We scoured KC and its environs to find the best breakfast dishes. Here are our favorite places to start the day.

We scoured KC and its environs to find the best breakfast dishes the metro has to offer. Here are our favorite places to start the day.

By Food Editor Tyler Shane.

Contributing writers: Dawnya Bartsch, Rachel Layton, Patrick Moore and Kyle Wisecarver

Original photography by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden / Additional photography by Zach Bauman

 

Chicken Fried Steak

When we interviewed Travis Kelce’s private chef Kumar Ferguson last month about his favorite brunch spot, he called out Rye—more specifically, their chicken fried steak.

“I instantly felt like it should be a sought-after Kansas City thing,” the chef said. 

After a recent visit to scope out this coveted item, I have to agree. The steak is massive, comes with a side of sausage gravy and two sunny side up eggs and is served on a bed of mashed potatoes. Maybe it isn’t the most energizing meal. Maybe after one bite you won’t care.

Baked Potato Waffles

“We’ll turn anything we possibly can into a waffle,” states a caption under an Instagram picture of Cardboard Corner Cafe’s fried pickle waffles. Read through their menu and you’ll find they’re not lying. Familiars like latkes, peanut butter and jelly, and chili cornbread all manage to take the form of a waffle at this eccentric spot attached to OP’s TableTop Game and Hobby. 

This niche gamer joint, as in old-fashioned board games, that also serves up specialty waffles seems to be growing in popularity. A second location just opened at the Lenexa Public Market. Our recommendation? Swap the usual sweet batter for the savory and have the baked potato waffle topped with cheddar, bacon, sour cream and green onions.

Juice Boost

If you’re looking for your morning jolt from something other than coffee, perhaps a carrot juice shot or a spinach, kale and jalapeno juice combo might be the ticket. Yes, this is how some people do it.

Although juicing is said to have begun in the 1930s, it really gained momentum in the 1970s. Its popularity rose and fell over the ensuing decades, but it seems juicing is once again having a moment. Here are a few local spots to get your fix.

Ruby Jean’s Juicery

various locations, rubyjeansjuicery.com

Troost has seen some incredible changes over the past couple years, with new coffee shops and restaurants popping up everywhere, but Ruby Jean’s Juicery has been a part of the Troost community since 2017. Owner Chris Goode is on a mission to introduce people to a new, healthier way of living. All kinds of juices can be bought at Ruby Jean’s, named in honor of Goode’s grandmother, but the most popular juice is Good Vibes Only, a combination juice that includes a crazy variety of ingredients, including beets, carrots, pineapple and ginger.

Gigi’s Vegan & Wellness Café

Gigi Jones, who says she beat colon cancer by embracing healthy foods, calls herself a food activist. She not only offers all types of juices and vegan fare at Gigi’s Vegan & Wellness Café but also provides nutrition programs and classes. Our menu pick is the Vitality Immunity with celery, cucumbers and sprouts. If you want to know more about the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle, stop in and ask. Staffers at Gigi’s would love to tell you how their juices, burgers and wellness wraps (mushroom-filled lettuce wraps) can jumpstart your healthy lifestyle.

Billie’s Juicery

This Brookside juicery serves wellness in all forms, from turmeric immunity shots and grass-fed bone broth to nutrient-dense green smoothies and matcha toast. But if you’re looking to stick to your regular coffee order, there’s a cafe as well. The best part? A drive-thru lets you grab your morning juice on the go.

Vermonter Crêpe

With high ceilings and exposed brick revealing the building’s long history, brunch at the Seven Swans Crêperie feels as if you’re lounging in a Parisian cafe. It’s the perfect place for first dates or gab sessions with old friends alike.

Their menu is structured into savory and sweet crepes. On the savory side, try out the Vermonter crepe packed with a rosemary sausage and caramelized apples. The crepe is thin and crisp with a soft interior filled with melted sharp white cheddar. On the sweeter side, the Paris crepe is a traditional French crepe loaded with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and, naturally, plenty of warm nutella. It’s sure to transport you from your cushioned seat to a cobblestone Parisian street.

