It’s not your imagination: OKC really is taking the most important meal of the day a lot more seriously. Breakfast options seem to be popping up left and right, and so far, the new batch isn’t resulting in the closures of very many old favorites. It feels like we’re in a golden age of golden-brown, sunny-side-up goodness, for special occasions or everyday a.m. kickstarts alike. (Hint: Moms love being taken to breakfast.) (Disclaimer to hint: Yeah, but everyone loves being taken to breakfast.)
As far as the OKC restaurant scene is concerned – and we’re inclined to agree – 2018 is breakfast time. Try some of these recommendations to make any morning better.
B: Brunch is a must
C: Classics that still satisfy
G: Great on the go
L: Latin influences to add spice
N: New to the breakfast table
S: Sweets and baked goods
V: Vegetarians, rejoice!
Chef Jason Campbell has won the Best Chef title two years in a row in our Best of the 405 polls, and his skills, creativity and love of food are no less impressive at breakfast and brunch. Mary Eddy’s has scaled back its breakfast menu to make it easier for hotel guests who are just in for a quick bite before hitting the road, but it still has outstanding options including a breakfast burrito and a stellar sandwich that features the restaurant’s outstanding, house-made chicken-jalapeno sausage. Campbell truly shines at brunch; its menu changes regularly, but the “hash browns” are a fixture. The dish is a two-day process, and it’s nearly indescribably good – think square tater tots with spicy ketchup, and you’re on the right track. 900 W Main, OKC -B
Esca Vitae is primarily a European bakery, and if breakfast for you means coffee and a ham-and-cheese or turkey-and-cheese croissant, you can get a grab-and-go breakfast for less than $7. However, if you want to sit and enjoy a meal, there is a full menu available. The biscuits are simple and delicious, and with an Americano and some jam, they make a nice breakfast on their own. Breakfast tacos are also on the menu, made with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and jalapenos – again, simple and delicious. If you prefer a little sweeter, the breakfast buns are baked fresh, and the orange zest in the batter adds just a little zip to tone down the sugar. 1114 Classen, OKC -GS
Hugo’s Taquizas has become one of Uptown’s most polarizing places. Reviews range from “amazing” to “ridiculous wait times.” It’s a perspective thing: If you know you might wait a while, you’re less likely to be irritated, but the tacos are worth the wait. Plus, to be fair, most of the time, you can get in and out quickly. Breakfast tacos for $1.50 and big breakfast burritos (one is filling) for less than $3 have been the attraction, but the truth is that the plated food, which is made from scratch daily, is delicious, too. If you have time for a sit-down breakfast, don’t miss the Huevos a la Caserola. It’s all the breakfast ingredients that matter – eggs, veggies, sausage and bacon (they get me), and cheese – in one dish. 3409 NW 23rd, OKC -GL
It’s pretty common to find places that have “Steak and Eggs” listed on their breakfast menu, as though that concept is a discrete, unalterable constant. Cattlemen’s asks diners to start by picking their preferred steak and then adds two eggs and fried potatoes to it – and there’s no comparison between having the dish with their filet mignon versus a cut of whatever somewhere else. This iconic landmark has been putting together hearty breakfasts for more than a century; they know what they’re doing. 1309 S Agnew, OKC -C
Chef Henry Boudreaux is a big believer in extremely fresh, locally sourced ingredients – just ask him – which makes Plaza District restaurant Aurora a natural choice for those eating healthy: salads, fresh fruit yogurt bowl, avocado toast, that sort of thing. However, the open faced BLT is startlingly good thanks to its zing of pesto aioli, and if you’re looking to treat yourself, the sourdough French toast with crème Anglaise and mixed berries is pure, sweet perfection on a plate. 1704 NW 16th, OKC -NV
Kitchen 324 has had two of the most popular breakfast/brunch items in OKC since they opened: Fried Green Tomato Benedict and the Kitchen Green Eggs & Ham. Those two dishes get plenty of love, but often overlooked is the Monterey Jack strata with thyme béchamel – a fluffy, creamy indulgence that’s a fantastic option. The pastry selection is always excellent, especially the donuts, and if you are there for brunch, throw a fried egg atop the turkey meatloaf with smoked tomato gravy. 324 N Robinson, OKC -BGS
