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May 8, 2009 03:01 PM

Breakfast in Birmingham

Please help us find a place worth getting up for on a weekend morning in Bham. We haven't had much luck finding a great breakfast joint to date.

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  1. How do you define "great breakfast joint?" And where have you tried so far? Also, what part of town do you live?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Big Daddy

      I suppose what I'm looking for is a place that can actually do eggs and hash browns "right" (highly subjective, I know), and that has a great selection of omelets, frittatas and migas, cheeses, fresh fruit, high quality cereals, very high quality breakfast meats including bacon (mininum quality at least equivalent to Wrights), sausage of various types, corn beef, steak, pork chops, scrapple, excellent biscuits, muffins, bagels, english muffins, and artisan quality breads for toast, great creamy (not watery) grits, and great coffee (not negotiable) and tea. I'm not a big pancake and waffle fan, but of course to guild the lily the place would make delicious pancakes, waffles, and crepes. All of this in a place with decent ambiance and no bums out front panhandling (I'm looking at you, OHOP).

      We've tried OHOP, IHOP, Cracker Barrel, Shoney's, the Anchorage and Crepes Etcetera (both closed), Demetri's, Courtney's, Bogue's, Klingers, Taqueria Valencia (no longer serves breakfast at our closest location, but when it did it was great), Sadly, we've fallen into the habit of eating the breakfast biscuits at Chik Fil-A. They are actually as satisfying as anything we've been able to find. Heck, I'd even be happy for a Dunkin Donuts.

      Guess I'm thinking of places from my past like Water Street Deli (Worcester, MA) and Bookstore Cafe (Charleston, SC).

      We live in Indian Springs, but I work downtown in the University District. Will travel for a memorable breakfast.

      1. re: curej

        curej...Oh how I feel your pain!!! So many places that have decent breakfast food and terrible coffe (Royal Crap...err I mean Cup...blah...are you kidding me!!!), and the good coffee spots for the most part don't have substantial breakfasts. I too find that Chick-fil-a is better at filling the task that most of the places you mentioned above...I have not beem to them all in Bham, but most of them at sometime somewhere.

        Living in Indian Springs (I assume you mean in the cahaba valley/valleydale roads area) does little for me to help since I live near downtown, but I do have 3 places that seem to get pretty close to fitting the bill.

        1- V Richards...their breakfast while rather small on the selection side is always at least good, and sometimes excellent! I dont know if they have Nueske's bacon on menu, but they have it in the meat case, and if you ask real nice I bet they would make that happen for you :-). And they serve Higer Ground Coffee.

        2- Panera - Have you been to Panera...there are a few locations. I like their coffee, and the breakfast is really solid.

        3- Urban Standard - Great Coffee! Pretty solid breakfast, but even smaller selection. Like scrambeled eggs, grits, (you can add sausage and cheese to the grits and eggs) bagles and other coffee shop type food. The place does have a cool vibe. But it is quite a haul from your part of town.

        Sorry if the post is too long, but your post just really spoke to me. I could probably list 20 or more places I have tried in many parts of Bham that are totally dissapointing in one way or another IMO.

        Good luck on your ultimate breakfast search!

        1. re: birminghamvisitor

          Thanks BV. I'll try to find the closest V Richards and Urban Standard. We have a Panera close by ...that'll be easy. there only one V. Richards (the one on Clairmont)?

          BTW, has anyone tried Max's Delicatessen from breakfast yet? What I'm hearing about their other offerings is looking rather interesting....

          1. re: curej

            I don't know if Max's is serving breakfast yet again. They started and stopped, according to the owner, they didn't really have their "stuff together," so they stopped. But this was about a month and half ago. They might be serving now.

            Surprised no one mentioned Brio on Lakeshore. Good brunch.

            1. re: SkippyLeBeef

              Funny, as I read your post I kept thinking "V. Richards is the only place that comes close, but what a strange place to recommend." And then look at all the other posts! It's in the neighborhood so often ends up being the default. Their cheese grits are by far the best I've ever had and the French toast is excellent. Just had croissants and pain au chocolat from there this morning...yum! They put Neuske's on the BLT, so I bet it comes with breakfast, too.

