Restaurateur Johan Engman has a thing for breakfast.
“I’ve always enjoyed breakfast,” said Engman, founder and co-owner of San Diego-based Rise and Shine Restaurant Group. “There’s a big shortage in the breakfast segment. There’s a lot more room for fun and creativity.”
With seven successful locations of Breakfast Republic, a casual spot featuring riffs on classic breakfast dishes, Engman and his team plan to fill the breakfast gap by opening three new locations of Breakfast Republic this year, as well as Northpark Breakfast Company, a contemporary casual restaurant with a healthful bent; and three locations of Eggies, a fast-casual concept fashioned out of shipping containers and intended to capture the overflow from busy Breakfast Republic locations with a menu of deconstructed breakfast favorites served in mason jars.
Engman is among a number of restaurateurs who love breakfast and are betting that diners do, too. Below is a roundup of some notable breakfast restaurant openings.
Bird Bird Biscuit
Opening spring 2018
Tacos may be king in Austin, but business partners Ryan McElroy and Brian Batch want to bridge the breakfast gap by bringing a new comfort food to locals: homemade buttermilk biscuit sandwiches. Varieties on the menu include the Bird Bird Bacon, with bacon, an over-medium fried egg, cheddar and bacon-infused chipotle mayo; and the Queen Beak (left), with fried, spiced and breaded chicken thigh, bacon-infused chipotle mayo and spiced black-pepper honey.
“Nothing against tacos — we love them, too — but want to bring a new comfort food experience to the landscape of the local food community,” Batch said.
Rouge Tomate Cafe
New York, N.Y.
Opened March 2018
This fast-casual restaurant is a spin-off of health-conscious dining pioneer Emmanuel Verstraeten’s fine-dining outpost Rouge Tomate Chelsea. Under new executive chef Matt Aita, the café will offer approachable dishes in a fast-casual format. Breakfast items (available Mondays to Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.) include a Breakfast Green Bowl with marinated kale, radish, beets, poached eggs and chiles; a Vegetable & Egg Sandwich with soft-cooked eggs, kale and roasted trumpet royal mushrooms; a Charred Avocado Sandwich with pickled chiles, radish, sprouts and sunflower miso; pastries and breads such as flavored focaccia; and fresh juices and coffee.
The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market
Fort Collins, Colo.: opened December 2017
Savannah, Ga.: opening Spring 2018
Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group’s American brasserie and bar-meets-retail concept is open all day for breakfast and brunch. Guests can sit down for classic American brunch dishes with a French twist, such as the croque madame made with ham, Dijon mornay, Gruyère and an up egg on levain bread; grab housemade pastries such as apple fritters with a bourbon maple anglaise; or shop a curated selection of products, including wine, artisanal cheeses, fresh flowers and meats from an in-house butchery; plus a new coffee brand called Bowerbird.
“The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market was imagined as a local hangout and community gathering place — one where guests can sample artisanal goods, meet a friend for a nice meal, pick up dinner for the family, or grab a bottle of wine to go,” said Peter Karpinski, Sage Restaurant Group co-founder. “It is the perfect place to have a coffee and pastry while reading at Bowerbird Coffee or linger over a long breakfast with friends.”
Opened December 2017
To meet what they see as a growing desire for non-chain, from-scratch breakfast options, chefs Danny Alas and Justin Rodriguez, owners of Birmingham, Ala.-based Revelator Coffee Company, recently opened this all-day cafe. The menu draws from their backgrounds (Alas is from Venezuela and Rodriquez is from the Dominican Republic) and includes Latin- and Caribbean-inspired dishes, such as a chorizo biscuit, sofrito shakshuka, horchata chia pudding and plantanitos, or sweet-potato plantains.
“We wanted to offer an extended breakfast so that people who work in the hospitality industry can still have breakfast before they start their day,” said Colleen Connor, regional director of Louisiana for Revelator. “It’s also a venue to showcase our pastries and pair with our amazing coffee program. Plus, it’s our favorite meal of the day.”
Opened late 2017
Within The Statler hotel, this breakfast café serves “good vibes and strong coffee” day and night — as well as lunch, dinner and dessert. Culinary director Graham Dodds’ menu features his signature “3 Buttermilk Biscuits” dish served with mum’s preserves, butter and local honey, as well as brisket hash made with marble potatoes, sunny-side up farm eggs and crispy okra; and The Perfect Omelette with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chives.
Opened June 2017
One of Austin’s 10 best restaurants, according to Texas Monthly, this sophisticated spot serving “imaginative Hill Country cuisine” added weekday morning café service last summer. The new menu includes a small selection of morning dishes such as The Pitchfork, a toasted potato roll with soft scrambled eggs, daily charcuterie, Dijon, sambal and provolone; The Pretty, an everything bagel with pimento cheese, dill pickle, red onion, alfalfa sprouts and basil; and the dairy-free Earth Bowl, made with oats, toasted coconut, banana, kiwi and sunflower seeds.
“Adding a morning service is a no-brainer if you have the space for it, which we do,” said Max Snyder, Pitchfork Pretty’s executive chef. “While it’s not the most profitable service, it's a great way to introduce your brand to people that might not think of coming in for, or know about, dinner service.”