The Gemini burrito at Big Truck Tacos is one of the simplest, best breakfast dishes in the metro. Composed of eggs, potatoes, cheese and a choice of meat, it’s a full, hearty breakfast wrapped in a tortilla. While it’s not the most popular choice for breakfast, a Gemini burrito with borracho chicken and topped with the Asphalt salsa is deliciously unique, and still awaiting the praise it deserves. The tacos come with or without potatoes, and all include a choice of meat. By the way: A small chips and queso is, in fact, appropriate for breakfast, and feel free to dip your taco in the bowl. 530 NW 23rd, OKC -CGLV
If there is one truth that is too often unrecognized, it’s that life does not provide enough opportunities to eat chimichurri. At The Pritchard, the green goodness comes standard on The Buckle, a plate of crispy fingerlings, skirt steak and scrambled eggs. The Buckle is Argentina-meets-Oklahoma on a plate, and just plan on asking for extra chimichurri. While you’re there, order some pork and grits, as well: roasted pork belly, cheesy grits and kale. Technically, the kale makes it a salad, so you can feel good about your side salad. 1749 NW 16th, OKC -BN
The Red Cup is already the preferred destination for vegans and vegetarians in the metro, but the truth is omnivores love it, too. Breakfast is served until 2:30 p.m. every day, and the menu is very diverse, including muffins, oatmeal, breads (toast, bagel, biscuit) and chef-driven options from chef-owner Patrick Clark II. The breakfast burrito is huge and filling, and it comes in a Gas Station style – potatoes and veggie sausage – and a Taqueria style – black beans and veggie chorizo. The Mt. Saint Chorizo, a tortilla stack with black beans, potatoes, eggs, avocado, etc., is a favorite of regulars. 3122 N Classen, OKC -CV
The word of the day at Miller Grill seems to be “big” every day. The Yukon staple is not messing around when it comes to feeding customers, and the quality is as ample as the quantity. These are some of the best pancakes you’ll find anywhere, period – that they also happen to be the size of a hubcap (seriously, they’re too big to fit in a to-go container without being folded twice) is an added bonus. The colossal omelets are enticing, too, even if the five-egg version wrapped around a chicken fried steak sounds like it might be gilding the lily a bit. 326 Elm, Yukon -C
One place that ought to be more of a breakfast household name is Los Comales. Located in Stockyards City, Los Comales offers breakfast tacos and burritos for fans of Mexican food and traditional American breakfast fare. The burritos are a combination of eggs, potatoes, cheese and a choice of meat: chorizo, sausage, asada, ham or bacon. They are large enough that one is a filling breakfast. Tacos are only $1.50, and if you want the real experience, get some tripe with your eggs. 1504 S Agnew, OKC -GL
Breakfast and biscuits go together like … well, like biscuits and gravy – both of which are delicious at Hunny Bunny. The new Uptown 23rd spot makes a point of offering a breadth of options, but we wouldn’t blame you a bit if your investigation of the menu began and ended with the Cannonball: a succulent fried chicken tender topped with cheddar and an egg, smothered in sausage gravy and sandwiched between fresh, fluffy biscuit halves. It’s kind of brilliant, even if it’s not quite as portable as some of the other breakfast sandwiches. If you have time to sit and savor, go for it. 429 NW 23rd, OKC -GN
New restaurants are often busy for the first couple of weeks thanks to people following the buzz and wanting to try someplace new. As it passes the six-month mark, Hal Smith’s newest concept Neighborhood Jam is showing no signs of slowing down – which tells you there’s more to this north side destination than cheerful décor. The El Jefe is legit, a surprisingly spicy south-of-the-border take on eggs Benedict, and the fried chicken-based Hot Jam Biscuit sandwich shows off the kitchen’s strengths nicely. But the best thing on the menu might be the unimpressively named Heap, a mass of hash browns, eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado and salsa. There’s something to be said for a big bowl of good tastes, even on a menu that’s far from lacking in options. 15124 Lleyton’s Court, OKC -N