Strawberry Hill is known for its share of corner shops and European-inspired bakeries, and Seven Swans Crêperie fits right in. With high ceilings and exposed brick revealing the building’s long history, brunch at the creperie feels as if you’re lounging in a Parisian cafe. It’s the perfect place for first dates or gab sessions with old friends alike.

Their menu is structured into savory and sweet crepes. On the savory side, try out the Vermonter crepe packed with a rosemary sausage and caramelized apples. The crepe is thin and crisp with a soft interior filled with melted sharp white cheddar. On the sweeter side, the Paris crepe is a traditional French crepe loaded with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and, naturally, plenty of warm nutella. It’s sure to transport you from your cushioned seat to a cobblestone Parisian street.

B&G

Will Kansas City mag ever stop talking about the perfection that is Happy Gillis’ biscuits and gravy? Probably not. The Columbus Park eatery serves the breakfast classic with no frills. Their soft, tender biscuits are drowned with a few ladles of thick, savory gravy. Choose between sausage or mushroom gravy, or have the best of both worlds and get both. Don’t forget your breakfast cocktail!

Savory Breakfast Pastries

Considered one of the best bakeries in KC, Jason Provo’s Troost spot remains a must-try for those looking for made-from-scratch early morning goodness. There are sweet mochi doughnuts, and there are more savory concoctions like panini-style breakfast sandwich croissants and Flamin’ Hot Cheeto pimento cheese puffs (yes, you read that right). Either way, you’re in for some seriously out-of-this-world eats.

Cruffin and Scones

This Lenexa strip mall bakery has gone under the radar for far too long, possibly because it’s only open Saturdays and Sundays. Wales native Deepal Patel is the owner of this hidden gem and brings her European background to its seemingly endless menu.

Do yourself a favor and plan your weekend around picking up some British-style scones with clotted cream (think creme fraiche but thicker) or cruffins, which are essentially muffins made with croissant dough and filled with cream cheese and homemade jams. Head to The Pantry’s website (thepantrykc.com) to place your preorder.

Puff Puffs

Neba Ngwa and Stella Musongong don’t make their deep-fried dough balls, or puff puffs, to make money. The husband and wife duo make them to honor their mothers in their native country, Cameroon, who make the breakfast snacks as a side gig to contribute to their households. Stella and Neba’s puff puffs are fried fresh each morning. Think beignets but without the excessive powdered sugar coating.

Quiche

While you’re moving through the line at Hemma Hemma’s cafeteria, don’t forget to snag the loaded quiche. It’s quite possibly one of the best I’ve ever had—not dense like your usual diner quiche but fluffy and dressed to the nines with cherry tomatoes, crumbles of feta cheese, dill and quinoa.

Green Mary

Get your daily dose of green the easy way with Lula’s Green Mary. Charred green tomatoes are blended with green pepper, celery, green tabasco, smoked tomato powder and horseradish (for an extra kick), and the concoction is spiked with vodka. Cheers!

Bill of Health

Billie’s Grocery advances KC’s health food scene.

Chef Robin Krause’s health-focused spot Billie’s Grocery (billiesgrocery.com) was a breath of fresh air when it opened in June of 2020.

With a raw dessert bar, cold-pressed juices and a colorful, organic-heavy menu, the wide-open Midtown space, naturally lit by massive windows, feels like a spot you’d stumble upon in a bigger city like Chicago or Los Angeles. That’s because Krause spent time traveling during her years as a health coach, certified herbalist and yoga teacher. At Billie’s, it’s not a diet Krause is serving but a lifestyle—one where there’s something delicious and healthy for everyone.

“[In 2020], people wanted those comforting and stimulating foods, and here I was, as a nutritional therapist, trying to heal the world,” Krause says. “So I decided to give them what they were wanting but a little healthier.”

From sauces to soup broth, everything at this breakfast and lunch spot is made from scratch. Dishes like meaty carnitas bowls, smoked salmon mezze and Turkish eggs with house-made labneh are packed with such beautiful texture and flavor you’ll be blissfully oblivious that any of the food you’re eating is following your dietary restrictions, whether they be gluten-, sugar- or dairy-free. But they are. 

Now, about those raw desserts.

