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Seeking East Bay Place Open VERY Early (or 24 Hours) for Breakfast

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Next month I will be visiting from out of town and I'm looking for a place to have breakfast before I leave. I am staying in Pleasant Hill (Concord/Walnut Creek area) and am leaving OAK on an 8 a.m. departure on a Sunday morning. I'd like to have a nice breakfast before my departure. I assume I could eat at an IHOP or Denny's near the airport but I was wondering if there are any other options.

Since I'll have a rental car, I can eat anywhere in a wide area - Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Berkeley, Oakland, etc. Heck, I could even go "the long way" (via Danville, San Ramon, Dublin) back to the airport if there's a decent breakfast place that way.

The problem is the early hour. I'll need time to turn in the rental car and go through security without cutting it too close (although I will probably not be checking luggage). I think what that means is, if there's a place near the airport, it could open at 6 a.m. (again, on Sundays), but anyplace else, it would have to open earlier than that or be open 24 hours (at least on weekends).

Before you suggest Bette's in Berkeley (which I've been to and like), it's not open till 6:30.

I did a search on previous topics and (primarily in the topic at www.chowhound.com/topics/363443 ) found mentions of Nikko's Family Restaurant in Oakland (may serve 24 hours but no indication of whether they serve breakfast items - ?), El Tapatio in Richmond (Mexican breakfasts can be excellent but Richmond is a bit out of my way - is it worth it?), and a chain called Carrow's (sounds like Denny's...?). I'm not sure whether any of these are suitable - comments? I would welcome any additional suggestions. Thanks, Chowhounders!

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  1. Yikes. What complicates this is that it is a Sunday where even early morning places open later. That thread had more to do with late-nite eating rather than early morning.

    Unfortunately only the 'taco truck' attached to El Tapatio is open and not worth an out of the way drive. Maybe a little better than Denny's is Nation's on University which is open 24/7 ... but not a whole lot better. Carrow's is like Denny's, but not as good.

    I had a late night work session and was driving someone home to Oakland at 3am during the week and what was open was grim ... it was one Jack in the Box (not all or any other fast food) and Nations. I don't recommend the new sirloin burger, but the blackberry shake was good. Neither of course, is breakfast or sit-down.

    There is a restaurant in the hotel near the Hilton, but I don't think they open early on Sunday.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      > There is a restaurant in the hotel near the Hilton, but I don't think they open early on Sunday.

      The Hilton at Oakland Airport has several restaurants. Amelia's Cafe is the name of the casual cafe there, and it's open at 6 a.m. on Sundays. That might be an option; I'm just concerned whether it's a full-service restaurant (vs a "continental breakfast" type place). Anyone know anything about it?

    2. Ole's Waffle Shop, in Alameda, opens at 6am.
      1507 Park Street
      510-522-8108

      And Alameda is about a 10 minute drive (if that) to OAK.

      2 Replies
      1. re: peterme

        Sounds perfect! And I can see from the map that I can drive from there straight down Doolittle Drive to the rental car return area, without even having to go back to 880.

        Any other suggestions, anyone, feel free!

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Yup, I make that drive all the time. It's not necessarily faster to go cross town rather than hop on the freeway (which will be empty at that hour on Sunday), but it's a lot nicer. Actually, since you're going to the car rental places on Doolittle, the time is probably a wash.

          Nikko's is definitely a coffee-shop type place that serves breakfast items. Not as good as Ole's, but if you feel nervous about time and don't want to wait until 6, it will work for you. Really easy south-bound freeway access, too.

          BTW, there's a trick to going through security at Oakland airport -- the lines are almost invariably shorter/quicker in Terminal 2 (the Southwest terminal). Most people don't realize there's a corridor connecting the two terminals beyond security, so if the line is too long at terminal one, you can go through security at terminal two and walk back. I've been there on days when the line to go through security in Terminal 1 was 100 yards long, and there was almost no line in Terminal 2.

      2. You must go to Millie's Kitchen in Lafayette. I love that place. It's just off of Highway 24 between Pleasant Hill and Oakland. The address is: 1018 Oak Hill Rd. Lafayette. 925-283-2397. They open at 5am on Sunday. Their coffee cake is delicious.

        have fun :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: rubysage

          That sounds like another great suggestion that will work with my plans. Thanks!

          Decisions, decisions... ;)

          1. re: rubysage

            Just want to report back with feedback. I went to Millie's Kitchen and it was *perfect* for my needs! I can see how you knew it opens at 5 a.m. (every day, not just Sundays); the hours (5:00-2:30) are right on the side of their building. I was there at 5:00 and was the only customer, while the staff was doing start-of-day things like putting away dishes, filling salt shakers, etc. ;) Food was fine, service was fine. Excellent eggs and pancake dishes for breakfast (and also some light entrees for lunch). (Although the one thing I wasn't that crazy about was the coffee cake!)

            Earlier in my stay, I also got a chance to eat (for a breakfast and a lunch) at Chow's location in Lafayette about a short block from Millie's, on the other side of Mt. Diablo Blvd. Chow was very good, too. I think they open at 6:00 a.m. which wouldn't have worked for my Sunday departure.

            Thanks again to both of you for the recommendation of Millie's Kitchen.

          2. Having grown up in Lafayette I've gotta concur that Millie's is the best and most obvious stop for a great early breakfast and a decidedly non chain experience...local color at its best

            1 Reply
            1. re: jungleboy

              That was the place to go for birthday breakfasts before school - balloons and all.

            2. The Buttercup opens at 6am, and is just a few exits from the airport on 880--you can see it from the highway it's so close.

              http://www.buttercupgrillandbar.com/

              2 Replies
              1. re: jillyju

                I haven' been to Buttercup for years. Have they gotten any better? IIRC there was some mention of ownership change ... I would hope ... my experience was worse than a Denny's.

                1. re: rworange

                  I certainly don't put it on par with 900 Grayson or some of my other breakfast faves, but they are waaaaay better than Denny's, and make both a good Arnold Palmer and good biscuits.