Someday the streetcar project will be finished, Automobile Alley will be put back together and everything will be peachy transit-wise … but even in the current disarray, the brunch options at Iguana are worth whatever aggro it takes to get there. Build-your-own plates offer customized options to the choosy, but selections such as the cinnamon-spiked Mexican Toast or breakfast skillet – black beans, chorizo, fried eggs and potatoes crowned with queso – are strong arguments for letting their chefs do the driving. 9 NW 9th, OKC -BCL
The menu at Stella Modern Italian changes with the seasons, so if it’s been a while since you’ve visited for brunch, your favorite selection might be gone. (Arrivederci, lemon ricotta pancakes with house-made sausage.) On the other hand, there are some classics with serious staying power, and we live in hope that the poached eggs won’t be rotated out anytime soon. That name might not inspire much excitement, but taken in combination, a slab of creamy polenta that’s been grilled for extra texture, mouthwatering capicola and a healthy dose of thick, slightly spicy tomato sauce make for an outstanding buried lede. Pro tip: You might also be interested in the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. 1201 N Walker, OKC -B
If you’re looking for a weekend treat, bear in mind that readers of this magazine voted The Jones Assembly as the best brunch around. That might be because of the béchamel-laced Croque in a Hole sandwich or warm, fragrant Wood Oven Frittata; it could also have something to do with the Moscow Mules on tap or deliciously fruity Frosés from the bar. Whatever you’re consuming, the Jones excels at atmosphere, and with warmer weather putting the partially covered patio into play, this Film Row showcase is more welcoming than ever. 901 W Sheridan, OKC -BN
Nichols Hills Plaza is home to European-inspired café En Croute, where the lobster omelet is <chef kiss>, and the namesake sampler plate can be a satisfying meal in itself with cheese, charcuterie, fruit and a baguette. Its signature dish, however, is almost certainly the immense Dutch Baby, the sweet, light Cadillac of pancakes, topped with macerated berries and cream. Keep an eye on the board for daily specials, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t peruse the cheese case on your way out – Crosby Dyke maintains a sterling collection of flavors for pleasing palates, and is happy to make recommendations. 6460 Avondale, Nichols Hills -BNS
Beloved by our readers (it won best breakfast overall in Best of the 405 voting), the 18-month-old Hatch has been such a hit that it’s already spun off a second location in Chisholm Creek. That should even out the crowds waiting to avail themselves of the variety of “early mood food.” For sweetness, try the Oklahoma-shaped pancake with little crumbles of pecan and bacon; for something savory, the migas laced with onions and peppers or the avocado toast. Either way, don’t leave without some hash brown tumblers or beignets. Or both. 1101 N Broadway and 13230 Pawnee, OKC -N
It’s not actually a ’50s-vintage diner – in fact, its second location is brand new – but Sunnyside Diner already feels like a classic. That’s probably because of its simple, warm decor that emphasizes the counter, in conjunction with the reliable execution of a menu filled with classics. Don’t sleep on the more experimental possibilities, though: yes, the pancakes, eggs Benedict and corned beef hash are all top-notch, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a match for the Eggs in Purgatory (fried eggs simmered in spicy marinara) anywhere else. 916 NW 6th and 824 SW 89th, OKC -N
Motul is a city of about 20,000 people, right on the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula – and the birthplace of huveos motulenos, which means it is an excellent city, because they are outstanding. A thick, chewy corn tortilla covered with black beans, eggs, cheese and zesty salsa, it’s a treat for vegetarians … and for everyone else with the addition of premium longaniza sausage. You don’t even have to remember the name, just go to Cafe Antigua and ask for the number 7. Plus, feel free to throw in some fried plantains and a cup of the spectacular dark chocolate cocoa. 1903 Classen, OKC -LV
While you shouldn’t actually have to do any homework before breakfast, taking a moment to think of all the compliments you’ve ever paid to pastries might come in handy when visiting Ganache. The French-style patisserie in Chisholm Creek is a marvel at producing quiches, croissants, sandwiches and especially artisanal baked goods. And if your responsible inner adult decries the idea of starting the day with dessert, consider that there’s really no bad time for transcendently delicate champagne-apricot-Cointreau mousse. 13230 Pawnee, OKC -NS