              For another option that's more of a sit-down place, the cafe attached to the Little Professor bookstore in Homewood has an excellent brunch, but I've only been once. And Rojo on Highland Ave. has yummy breakfast burritos, huevos, etc., but they don't open until late. Have you tried Chez Lulu?

              Anyone tried the new breakfast at Silvertron?

        2. re: curej

          Scrapple? Really? What city do you think you're in?

          I've got a Max's breakfast menu sitting right next to me. It looks good, although I've never been, and, as Skippy mentioned, not sure if they're serving it currently.

          1. re: bovinekid

            Philadelphia? ;) I grew up in southeastern PA. Scrapple is available at Publix or the Pig. Can't get RAPA here (made in Delaware, I think), which I really love, especially the hot (spicy) variety. Jones doesn't suck too badly, that's what I get here.

      2. I do know why you are having trouble finding a good breakfast joint, there are none! I love to go out for breakfast, I live near downtown B'ham, and luckily I can just walk to V.Richards. I think I have to say that V. Richards overall is doing the best breakfast these days. My advice is to take a trip to New Orleans for some great food, I had several breakfast there in just walk in random places and it blew my mind! Everything I ate there was fantastic - I should open my own breakfast shop in Birmingham.

        6 Replies
        1. re: kim777

          I still think the brunch at Crepe Myrtle (Little Professor) is one of the best in town. Their sweet potato hash is really good with the smoked trout and wasabi cream.

          The breakfast menu at City Hall Diner in Vestavia looks promising. Anyone been?

          Also, any experiences at Demetri's in Homewood for breakfast? I don't like their barbecue, but the parking lot is always packed out in the morning.

          1. re: eatyourveggies1

            Where is the City Hall Diner? I'm not terribly familiar with Vestavia.....

            1. re: eatyourveggies1

              CHD is a great spot. It is at the top of the hill on 31. It is right near "City Hall" (duh :-) and the Fire Station..on the right side of heading toward downtown.

              I have been there once for breakfast. It was really good, but not great. The only reason I didn't mention it in my post was that they don't serve premium coffee.

              And curej there is only one locaton for V Richards and Urban Standard. So you will need to be in the mood for a drive :-)

              1. re: birminghamvisitor

                My wife and I went to City Hall Diner yesterday for breakfast. Pretty good (mine anyway). Coffee was adequate, not great. I've had worse. I had the redneck bennie (fried egg on biscuits with sausage gravy...I know, I know). The biscuits were very good. Plenty of tasty sausage chunks in the gravy. I couldn't finish it. My wife had the egg sandwich (scrambled, on toast), and was unimpressed. Kind of bland. Quiet a lot of nasty pieces of burnt stuff from the pan in her eggs that she felt compelled to carefully pick out, and I felt compelled to watch. We're weird that way. I noticed the cook scraping the pan out with a spatula after each order, not using a fresh/clean pan. No wonder about the nasty bits. Anyway, not something she'd have again. The atmosphere was pleasant, the service was fine. Coincidentally, City Hall was next door. Overall, still better than some of Bham's other breakfast options, but it could be better.

              2. re: eatyourveggies1

                I had a pulled pork omelet at Demetri's that was quite good. It was an expensive breakfast, though, as I ran into one of my residents and completely mental-blocked on his name, so in a fit of embarrassment I payed for his whole party's breakfasts......

              3. re: kim777

                @Kim777: Did you open your breakfast joint yet? We're waiting!!!


                Although the post eventually gets hi-jacked into a Chinese thread there are still plenty valid words about Cedar Post in Center Point. I've eaten at most of the southern heavyweights and Cedar Post compares favorably.It is a country breakfast jewel.

                1 Reply
                1. re: scrumptiouschef

                  Demitri's is pretty good on Saturdays. There is supposedly going to be Another Broken Egg opening in Mt. Brook Village and Tracy's in Crestline serves breakfast I think.

