- Sean Spalding For the AJC
Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, there's little debate that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Cereal can be a tad boring, and yogurt doesn't cut it for many. Try getting up a bit earlier and giving your breakfast an upgrade at one of these restaurant champions.
This Grant Park stalwart still sings despite the loss of chef/founder Ria Pell in November 2013. Eclectic art pieces abound in this casual spot. The crowd of early risers gets the worm -- and the best parking spots. It's frequented by artists and musicians who crave the pancakes topped with caramelized bananas or Bionic Breakfast layered with potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, grilled corn, peppers and tofu sauce. Omnivores relish light, fluffy biscuits and peppered milk gravy, or the brisket breakfast — 14-hour slow-roasted Angus beef, shredded in its own spicy tomato broth, with two eggs poached and toasted baguette.
Even the name of the place exudes hominess. This tidy, chef-driven spot bordering Buckhead takes terms such as "made from scratch," "in-house" and "homemade" seriously. Breakfast highlights include a lox plate of beet-cured salmon and Jerusalem bagel or a fried egg BLT with pickled green tomatoes and lemon mayo. These dishes show the delicate touch of the chef. The chicken biscuit with pepper jelly is always reliable, and the seasonal market omelet never disappoints. The buttermilk pancakes are nothing short of fluffy goodness.
Set within the confines of No Mas Cantina, Adios Café offers morning sustenance to the rhythm of a peppy Latin beat. The colorful space is bathed in teal and decorated with a hacienda feel. Snap your taste buds out of the morning doldrums with a café de olla, coffee spiked with cinnamon and cocoa, or the hair of the dog via a tequila-spiked bloody Maria. The menu reflects Mexican influences such huevos benedictos, a spin on a traditional Benedict ladled with green chili hollandaise, and your bacon preference, crispy or soft.
It may as well be called OMG! Short for "Overindulgent Yumminess," OY! borders on competitive eating with its enormous portions. Pizza pans double as service vessels for 12-inch pancakes and six-egg omelets. Original owner Adam Jaffee channeled his Mama Sherry through challah French toast casserole and challah egg soufflé. The tradition continues with the new owners. Food here is best photographed with a panoramic lens. The restaurant is also open for lunch, but don't fool yourself: If you ate breakfast here, your next meal won't be until dinner.
Breakfast is just like your Jewish grandmother would make, had your Bubbe roomed with Julia Child in her youth. Breakfasts can be as simple as a handmade bagel and schmear, or a slew of Jewish traditional dishes of baked, smoked and cured fish plates. Too early for fish? The fried egg sandwich with crispy pastrami, caramelized onions, melted Gruyere on a brioche bun may be more up your alley.