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Best Chain Breakfast?

Hey Chowhounds. When you're running late and want to pick up something quick and not-too-bad-for-you, where do you go?

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  1. Micky d's
    Sausage 'n' egg combo..

      1. re: carolinadawg

        +1 for the Awful House.

        Hash browns, all the way...

        1. re: carolinadawg

          I always loved Waffle House. Unfortunately the ones in Raleigh are terrible. Lousy service, food not cooked properly and the ever lovely gift of remnants of a previous meal on your plate.

          I still try them once a year to see if the situation has improved...today was that day. My bacon was half floppy, half crisp - each piece was that way. Not really sure how that is achieved. The eggs (over easy) were the same, half of each yolk cooked hard, the other half still runny. Toast was not addressed, had to flag the server to come back so I could let her know which bread I wanted. No cream or jam offered, had to flag down the server again.

          The ones in my area are not corporate run so that may be the problem. A shame, I really miss the Waffle House experience I had in other areas.

          1. re: meatn3

            i feel like its my duty to let you know

            its not just the ons in Raleigh.

            1. re: meatn3

              Thats too bad. Most of the ones in central NC (which is where most of my visits occur) seem to be run by a franchisee out of Greensboro, and are, almost without exception, well run. The few I've visited in SC and GA have been good too.

              1. re: carolinadawg

                Good to hear they are still good elsewhere! Every other area I've lived in the South WH has been consistently good. I've tried multiple times at three Raleigh locations and the only constant has been going from bad to worse.

                I miss my scattered, smothered...

          2. I just tried one of the strawberry/banana smoothies at Burger King... yummy! But, I have to admit that I have no idea if it's healthy in any way...

            1 Reply
            1. re: wyogal

              my favorite chain breakfast is at First Watch. their granana banana pancakes and "crepe-eggs" are very good. however, i dont think id put that in the "running late" category.

              so when running late, its normally off to Chick-Fil-A for chicknbiscuits!

            2. Kind of an oxymoron - chain / best breakfast, but I'd have to go with Waffle House with NO second place.

              I'll never understand the draw for IHOP, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, McDonalds, etc as well as any motel restaurant. Rather pass it up if they are my only choice. Give me a good diner or mom & pop place any day.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Clams047

                Clams, I am curious as to why you would think WH is any better (food wise, health wise, or whatever) than the others you disparage. They all do the same thing: throw eggs, potatoes, and meat on the flattop and fire away. And the "good diners" and "mom & pop places" do the same thing. Actually, the menu at WH is pretty limited, especially since they do not offer pancakes. For my money the "best" breakfast items are often provided by what are known in Chicago as Greek restaurants.

                1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                  The OP was asking for suggestions "quick and not too bad" under the topic of "best chain breakfast". In New England, diners & mom/pop places typically have superior quality & service vs. chains. When traveling south, I tend to stop at WH for a quick, predictable, albeit limited menu breakfast, although I also follow http://www.mrbreakfast.com/restaurant... for local alternatives.

                  I've found most local suggestions typically far surpass the chains. In NE, the larger diners seem to be run by Greeks and do tend to provide excellent breakfast selections with relatively quick service (far better quality / selection than places such as Ihop, Cracker Barrel, Dennys, Friendlys, etc and far better selection than places as McDonalds, Hardies, etc) .

                  I still stand that "best chain breakfast" is an oxymoron.

                2. re: Clams047

                  Not in defense of the national chains, but I DO sometimes consider a drive-thru a blessing. I will, once in a GREAT while, sacrifice quality for ease of access. At least they're consistent, albeit consistently bad.

                3. Mimi's Cafe has pretty good breakfast.
                  They have this pain perdu that is off the chain good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Ah - forgot about Mimi's - quite excellent. Unfortunately, we don't have any in the northeast, but we do seek them out when traveling west. Just pulled up their web site and was pleased to see they are also located in the southeast. Will have to include them in our southern travels.

                    1. Really quick -- Egg McMuffins at McD's.

                      A little less quick -- Oatmeal at Au Bon Pain.

                      1. Denny's. I went a few months ago after not having been for years. I ordered grits with my meal. Everything arrived steaming hot which really impressed me, and it was delicious.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: UTgal

                          I love Denny's too - biscuits, gravy and hashbrowns for $1.99! Free Grand Slam on birthdays - chicken sausage patties, poached eggs and whole grain pancakes. Only problem is it can be slow because they're busy.

                        2. Quick: sausage biscuit from Hardees, McD's or Bojangles, sausage burrito from McD's.

                          Sitdown: Cracker Barrel pancakes (they use real maple syrup), Bob Evans, Waffle House.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                            Re: Cracker Barrel. Have you looked at the syrup bottles lately? They no longer serve 100% Vermont maple. It's now a 55/45 mixture of maple and cane syrups. Admittedly, that's more maple than you get at most places (where it's generally zero), but still, a major disappointment for some of us.