One of the first things you’ll notice from perusing The Barrel’s weekend brunch menu is that they’re extremely enthusiastic about their “Oklahoma famous” potato hash. It comes as a side with just about everything, but is probably best enjoyed as a key component in the Corned Beef Hash, an all-time classic breakfast option topped with cheese and sunny-side-up eggs. We also recommend the deceptively spicy shrimp and cheddar grits with chipotle Hollandaise, and whatever you opt for in terms of sustenance, bear in mind that the mimosas are $1 and the Bloody Marys $5. Consider that a hint to relax and enjoy. 4308 Western, OKC -B
First, the good news: Cafe Kacao has recently moved to the Nowait app, so you don’t have to mill about in the parking lot unless you want to, or if you don’t know what the app is. Second, Kacao has added a walk-up window, so if you are waiting in that unbelievable line, you can get Eôté coffee! Once inside, it’s impossible to go wrong with your menu choice. Regulars love the Tikal – scrambled eggs and flank steak – and the Creamy Cilantro Burrito looks too big to finish, but you’ll surprise yourself. 3325 N Classen, OKC -L
The classics never go out of style, and La Baguette’s decadently rich Croque Madame, boursin-and-smoked-salmon Omelette Royale and perfectly executed Quiche Lorraine remain absolute knockouts after decades of consistently satisfying customers. Any day is a good day to remind yourself of why their fare remains formidable. Furthermore, if you’ve lived in central Oklahoma for any length of time and haven’t tried the bounty of La Baguette’s bakery, you’re doing it wrong. 7408 N May, OKC -BCS
Pizza for breakfast? Sounds like you’re living your best life, friend. Tommy’s Italian-American Grill is renowned for its hand-tossed crusts done to perfection in a wood-fired oven anyway, so why wait until dinner when you can get a steaming slice of scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, cheese and bacon on alfredo sauce? If you’re feeling a little more traditional, the Italian Omelet pairs many of the same ingredients with Italian sausage and tomatoes instead of pizza dough and sauce … but come on, aren’t you curious? 5516 W Memorial, OKC -BC
When a burger’s on a biscuit, you can eat burgers anytime – and you should. The cheeseburger at Todd Woodruff’s former food truck Buttermilk is easily delicious enough to overcome any hesitation about whether it’s really breakfast fare … although they also have a bacon/egg/cheese combo for purists. The biscuits are a little more firm and flaky than some you’d find elsewhere, which makes them ideal for holding more ingredients, whether that’s a juicy piece of fried chicken smothered in honey or something more adventurous, such as the prosciutto with balsamic reduction. 605 NW 28th, OKC -GN
Lots of people begin their days by zipping through coffee shops. Nothing wrong with wanting a dose of delicious, nutritious caffeine to kickstart your morning, right? Elemental’s lattes, cortados and cold brews are among the metro’s very best, but even if you don’t drink coffee, it’s a killer first stop on your daily travels. The selection of grab-and-go tacos and burritos, quiches, yogurt parfaits and more include plenty of vegetarian options (mmm, soyrizo), in addition to a select lineup of made-to-order dishes such as the Sweet Jesus. The results are delicious, and big, and hearty, and filling – it’s a lifesaver on busy mornings, and a pleasure when you have some time to dawdle. 815 N Hudson, OKC -GV
A southside classic in the heart of Capitol Hill, its prices are surprisingly small and its food’s flavor levels (and quantity) immense. My strong recommendation is the cheesy omelet filled to bursting with deliciously slow-building heat courtesy of their homemade chorizo. (Ground pork shoulder, peppers, plenty of spice – it’s delicious.) Accompanied by a mess of well-done hash browns, toast and black coffee, this is basically an ideal start to the morning. It’s a big metro out there, with a lot of spots to try, but this omelet keeps bringing me back; judging from the “Morning, Steve” I get when I walk in, this is one place I actually can claim to be a regular. 324 SW 25th, OKC -CL
