Orlando’s Best Breakfasts (and Brunch, Too!): 1st Breakfast

First Watch J Swannie


First watch

Founded in Bradenton, First Watch is a state staple. Florida-style, the ingredients are inspired by the position of the sun, so you always get flavors that are in season. The welcoming farmhouse-style interior exudes the energy of Chip-and-Joanna-Gaines – the perfect atmosphere to meet up with friends for a morning bite.

Start by ordering a specialty juice like Kale Tonic, Morning Meditation or the seasonal special. Need a little something extra? Boost your juice with feel-good doses of vitamins B3, C and D, zinc, echinacea and elderberry.

The menu offers a selection of everything you could want to order for breakfast, from traditional dishes to healthy bowls, energy wraps, sandwiches, omelettes, frittatas, pancakes and more. Crowd favorites include the Sunrise Granola Bowl, Chickichanga, Farmhouse Hash, and Tri-fecta, which comes with eggs, a choice of side, and a Belgian waffle or multigrain pancake. And you better believe that pancakes are ultra-moist.

Keep an eye out for seasonal favorites like Million Dollar Bacon, Pumpkin Spice Donuts and Cinnamon Chip Pancakes, plus a host of other seasonally inspired favourites. Tip: Arrive early on weekends, as most places attract large crowds. —JS

Rg2 9755


Former Spanish sugar mill and plancha house

Although it’s a short hike from Orlando (it will take you about an hour to get there), the visit to Old Spanish Sugar Mill and Griddle House in DeLeon Springs is well worth the trip. The restaurant is actually located in DeLeon Springs State Park, so paying a small fee to enter (currently $6 per car) should be part of your expectation. Also bring a book: wait times of an hour or more are not uncommon. But there’s plenty to do and see before you sit down, including hiking or swimming in the clear spring waters.

It’s a breakfast with a historical side. The original sugar mill dated from the 1830s and was powered by spring flow, but was destroyed twice due to warfare (the Second Seminole War and the Civil War, respectively.) in the early 1960s , the mill was saved from destruction by miller Peter Schwarze and the rest, as they say, is history. Still family-owned, the restaurant offers hot plates at every table, and customers are served two different types of batter to make their own pancakes. Various toppings and accompaniments, in addition to other menu items, are also available. —BF



Se7en Bites

If you’ve heard of Se7en Bites and haven’t been, 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 serve Southern-inspired specialties like Minnie Pearl, two pearl sugar waffles with “almost famous” buttermilk fried chicken, a touch of hot sauce and vanilla butter syrup. They make a five cheese macaroni and cheese and put it on a garlic buttermilk cookie with an over medium egg and top it with a crispy bacon crumble. It’s called the 7th trimester for good reason. But if you want to experience one of the place’s quirky pretensions, order the Chicken Pot Pie, which was well-known restaurateur Guy Fieri’s visit during an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” ” (and, therefore, an invitation to “Guy’s Grocery Games”).

Save room for dessert. Coffee cakes, three-layer cakes, a variety of cookies, and Nighttime SkyPie (a boutique specialty) populate the counter here. There are also specialty java options with Orlando’s own Barnie’s Coffee.

Stopping by the restaurant you might encounter a queue, but you’ll be grateful for the extra time to peruse the extensive 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. —JS

Chicken Waffles


The Co-op

Serving traditional home-cooked meals, you’ll find comfort food at its best available seven days a week at The Coop in Winter Park. The unassuming spot on the corner of Morse and Hannibal offers the same counter ordering service you find at The Coop’s sister restaurants, 4Rivers Smokehouse. Once you’ve placed your order and picked up your number, you can sit in the cozy dining room or on the spacious patio. The first is furnished with intimate, 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.

Fried chicken is a house specialty, so expect to find it on 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 delicious Chicken and Waffles Benedict with chicken tenderloin perched on top of a Belgian waffle and served with hot bourbon maple syrup, two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Or opt for the house’s original Early Bird, a satisfying combo of tender fried chicken topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese with Hollandaise sauce, all served on a toasted hoagie bun. —BF

heather patch 7



Your mission, if you accept it: wait for a table at the Briarpatch restaurant in Winter Park. This Park Avenue staple, which has been serving hungry Orlandoans since 1980, regularly has a long line, and for good reason. Any Google search will bring you review after review full of rave reviews.

The neat and tidy exterior with its cheery yellow awning and flock of outdoor tables invites you to stay and sit for a while. The interior, with its whitewashed brick and dark wood accents, is equally inviting. It’s a modern chic farmhouse, and that’s what we’re here for.

Once you’ve collected your long-awaited table, the hard work of deciding what to order begins. The restaurant prides itself on 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 but satisfying taste of hearty bread, almond butter and fresh fruit. And who can resist something from the griddle, like French toast made the classic way with french toast? And the icing on the cake, the whole menu is available all day. A brunch for lunch or a burger for breakfast? No problem. —BF