“No one is doing this in Kansas City,” Krause says. “It means gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free. Everything is made from a nut flour or a gluten-free oat flour that we grind. Nothing is baked, so you don’t destroy any of the nutrients in the dessert.”

It’s fair to say that Krause’s wellness restaurant is a hit. The chef just opened another Billie’s in Leawood. Whereas the Midtown location offers cooking classes, the new spot will instead offer a full market of grab-and-go meals.

“We’re also going to do more pop-ups,” Krause says. “We have a fresh mozzarella cheese puller coming in. We’ll do gluten-free pasta demos, fun stuff like that, so it’s a little more interactive.”

Breakfast: It’s What’s for Dinner

For many of us, having breakfast for dinner is steeped in nostalgia. Whether it was your college campus’ late-night diner or dad’s specialty, breakfast for dinner (dubbed “brinner” in the past decade) has a special place in the hearts of many. 

Here are four local spots where you can get your morning meal at night.

Our beloved Winstead’s on the Plaza is still catering to the night owls. While you can’t order a breakfast combo past 11 am, the breakfast sandwiches are available to order all day long.

Nearly the entire extensive breakfast menu at this North KC diner is available until 9 pm..

It wouldn’t be a breakfast for dinner roundup without this KC staple. If you pop by for dinner, the breakfast Haystack sandwich—eggs, sausage, cheese and hash browns all on Texas toast—may just put you to bed early.

This quirky River Market coffee shop serves a large breakfast and lunch menu including smoothies, juices and cocktails. Just our luck: It just started serving its breakfast menu all day.

Croque Monsieur

This Prairie Village French cafe and grocer is packed with both locals and shelves of cheese stacked high above your head. But don’t let the chatter of happy patrons or the loud sound of the espresso machine overwhelm you. Dive right in and maybe even take a stab at ordering something in French.

We recommend the croque monsieur, a traditional hot sandwich cooked in its own juices. Toasted country bread is packed with a ham, swiss-like cheese and mustard and smothered in bechamel (the “mother of sauces”). Add an egg on top to “parachever” your sandwich. Take a seat outside on the patio and you might just think you see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

The Wonder

You can’t go wrong when choosing from District Biskuits’ menu, but if it’s your first time, start with the fast-casual spot’s claim to breakfast fame—The Wonder. Sandwiched between a house-made biscuit is a perfectly fried chicken filet slapped with a slice of good ole American cheese and a fried egg. The dish is topped with bacon and finely diced chives, the high-cholesterol equivalent to a cherry on top.

Dagwood Sandwich

Dagwood’s is a relic from a different era. With its truck stop diner vibes, the cafe, established in 1938, seems like the kind of place that might still have a smoking section (I mean that in the best way possible). There isn’t one.

When making a pit stop here, the Dagwood Sandwich is a must-try. It’s a breakfast sandwich made with thick slices of Texas toast, crispy hash browns, American cheese and your choice of meat. If you’re feeling especially hungry, make sure to ask for it smothered in gravy. It’s a nice respite from the standard bourgeois brunches that can be found all around town. Just be sure to smoke outside.

Kolache

Skip the bagels and doughnuts and head to the Kolache Factory. This little stop is in the burbs, just off 135th and Metcalf. Kolaches are Czech and Slovak puff pastries usually filled with fruit, cheese or meat. We recommend the hot polish kolache filled with spicy Polish dog or the apple kolache if you’re craving something sweet to start your day. Go ahead and order a dozen; these handheld treats are the perfect morning surprise for your office mates.

Brunch Pastries

We dubbed Helen Jo Leach the queen of desserts back in February for our sweets issue. Now, The Town Company pastry chef is tackling breakfast—with style. Pop in on a Sunday to see Leach’s latest experimentation available a la carte. Golden milk banana bread, black garlic and chive gougères and lime-glazed zucchini bread, oh my!

French Crullers Pop-up

When Marion Milling isn’t, well, milling, you can find the flour millers popping up around town with their freshly baked French crullers. Made with their own highly nutritious stone-milled flour and topped with a velvety dark chocolate, the West Bottoms-based business fries their crullers fresh the morning of each pop-up. You’ll have to keep an eye on their Instagram (@marionmilling) for the special opportunity to snag one of them. They sell out every time.