True, we’ve mentioned this Edmond restaurant a few times before, including just a couple of months ago – but if there’s anyone in the metro who hasn’t yet become a fan of Scott Selburg’s cooking, we should keep trying to reach that poor sad person. Selburg is from Colorado, hence the name of his diner and his love for green chilies. If that’s not an affection you already share, it likely will be once you start making a dent in the breakfast burrito’s gloriously giant helping of sausage, crumbled bacon, eggs, cheese, hash browns and peppers inside a tortilla and smothered in a fiery sauce. The potent dish is an incredible value, like the menu as a whole – and if your taste buds aren’t in the mood for quite this level of heat, the giant fluffy pancakes are excellent examples of the form. 3600 E I-35, Edmond -C
There are plenty of menu options at this little joint tucked into Norman’s Redbud Plaza (the blueberry pancakes are both quite good), but given that its full name is Juan del Fuego Mexi-Diner, visitors owe it to themselves to swing for the spicy fences by trying one of the casa specials – like the Huevos Rancheros with blue corn tortillas and choice of sauce, or the Papas con Chorizo, which scrambles the spicy sausage in eggs, onions, cheese and potatoes. Don’t be surprised if it’s crowded, especially on weekends … but you’ll find your patience well rewarded. 223 34th Ave SW, Norman -CL
A brunch mainstay prior to the breakfast boom, Cheever’s is still packed on weekends, maintaining its loyal following as the number of other tempting possibilities increases – a clear sign they’re doing it right. The savory shrimp and grits are outstanding, multiple dishes promise a tempting kick of Southwestern spice – and it’s on the brunch menu, so their house specialty chicken fried steak totally counts for this compendium. Just be sure to make a reservation ahead of time, because the diners who have already made it inside will likely be inclined to linger in this casually elegant atmosphere. 2409 N Hudson, OKC -BC
Vegetarians are wont to rhapsodize over this Paseo mainstay’s Chicken-Fried Portobello with soy cream gravy – it’s honestly kind of brilliant – the spicy avocado toast or the Veggie Hash, which is just what it sounds like. And the menu is full of tempting-sounding options from the baked eggs to a big mess of biscuit debris. But I’ll level with you: One of my absolute favorite brunch meals in town is the Sunrise Sandwich, a fried-egg-provolone-and-chorizo sandwich with bacon and spicy mayo on a toasty torta bun. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the main reason to go … just be sure to go early, because they fill up fast. 3009 Paseo, OKC -BV
►Riding the Gravy Train
Chris Lower contributed to the meteoric rise in popularity of breakfast joints when he opened Big Truck Tacos in the summer of 2009.
“Kathryn had just come back from Austin, and she missed breakfast tacos,” Lower says, speaking of chef-partner Kathryn Mathis. “I’m still amazed at how breakfast has gone from zero to 100 miles per hour in just a few years, though.”
Ten years ago, if you wanted locally owned breakfast options, you could choose a diner or Jimmy’s Egg. To a great degree, breakfast was “owned” by the chains, including Sonic and Braum’s, but more so by Denny’s, Waffle House and IHOP. Now, though, the whole country is in the middle of a breakfast boom, and it’s one Lower said he wouldn’t bet against for the next five to six years.
“It’s definitely a cultural and generational shift,” he says. “People don’t really cook at home anymore, especially breakfast, so these concepts are doing very well adjusting to that trend.”
Todd Woodruff has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of that trend, as he is the owner of Waffle Champion, a truck turned fixed location that still sees lines around the corner and up the alley every weekend.
“I think it’s not going away,” Woodruff says of the breakfast trend. “When we opened five years ago, we didn’t have much competition. Now there is a lot, but we’re still busy, and we just opened Buttermilk in the Paseo, so we obviously think there is still room for more breakfast options.”
The national chains, modeled on Snooze in Denver – likely the inspiration for Hatch locally – are headed this way, too. Metro Diner from Jacksonville, Florida, and Black Bear Diner from Redding, California, both will be here this year, so locals aren’t the only ones betting on our obsession with breakfast.