hour Floridian Restaurant has been offering up a number of diner classics to the South Florida populace. The
2. Hardy Park Bistro
21 SW Seventh St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-652-1475, or visit hardyparkbistro.com.
Hardy Park is one of South Florida's favorite restaurants, so when we heard it'd be serving breakfast — as well as lunch and dinner — we couldn't wait to check it out. In August, chef-owner Philip Darmon launched a short breakfast menu served from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., highlighting a number of dishes just for the early birds, something born from the success of the restaurant's busy weekend brunch. Today, one of his favorite breakfast indulgences on the menu isn't the French toast with blueberry compote, huevos rancheros (a favorite on the brunch menu), or the steak and eggs but instead his own take on the grilled-cheese sandwich. Two slices of fresh-baked white bread hand-cut and delivered fresh daily from a Hallandale bakery are toasted in a pan with a thin spread of butter until seared to the perfect doneness. Next, the cheese, that same bread stuffed with what seems like a half-pound of pungent raclette, sharp cheddar, and smooth Gruyère. There's so much that it oozes out the edges and onto the plate, providing a hefty weight that settles in your belly before sending you into a dairy-induced coma.
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SHOW ME HOW
1. Grandpa's Bakery & Restaurant
17 SW First St., Dania Beach. Call 954-923-2163, or visit grampasbakery.com.
This longstanding local restaurant fixture has been serving house-baked breads and pastries — plus basic American eats — all day, every day, since 1957. The bakery/restaurant was even made famous after an appearance on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Ever
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.