Smoked Brisket Hash

Classic Cup on the Country Club Plaza has always had a reliable brunch. It’s also a great place to work. I’ve known a number of happy former employees. (They didn’t hire me as a server many years ago, so you know they have taste.)

My go-tos here are usually the classic eggs benedict or their B&G, but I recently tried their smoked brisket hash and, boy, it did not disappoint. The hash was crispy, the poached eggs were perfectly cooked, and the brisket was tender. It’s topped with—wait for it—a bloody mary sauce, of all things. It’s the perfect combination of spicy, sweet and savory.

Breakfast Bubbly

A list of every place doing bottomless brunch drinks, as far as we can tell, with the cost and drink offerings for each.

BRICK HOUSE KC

$14 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday

PINCHES TACOS

$16 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday

BLVD TAVERN

$22 bottomless mimosas or $27 bottomless brunch flight (mimosas, bloody marys and rum punches) on Saturday and Sunday

LULA SOUTHERN COOKHOUSE

$20 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday

STREETCAR GRILLE & TAVERN

$13 traditional bottomless mimosas and $15 cranberry bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday

HOMESTEADER CAFE

$13 bottomless mimosas or bloody marys

WALLY’S GRILL & DRAFTHOUSE

$15 bottomless mimosas on Sunday

BROOKSIDE BARRIO

$15 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday

GRAND STREET CAFE

 $15 bottomless mimosas and bloody marys on Saturday and Sunday

BIG WHISKEY’S AMERICAN RESTAURANT & BAR

$15 bottomless mimosas and bloody marys on Saturday and Sunday

THIRD STREET SOCIAL

$16 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday

RED BRIDGE BARRIO

$15 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday

BISTRO 303

$18 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday (with brunch menu order, $22 without)

OG Breakfast Sandwich

Yes, I am sure your wife cooks the best breakfast in town, but in second place is Housewife. This warm and clerestory little breakfast spot in downtown Grandview attracts foodies from all over the metro with its innovative fare.

The OG Breakfast Sandwich is a standout. A homemade English biscuit buttered and toasted, with a thick scrambled egg, melted sharp cheddar, and classic breakfast sausage will keep you fueled all day. We understand if you need to get down and dirty with it. In that case, head up to the loft so no one sees you. It’s greasy, cheesy and beats Jimmy Dean any day.

Chicken and Waffles

You can pop into one of Niecie’s booths as early as 5:30 am and dive into a variety of hefty, heavenly meals—fried pork chops, T-bone steaks and country fried steak, to name a few (all served with fried eggs, of course). But the fluffy waffle, served with a scoop of butter and topped with lightly battered fried chicken, remains a favorite of Kansas City magazine. Add a healthy drizzle of maple syrup on top and commence the eyerolls to the back of your head. It’s that good.

the big Momma Plate

If you’re looking to start your day with fried chicken, collard greens or smothered porkchops with a side of neck bones, then PeachTree Cafe’teria has you covered. If you hadn’tconsidered any of these for your morning meal, then let this soul food spot introduce youto real southern comfort food. Start by ordering the Big Momma Plate: two meats andthree sides. Don’t forget a slice of red velvet cake for dessert.

Pop’d Heart

various locations, homegrownkitchen.com

Lovingly called a Pop’d Heart, HomeGrown’s homemade take on the boxed grocery store classic Pop-Tarts are what’s called for when you want to start your day off with a bit of sugary goodness. Known for its locally sourced and organic ingredients, HomeGrown specializes in comfort food with a modern twist. The Pop’d Hearts are a fan favorite and not to be missed. You can always count on the brown sugar cinnamon with sprinkles (of course), but they mix it up with a seasonal flavor, too. Right now the Nutella Pop’d Heart, a flaky pastry filled with Nutella and topped with vanilla frosting and chocolate sprinkles, is on the menu, and it shouldn’t be missed.