                2. We went to the new "The Egg and I" in Hoover for breakfast this morning (a Sunday). We beat the church crowd by arriving at 9 a.m. By the time we left, the place was overflowing with the faithful. My wife had the stuffed french toast (eggs, diced pork sausage, cheese). She was pleased, and could not finish it. I had a biscuit and sausage gravy with two eggs over medium. Mine was only "ok". Not a lot of sausage in the gravy, but the flavor was good and peppery. The biscuit had an "industrial" taste and consistency, not freshly-made, but I could be wrong. The coffee was good (flavor), but wasn't served hot enough to suit me. A thermal carafe of coffee and iced tea (my wife's drink order) were left on the table. That was a mixed blessing as it gave the waitress an excuse to never return. She left the check early and never came back.

                  The menu is extensive, and includes not only eggs and the usual meats, but also four types of eggs benedict, pancakes, waffles, and french toast, and skillets of several types (these include eggs and meats on a bed of ranch potatoes). There are also a variety of omelettes and frittatas. We'll need to go back to try some other items. I was pleased to see several Tex-Mex items on the menu, although Migas were disappointingly absent. We're still waiting for a Bham place to make them, though I've learned to make them pretty well at home thanks to the Jamisons' "Texas Home Cooking" and "The Border Cookbook".

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: curej

                    Does anyone know of a Tex-Mex or Mex-Mex joint in the Bham area that serves breakfast? I would love to find some Migas or other related breakfast items. I see workers at the Chick-Fil-A where I often eat breakfast on Saturdays eating something delicious-looking that they have obviously brought in. I asked them where they bought it, but they are a little evasive. Probably don't want to jeopardize their jobs....Anyone have any info here?

                    1. re: curej

                      Went to Cedar Post for breakfast this a.m. Nothing special at all. Not worth the drive up there from Indian Springs. Just a run of the mill small town breakfast joint. I had two eggs OM with biscuits and sausage gravy, patty sausages. The patty sausages were dried out and leathery. The gravy was thin and bland. The eggs were ok. The coffee was decent. They had apple butter. That was a plus. The wifey had a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on white toast. They put mayo on those at Cedar Post! Luckily, the waitress asked first, averting a senseless mayo disaster for my wife, who would have cried.... My son had 2 eggs OM with sausage links, redeye gravy, and biscuits. He was ok with it, but no one wants to make the trip again. I'm still looking for my Bham breakfast joint....Cedar Post ain't gonna be it.

                      The folks eating there were the most interesting part of the experience. Lots of Alabama fans still basking in the glow, showing off the memorabilia they had paid way too much for at Hibbett's sports earlier that morning. Our waitress called me "baby". It's been a while.....They had used paperback books for sale at the checkout. I got a picture of my son holding a copy of a book written by a close friend of mine that they had for sale there... That happy bit almost made up for the experience....

                      1. re: curej

                        Taqueria Mi Casita in the Palaisades serves breakfast tacos/sopes/burritos. Basically it's the fillings that combine egg with cactus, chorizo, ham, etc. They're available all day.

                        1. re: curej

                          Los Comprades on the corner of Greensprings and Oxmoor has a sign up: "Breakfast coming soon." Their food is typical of any mexican place in town with 'Speedy Gonzales' as a lunch choice, but I still have high hopes for breakfast.

                      2. We went to the Another Broken Egg Cafe in Mountain Brook for breakfast this morning (Valentine's Day). We arrived at about 8:30 and there was already a 20 minute wait. By the time we left (about 9:30) the wait was considerably longer. The menu is accessible online....I won't detail that. I had an omelet (Hey Ricky) that had peppers, avocado slices, chorizo, and cheese. It was quite bland and dry/leathery...overcooked. They did accommodate my request for crushed corn chips mixed into the omelette (a la migas). The chorizo was flavorless and scarce. The hash brown potatoes that came with the dish were quite good, but pretty salty. My wife had a Belgian waffle that was dusted with powdered sugar. She requested fresh strawberries on top and for a $1.69 up-charge got about three berries worth of sliced strawberries. There was no whipped cream, but they brought syrup for the waffle. The coffee was good. My wife had Iced tea that was also fine. Orange juice was over $3 per glass, so I passed on that, but it is described as fresh squeezed.

                        The atmosphere was nice. No complaints there. Service was slow, but reasonably attentive.

                        It's probably worth a second trip, but we weren't really too impressed. Considering the drive, we'll probably stick with either The Egg and I in Hoover or if we're up to a drive we'll hit City Hall Diner in Vestavia.