Orlando’s Best Breakfasts (and Brunch too!): Breakfast Part 1
There are so many incredible spots we had to break this list up into two parts.
Founded in Bradenton, First Watch is a state staple. In true Florida fashion, ingredients are inspired by the position of the sun, so you’re always getting seasonal flavors. The welcoming, farmhouse-style interior exudes Chip-and-Joanna-Gaines energy—the perfect atmosphere in which to gather with friends for a morning bite.
Start by ordering a specialty juice such as the Kale Tonic, Morning Meditation or the seasonal special. Need a little something extra? Boost your juice with wellness shots of Vitamins B3, C and D, Zinc, Echinacea and Elderberry.
The menu offers a selection of anything you could possibly want to order for breakfast, from traditional dishes to healthy bowls, power wraps, sandwiches, omelets, frittatas, pancakes and more. Crowd favorites include the Sunrise Granola Bowl, Chickichanga, Farmhouse Hash and the Tri-fecta, which comes complete with eggs, choice of side and either a Belgian waffle or multigrain pancake. And you best believe the pancakes are ultra-fluffy.
Keep an eye out for seasonal specials like the Million Dollar Bacon, Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts and Cinnamon Chip Pancakes, plus a host of other seasonally-inspired favorites. Tip: Get there early on the weekends, as most locations draw a large crowd. —J.S.
Old Spanish Sugar Mill & Griddle House
While it’s a little bit of a hike from Orlando—it will take you about an hour to get there—visiting Old Spanish Sugar Mill and Griddle House in DeLeon Springs is worth the experience. The restaurant is actually located within DeLeon Springs State Park, so paying a nominal fee to get in (currently $6 per car) should be part of your expectation. Also, bring a book: wait times reaching an hour or more are not uncommon. But there’s plenty to do and see before you’re seated, including hiking or taking a dip in the spring’s clear waters.
This is breakfast with a side of history. The original sugar mill dated back to the 1830s and was powered by the flow of the springs, but it was destroyed twice due to war (the Second Seminole War and the Civil War, respectively.) In the early 1960s, the mill was saved from destruction by grist miller Peter Schwarze and the rest, as they say, is history. Still family-owned, the restaurant features griddles at each table, and guests are served two different kinds of batter to make their own pancakes. Various toppings and sides, in addition to other menu items, are also available. —B.F.
If you’ve heard the hype about Se7en Bites and haven’t visited, why not?
The hype is earned. The eclectic spot on Primrose Drive in the Milk District is run by chefs and co-owners Trina Gregory-Propst and Va Propst. They’re serving up Southern-inspired specials like Minnie Pearl, two pearl sugar waffles with “almost famous” buttermilk fried chicken, a splash of hot sauce and vanilla-bean butter syrup. They’re making five-cheese mac n’ cheese and putting it on a buttermilk garlic biscuit with an over-medium egg and topping it with a potato chip bacon crumble. It’s called the 7th Trimester for good reason. But if you want to experience one of the spot’s original claims to fame, order the Chicken Pot Pie, which earned a visit from celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri during an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (and, consequently, an invite to “Guy’s Grocery Games”).
Save room for dessert. Coffee cakes, three-layer cakes, a variety of cookies, and Nighttime SkyPie (a shop specialty) populate the counter here. There are also specialty java options featuring Orlando’s own Barnie’s Coffee.
Upon pulling up to the restaurant, you may encounter a line, but you’ll be thankful for the extra time to browse the expansive menu and work up an appetite—the portions are huge. Your next trip to Flavortown may just be the start of a new brunch tradition. —J.S.
Serving down-home, traditional fare made from scratch, you’ll find comfort food at its finest available seven days a week at The Coop in Winter Park. The unpretentious spot at the corner of Morse and Hannibal offers the same counter service ordering that you find at The Coop’s sister eateries, 4Rivers Smokehouse. Once you place your order and collect your number, you can find a seat in the cozy dining room or airy patio. The former is furnished with homey, mismatched furniture scattered across the hardwood floors. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel like you just pulled up a chair at Grandma’s house.
Fried chicken is a house specialty, so expect to find it throughout the breakfast menu in dishes like Chicken and Waffles. Looking for something a little different? There are plenty of options to choose from, including a completely delightful Chicken and Waffles Benedict featuring a chicken tender perched atop a Belgian waffle and served with warm Maple Bourbon Syrup, two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Or opt for the house original Early Bird, a satisfying combo of a fried chicken tender topped with scrambled egg, bacon, cheddar with hollandaise sauce, all served on a griddled hoagie bun. —B.F.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Wait for a table at Briarpatch Restaurant in Winter Park. This Park Avenue staple, which has been serving hungry Orlandoans since 1980, routinely has a long line, and with good reason. Any Google search will net you review after review full of glowing comments.
The trim, neat exterior with its cheerful yellow awning and gaggle of outdoor tables beckons you to stay and sit a spell. The interior, with whitewashed brick and dark wood accents, is equally as inviting. It’s modern farmhouse chic, and we’re here for it.
Once you claim your long-awaited table, the hard work of deciding what to order begins. The restaurant touts itself as serving American fare with a Southern slant, but we see a decidedly continental flair at play. The Vegan Almond Butter Tartine, for example, is a French-inspired take on a simple yet satisfying combo of hearty bread, almond butter and fresh fruit. And who can resist something from the griddle, like French Toast made the classic way with pain perdu? And best of all, the entire menu is available all day. Brunch for lunch or a burger for breakfast? No problem. —B.F.