Breakfasts of Champions
The best places in the county to indulge in a sumptuous morning meal.
13 Reasons to Rise and Shine.
Ease into a great day by letting someone else cook your breakfast.
By Judith Hausman
The “most important meal of the day” isn’t usually the most anticipated. For one thing, there’s that unpleasant business of waking up. Then, unless the breakfast fairy happened to pay an unscheduled visit to your refrigerator, there are
the same old uninspiring choices of cereal, toast, and coffee—hardly an epicurean’s delight. So why not indulge yourself or your family by eating breakfast out?
There’s no easier way to change your morning outlook than to settle down to the irresistible smell of good coffee brewing and of bacon turning extra-crisp. Should you have the homey granola with fresh berries or bright yellow eggs, done just the way you like them? Ah, the simple luxury of choice! And you don’t even have to make reservations or get dressed up. This is life as it should be. Here’s where to go to experience it.
Pound Ridge’s Blind Charlie’s CafÃ© is a casual eatery and (homemade) ice cream parlor that takes you back in time. It’s not old, but it’s as quaint as the hamlet of Scotts Corners, with its high-school-girl waitresses behind the counter and its humble generic decor. Stroll down the town’s one and only main street and then stop for breakfast. Greet your neighbors over eggs over easy, crisp bacon, crunchy hash browns (about $3.50), and a constant supply of coffee, served with a smile. Bring along the kids and the whole Sunday Times, if you like.
Blind Charlie’s CafÃ©,
, Pound Ridge (914) 764â€“8000. Breakfast served 7-11 am, Mon.-Sat.; 7 am-1 pm, Sun.
What to have for breakfast at Jean-Jacques’ Culinary Creations in Pleasantville may be a tough decision. The sparkling bakery cases hold so many treats. Will you choose a tea cake ($4.75) and will it be carrot-raisin or banana-almond? What about a flaky and buttery chocolate croissant ($1.95)? If you choose the almond croissant ($2.25), be forewarned: it will fill you up for lunch, too—not only is it huge, it is filled with lusciously sweet almond paste and dozens and dozens of toasted almond slivers. Delicious!
Not enough of a “real” breakfast? There are more substantial (and cooked) options, too: quiche Lorraine ($3.75), omelet with pÃ¢tÃ© ($4.75), or brioche French toast ($4.75). Take your choice to one of the small tables and pick up a cup of rich, creamy cafÃ© au lait (dunking allowed). Jean-Jacques’ is an informal, sunny, unpretentious kind of place from which you’ll probably leave not only happy and sated, but with a pre-packaged lunch. Try the Israeli cous cous (yum) or grab a sweet for a midday pick-me-up. I’d recommend a slice of that moist, cream cheese-frosted carrot cake.
Jean-Jacques’ Culinary Creations,
, Pleasantville (914) 747-8191, www.jean-jacques.com. Breakfast served all day, every day from 7 am.
The Armonk Country Kitchen is a three-year-old local favorite. Small tables face the deli/prepared-food case and locals stream in and out, ordering and chatting. Settle in for eggs (any style), home fries, toast, and meat ($6); breakfast burritos, rolled up with eggs, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and onions ($4.50); or banana-chocolate-chip pancakes ($8). Or just grab coffee and apple-cranberry muffins, fruit, or yogurt ($3.50) after a tennis date. ‑‑
Armonk Country Kitchen,
, Armonk (914) 273-0150; Breakfast served 6:30-11 am, Mon.-Sat.; 8 am-noon, Sun.
The Katonah Restaurant is literally in the center of town and the sidewalk tables are its hub at breakfast, especially on sunny mornings. Before opening his shop one morning, the local cobbler was having his oatmeal with brown sugar (cup $2.75, bowl $3), but the insurance agent was having his eggs over easy with bacon, potatoes, and rye toast ($6). Dick Anderson, a Katonah resident since 1968, just wanted “toasted English” with butter. “It’s been here forever. The food is great and the staff is, too,” says
The Katonah Restaurant,
, Katonah, (914) 232-9241. Breakfast served 6 am-11 pm, Mon.-Sat.;
7 am-9 pm, Sun.
Although The Wobble CafÃ© in
is a hotel dining room and host to many early-bird corporate meetings. “It’s guests and business people during the week and more families on the weekends,” says Manager Simona Abrao. “We even have table-hoppers who move from one table to the next for breakfast meetings.” Kids love the popular banana pancakes. House-made granola ($9), a continental breakfast with freshly squeezed OJ and croissants ($10),‑or eggs Benedict with smoked salmon ($15) will start the day elegantly for adults (full breakfasts average $25) in this stately white-and-red dining room with a view of Greenwich Harbor. Breakfast alfresco began May 1.