                          2. For the drivethrough, give me two sausage mcmuffin's from the dollar menu. As for a sit down, if you stick to fried or scrambled eggs and toast, they all seem pretty much interchangeable (and mostly pretty tasty too, since a competent grill cook is all you need)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Shann

                              I like La Madeleine for breakfast.

                              1. re: Shann

                                The eggs may be similar, but the bread & meat choices as well as style of potatoes, quality of juices & coffee and freshness of a fruit sides easily separate the best from the worst.

                              2. McD's 1 sausage McMuffin w egg and a 1$ sausage burrito w hot sauce.
                                Large coffee for 1 $ as well.

                                Sit down..Friendly's " Big Two do" 2 slices sourdough toast..2 scrambled eggs and 2 sauasage links...Friendlys is the only diner in my area (chain or local) to give you sausage links in casings.

                                1. IHOP excels at breakfast, their food quality from the crispy on the outside yet al dente in the middle hash browns to the unique breakfast items like savory crepes puts them miles ahead of other chains.

                                  Just FYI, Mimi's offers some of the most unhealthful breakfasts (total calories, fat, sodium, etc.)

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                    Not to mention their steamed red potatoes tossed in griddle fry as an excuse for a breakfast starch. No mas, once was enough! Plus the service is way too syrupy at Mimi's, "I'll take my eggs O/E", "Oh a perfect choice this morning, you really know how to build a good breakfast" She said that at every table on the floor.

                                    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                      'Plus the service is way too syrupy at Mimi's'
                                      They don't clone their servers at Mimi's..
                                      I've always had great service and never had a 'syrupy' server..

                                      In regards to Retired Chef's comment about 'Mimi's offers some of the most unhealthful breakfasts'... I think that can apply to most places.

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        Outside of perhaps yogurt & fruit cups, I'm not sure what can really be considered as "healthy" for breakfast - certainly not muffins, fried eggs, any form of potatoes or breakfast meats, etc (unless perhaps you prefer chicken sausage). If it's oatmeal or cereal that you want, why eat out?

                                    2. re: RetiredChef

                                      The menu at "my" Mimi's has a "Fresh and Fit" section of the breakfast menu- all 550 calories or less. Each table has a small binder with nutrition information for each menu item.

                                    3. White Castle bacon egg and cheese on toast. White Castle has the best breakfast - it's like something you'd make at home.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Burritobreath

                                        I absolutely agree on White Castle. And that is also what I order, bacon, egg, cheese on Toast. And the best thing about it is that you can get it starting at midnight...as you're heading home from the bar.

                                        1. re: Bobannon

                                          I'll see your BEC @ the Castle and raise you a Castle, egg and jalapeno cheese on the slider bun. Those eggs cooked to order raise any of their 'wiches to a higher level.

                                          1. re: lemons

                                            So, you order a jalapeƱo cheeseburger and add an egg? Brilliant.
                                            BTW, right now the breakfast sandwiches on the slider buns are 2 for $2.

                                            1. re: lemons

                                              I just saw today, at a WC drive thru, the ad for a cheeseburger with an egg. Unfortunately, they are only available during breakfast hours. I'm gonna have to get a doublebacon jalapeno cheeseburger with an egg. I hate having the Crave.

                                        2. For quick and not too bad for you - spinach feta wrap or turkey bacon breakfast sandwich at Starbucks. And I actually like how they taste.

                                          1. McD's, Jack in the Box, and now Burger King all have smoothies. They each have a strawberry with banana one, and one or more other flavors. That, and something from their dollar menu (they each have $1 options for b'fast) makes a quick, cheap and tasty meal. I do it frequently. If you are a senior, you can get your coffee at half price.

                                            1. Fast food: McDonald's (Egg McMuffin)

                                              Sit down: Denny's (Grand Slam) or Bob Evans (Biscuit Bowl)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. Breakfast sandwich at Tastee Freez. I wrote about my experience here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794678

                                                1. Sambucca but not sure if it's a chain still or not. < It's been years since we took the kids.. Belg Waffles TDF

                                                    1. re: rochfood

                                                      You're joking I hope. Been a very long time gone!

                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                        Still a Sambo in Santa Barbara, CA...

                                                        1. re: harrison

                                                          Wow - last time I saw one was the late '70's!

                                                          Does it still have the "glass" murals of the story of the little boy?

                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                            i was there about 7 years ago. brought me back to memories of visiting my grandparents in Florida. I sat outside, so don't really remember. But they did have the history of the restaurant on the menus. And given the Santa Barbara locale, had a salmon/avocado eggs benedict on the menu!