Vegetarian Sandwich

With the Crossroads Arts District’s continued growth, there’s no shortage of restaurants that are open early for both business and pleasure, but Mildred’s is one of our favorites. It has long been considered a place for meetings, catching up on emails and, of course, grabbing a bite with friends. To power you through your day, we think Mildred’s vegetarian sandwich is just the fuel you’ll need. Their house-made pepper-dijon mayo with a thin layer of melted cheese compliments the ultra-fluffy eggs and crisp wheat bread, leaving you feeling energized and light. Be sure to pair your sandwich with their locally roasted Marcell Roasting Club coffee for that extra boost.

Kelce-style French Toast

Recently declared a “Kelce favorite” by People Magazine, the folks at Succotash know that there’s no better way to build community than with great food and a homey feel. The Hospital Hill restaurant’s owner Beth Barden makes French toast like no other. Three thick, spongy slices of toast accompanied by crisp, juicy bacon and two eggs done any way (but always just the right way) is Midwestern comfort food at its finest. Of course, it isn’t complete without that Kelce-approved delicate sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Pancakes

Dave and Kelly Hendrix, owners of both Kate’s Kitchen in Gladstone and Ronnie’s Restaurant in Lenexa—named after their daughter and son, respectively—serve up traditional and delicious breakfast and lunch fare at their establishments. Although you can’t go wrong with any menu pick, it’s their heavenly, fluffy pancakes that are the star of the menu. The made-from-scratch pancakes can be had the old-fashioned way, plain with syrup, but they can also be dressed up with a variety of toppings such as bananas, craisins and granola or the crowd-favorite cinnamon, apples and pecans

Chilaquiles

Downtown Overland Park is fast becoming a culinary hub. Along with its farmers market being voted “America’s Favorite Market” by the American Farmland Trust, new restaurants keep popping up. Of them, AR’s Breakfast & Brunch is serving breakfast classics with a south-of-the-border twist. It should not be missed, especially if day drinking is in your near future. Mimosas take center stage here. Not a mimosa person? They have plenty of flavors of margaritas, too.

As for the best dish, the chilaquiles are sure to please. A bed of freshly fried chips gets smothered with your choice of AR’s special red or green sauce, then topped with your choice of meat, queso fresco, sour cream and, of course, eggs cooked your way

Cake Doughnut

I’ll admit it: Donut King serves the doughnuts of my childhood. No, they’re not gussied up to look like unicorns or Patrick Mahomes with chocolate sprinkles for hair. Instead, this Northland institution keeps it classic with chocolate glazed Long Johns, glazed twists and vanilla old fashions. Stick with the cake doughnuts and you can’t go wrong.

Tender Loving Care

Crossroads’ newest cafe, Take Care by OLEO, forgoes tipping to focus on good ole coffee.

Mark Sappington and Chris Oppenhuis are no longer just the silent middlemen between coffee producers and retailers. The duo, who have been procuring, roasting and supplying beans to some of your favorite local spots like Mildred’s and Heirloom Bakery, are now at the end of the supply chain, too.

The pair started their roastery Marcell Coffee in 2019 but decided to leap into retail last fall with their own cafe, Take Care by OLEO (419 E. 18th St., KCMO).

Take Care is an ode to cowtown, with rustic Western pieces like hanging overalls and tattered Folgers coffee tins decorating the space. Midwestern friendliness is the name of the game here. There’s no screen separating you and the barista, one-ounce bags of coffee are easily available for purchase, and the pastries—scones, biscuits and mini bread loaves—are freshly baked each morning. These small details are what Oppenhuis refers to as “subtle hospitality.” 

“Whether it’s the bag of coffee or the space itself, we’re trying to create a memorable experience beyond a cup of coffee,” says Oppenhuis.

OLEO, which means fuel in Portuguese, is the specialty coffee brand Sappington and Oppenhuis created for their new cafe. The brand’s name is inspired by one of the duo’s primary suppliers and travel destinations: Brazil. “It’s also one of my favorite places in the world,” Oppenhuis says.

There’s no pressure to tip, as Take Care pays their employees a wage that doesn’t depend on tips, they say. This ensures the same wage for everyone, and the barista isn’t flipping the screen toward the customer after every sale.

But what really sets Take Care apart from other coffeehouses? “It’s the product,” Oppenuis says.

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