, (203) 661-4600. Breakfast served 7-10 am every day.
Chappaqua’s Le Jardin Du Roi is outfitted simply with bistro tables and chairs.‑Its charm is its Frenchified menu and its inviting patio out front, set up and away from the street and filled with umbrella-covered tables. Manager Wendy Egan sees business executives and nursery-school moms all week long. “A lot of people seem to do breakfast as lunch,” she observes. No problem, since breakfast is served all afternoon at Le Jardin. The signature ouef du roi, a poached egg on a goat cheese-potato cake and a side of ratatouille($10), is very popular, as is the pain perdu (what the French call our “French toast”), served with fresh fruit ($9).
Le Jardin Du Roi,
, Chappaqua, (914) 238-1368, www. lejardinchappaqua.com. Breakfast served 8 am-4 pm every day.
For a romantically formal breakfast, head to Equus, the restaurant at Tarrytown’s
Equus at The Castle,
Scarsdale Metro Restaurant, and its new
sister store in the Heathcote section, Metro Deli, outdo themselves at breakfast time. Each is tidy and sleeker than a diner but as busy and no-nonsense in the morning. Half Barney Greengrass and half standard diner with Greek spinach pie, homemade rice pudding, and club sandwiches, the Metros are where to go for a toasted bagel deluxe with sable, sturgeon, or gravlox, and chive or vegetable cream cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives, and capers ($12.95-$22.95). Order up cappuccinos and omelets of every type, from Western ($6.75) to lox and onions ($9.50)—yes, with whites only if you prefer.
, (914) 472-4760. Breakfast served 6 am-8:45 pm, every day. Metro Restaurant,
(914) 713-0309 Breakfast served 7 am-10 pm, Mon.-Sat.; 7 am-9 pm, Sun.
The Patio lives two lives. In front, it’s
a typical coffee shop complete with counter stools and muffins on a covered stand. But at night, the pendant-lit booths in the back are the setting for tapas, a great wine list, and paella or Castilian rack of lamb. By day, the eighteen-year-old luncheonette tradition continues with warm blueberry pancakes ($5.50), rich eggs Benedict, or eggs Florentine ($6.95 each), and buttery
waffles ($5.10) with a choice of bananas, cantaloupe, or other fresh fruit ($2.50). It’s a family place, but “when the tablecloths come out, it looks totally different,” says owner Carlos Lavino. ‑‑
, Briarcliff Manor (914) 941-4414. Breakfast served 7 am-
9 pm, Sun.-Thurs.; 7 am-10 pm, Fri. and Sat.
As the name implies, Rich Bean CafÃ© in downtown
vanilla ice cream, or fruit-tea smoothies. As the morning edges towards lunchtime, yummy panini and sweet crÃªpes with ice cream make their entrance.
Rich Bean CafÃ©,
, (914) 591-7406. Breakfast served all day, every day from 7:30 am.
Was City Limits Diner the first in our area to figure out that diner food could be sublime? The
location is jumping at breakfast time—you can smell eggs cooking and the coffee brewing (it doesn’t percolate here) the minute you walk through the doors. County pols especially dote on house-made granola with fruit, berries, and yogurt ($9.95) and house-smoked salmon on a bagel with the works ($10.75). Or will it be huevos rancheros or orange-lemon waffles with real maple syrup ($8.25)? It’s big but not deafening, so business meetings work here, too.‑The in-house bakery assures you’ll enjoy raisin-challah French toast or whole-grain slices with your eggs and house-smoked ham, not to mention pecan sticky buns and blueberry buttermilk scones.
City Limits Diner,
. (914) 686-9000, breakfast served 8 am-11 pm, Sun.-thurs.; 8 am-12 am Fri.-Sat. The Westchester,
(203) 348-7000 www.city limitsdiner.com. Hours vary by location.
On the ground floor of The Westchester Financial Center, Sassinoro is the place for an Italian-style coffee-break breakfast, not for eggs over easy. Opening daily around 9:30, the corner cafe, stacked with newspapers and decorated with images of
(914) 217-6760. Breakfast served 9:30 am-6 pm, Mon.-Wed.; 9:30 am-12 am, Thurs.-Sat.; 9:30 am-5 pm, Sun.
Two poached eggs on dry whole-wheat toast, no meat, but keep the coffee coming for Judith Hausman, food writer and frequent contributor. She lives in