                                                            1. re: harrison

                                                              The website says all but the original are closed, but the Santa Barbara location is now celebrating its 55th year:


                                                    2. Panera for myself and my family. While it does not have a drive-thru, from what I have seen most locations are a quick jump out of the car, walk in, back in the car with decent food. It is a lot healthier than many options and has options like fresh fruit and yogurts.

                                                      1. best chain breakfast: cracker barrel fried fish with eggs, grits and biscuits. biscuits rival my momma's!

                                                        fast-food: burger king's revised breakfasts are pretty good -- better than mickey d's. although i DO like sonic's fruit slush for breakfast (were one closer) and would be fine with their breakfast stuff (INCLUDING poppers).

                                                        i do love that panera spinach artichoke souffle thingy.

                                                        oooh oooh, i forgot about IHOP's harvest grain and nut pancakes with butter pecan syrup and a chicken fajita omelet.

                                                        dang, i thought this was going to be an easier answer. LOL

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          My sweetie and I do IHOP regularly. They have interesting crepes options, either stand-alone or as a side with eggs 'n stuff. My current fave is Swedish crepes with a side of fruit.

                                                        2. chik fil a has a very tasty bagel/egg sandwich - it's egg, cheese and fried chicken (spicy or not) on a multi-grain bagel. you can get a fruit cup instead of the hash browns.

                                                          as tasty as that sandwich is, I think the chicken minis are even better... but they have no redeeming value whatsoever. :)

                                                          1. Drive thru: It's a tossup between a Sausage McGriddle at McDonalds and the Spicy Chicken Biscuit at ChickFilA. Mcdonalds gets bonus points for having a pretty good sugar-free vanilla iced coffee.

                                                            Sit Down: IHOP. The pancakes with blueberry syrup make my day.

                                                            1. It truly amazes me that almost everyone disregarded your "running late and pick something up quick" comment and everyone wrote comments on sit down places.

                                                              McDonald's Egg McMuffin is the easiest and fastest and honestly not that unhealthy for a starter meal.
                                                              Subway does a egg white and cheese sandwich (and you can put peppers, spinach, etc on it)
                                                              Dunkin Donuts reduced fat Blueberry muffins are good (get them early, they dry out)
                                                              Cosi has a florentine wrap, but they are painfully slow service wise, so speed might not make this an option.
                                                              I rarely eat breakfast out and almost never get these things, but speed and health wise, not bad options

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                thanks for sorting us all out, jhopp.

                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                  There's been times I've gotten in and out of Waffle House quicker than McDonalds.

                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                    have you seen the mickey d's drive-thru "waiting" parking spots???

                                                                2. The Wendy's in my area don't have breakfast, but on the way out of Daytona Beach (in a hurry) last month, my brother suggested we drive through and grab breakfast there. I was truly surprised!

                                                                  I had a sausage, egg, and chesse sandwich; the cheese wasn't American, but tasted like the Asiago they use on some of their sandwiches. The fried egg was soft, not rubbery at all. The bread was "artisan" (whatever that means at a fast food place); it reminded me of a ciabatta roll. There was some sort of sauce on it as well... a flavored mayo or something. It was very tasty! I can't imagine it was healthy, but if available in my area I would hit them up every-so-often.

                                                                  1. I like Jack in the Box. Instead of getting a couple of biscuits with all the stuff on it, I order one biscuit with two eggs and cheese. This way I know it is very fresh, because they are making it for me, and I don't have to have the extra biscuit.

                                                                    1. Roy Rogers.

                                                                      Aside from being served in the plastic FF containers, about as good as anything from a diner. Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and bacon that seems to be freshly cooked.

                                                                      I'm also a fool for Hardee's pork chop biscuit. Breaded chop with sausage gravy. Pure heaven.

                                                                      1. Does Panera's count? They do a couple of first-rate breakfast sandwiches, at least here in St. Louis, their original home, where they're still called St. Louis Bread Co. Not as cheap as my beloved WC jalapeno cheese/slider/egg sandwiches, but very good.

                                                                        1. Although I rarely eat breakfast unless I cook it myself, and that only happens, maybe, once a week, I have to confess an affinity for McDonald's when I am famished in the morning and need to grab something quick.

                                                                          My go-to orders are: Egg McMuffin, Breakfast Burritos, or Sausage McMuffin with Egg. I also really like the hashbrowns but generally just stick to a sandwich.

                                                                          I actually really enjoy all of the aforementioned items (and would love one now), but, like I said, I generally don't eat breakfast, and it's tough for me to justify the caloric hit most days, especially when I know I can make better versions myself.