Rise and dine: Where to eat breakfast in Austin


People call breakfast the most important meal of the day, but we just love talking about brunch. Maybe it’s because people brunch on the weekend, when most folks have more time to unspool into their day — and drink mimosas. Maybe it’s because people want every last second of sleep during the week and start their days in a frenzy with little time to consider sitting down to eat breakfast. Brunch is sexy; breakfast boring.

But some people still appreciate a good breakfast. Maybe you don’t have to work every weekday morning. Maybe you’re taking the day off. Maybe you have a business meeting. Maybe you have the luxury of starting your work day whenever you please. For you, I offer this list of 18 restaurants in Austin where you can get a good sit-down breakfast. Not brunch. And not just on the weekends.

In order to keep this list manageable, I did not include the dozens of places that primarily function as bakeries or coffee shops. I didn’t include breakfast tacos — that’s a whole other list unto itself. And I didn’t report on any of our beloved Mexican restaurants serving huevos rancheros, migas and the like, because that list could take up the entire paper.

Cenote

Breakfast hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

1010 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-524-1311, cenoteaustin.com

The quaint cottage with the white picket fence and soothing aqua-colored wood paneling inside may look like a typical coffee shop, but the kitchen will surprise you. You might have trouble finding the supple flop of eggs on the café’s eponymous omelet. It lies beneath a bright pile of pico de gallo, bitter arugula, tangy capers and creamy goat cheese that makes the digging worthwhile. A tawny crunch of ciabatta squeezed twirls of soft egg, turkey and cheddar cheese on a breakfast sandwich that would taste good any time of the day.

Ju Ju Juice set up shop on the same property about a year ago and offers window service at the edge of Cenote’s patio. The small operation serves smoothies and juices, like the Old Greg, an enlivening combination of spinach, kale, parsley, cucumber and celery ($6.75 for 16 ounces), as well as energy bowls, such as A Beam of Light, a slushy mix of acai, blueberries and nut milk topped with granola, bananas and strawberries ($7.50).

Elizabeth Street Café

Breakfast hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

1501 S. First St. 512-291-2881, elizabethstreetcafe.com

This adorable and tightly packed jewel box highlights the cross-cultural pollination of French and Vietnamese cuisine with an array of baked goods and traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Pho and banh mi both get morning updates at Elizabeth Street. A poached egg tops the restorative beef soup at morning service ($16), and the popular Vietnamese sandwich does the sunrise thing by adding a jumble of scrambled eggs and ginger pork sausage to a flossy bun dressed with mayonnaise, sambal, cilantro and jalapenos ($8).

The bakery proves its appeal with layered and flaky beignets served with a seasonal blackberry and elderflower jam ($6) and a thick but yielding buttery croissant stuffed with Neiman Ranch ham and nutty gruyere cheese ($5).

The star of breakfast is a golden spool of milky eggs wrapping the sweet and loamy combination of roasted pork and wood ear mushrooms in an omelet served with a refreshing and crunchy salad of mango, cucumber and crispy shallots ($13).

Josephine House

Breakfast hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

1601 Waterston St. 512-477-5584, josephineofaustin.com

The elegant Hill Country dollhouse, painted in Baltic blue, cloud white and pecan hues, is a testament to the McGuire Moorman Hospitality group’s eye for design. It feels as if pulled from a travel or design magazine, but the kitchen animates Josephine with bold and thoughtful flavors.

Fancy toasts may be a trend du jour, but the two offerings at Josephine House make a solid case for their popularity. Crushed avocado smears walnut bread on one toast topped with bacon and tomato ($10), while the other avocado toast relies on the perk of lime zest and zip of hot sauce across a runny egg to provide a piquant culinary wake-up call ($10). Lemon and ricotta infuse fluffy pancakes with their citrus buoyancy, and the rich, viscous maple syrup tastes like it was tapped directly from a tree ($14).


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