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Since 2000

Bob Evans
First Watch
WHuddle House
Waffle House

Many Lexington restaurants, especially those in hotels, serve breakfast. The ones we list here specialize in breakfast. In the case of Waffle House and The International House of Pancakes, that's all they serve, 24 hours a day, and First Watch and Panera's expand their menu only as far as lunch. It should come as no surprise that they've become pretty good at breakfast. You've probably never realized how many different kinds of pancakes and ways to fix pancakes there are, not to mention the various forms of French Toast, Croissants, Omelettes, Eggs, Sausage, Crepes, and even Cappucinos, Frappacinos, Coffees and Teas. Eating breakfast in the afternoon or evening might be a new experience for you, but it can certainly be a high energy meal, and if you order Steak & Eggs, Ham & Eggs or Shrimp & Eggs, it becomes just as hearty as any other dinner. A clue for coffee drinkers : Even if you've been drinking coffee all your lives odds are you've been drinking coffee made from low quality Robusta beans. Be sure to look for coffee made from Arabica beans. It's a whole different level of quality and taste. Arabica beans contain less caffeine and have no bitter after taste.

Bob Evans' theme is good old fashioned American farm cooking, and big breakfasts are a tradition. They start off with the Homestead, the classic bacon, two eggs, home fries, two biscuits and sausage gravy. Alternatives are eggs and steak ham, pancakes or sausage. Vegetarians love the veggie omelettes, fruit yogurt crepes, blueberry banana french toast, and fruit plates. Truck drivers like the Pot Roast Hash (slow roasted beef with home fries, two eggs, cheddar cheese, scallions and two biscuits). The Border Scramble offer a fluffy omelette filled with sausage, home fries, tomatoes, onions, picante sauce, rolled in a tortilla, topped with sausage chile, sour cream and scallions. Griddle lovers can order Belgian Waffles, Crepes, French Toast, Cornmeal Mush and seven flavors of Pancakes. Finally, there are Biscuit Bowls: flaky buttermilk biscuits filled with scrambled eggs, queso sauce, sausage, home fries, diced tomatoes, onions, picante sauce, cheddar, scallions and sour cream. You get unlimited refills of coffee or hot chocolate. Richmond Road / New Circle.
First Watch made their reputation with breakfasts and they do a great job. The menu is heavy with fresh fruits and vegetables and in house breads. They offer 10 Omelets, served with potatoes and English muffins. They brag about their Bacado, a bacon - avocado - cheese mix topped with sour cream and salsa. But we think their best are their Acapulco, which includes Chorizo, sausage, green chiles, avocado, onions, cheddar and monterey jack cheese; Greek, with roast red peppers, spinach, onions, feta and black olives; and Swiss, with ham, roast mushrooms, onions, herbs and Swiss cheese. There are five Skillet Hashes, cast iron skillets with varying ingredients. They promote the Parma Hash, two eggs any style over potatoes, sausage, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, Parmesan, mozzarella and herbs. But the Farmhouse places those eggs and potatoes over chicken, zucchini, onions, red peppers, cheddar, and a pesto hollandaise. The Hashes are probably the healthiest entrees on the breakfast menu. As you would expect, First Wach offers Pancakes, Belgian Waffles, French Toast, Crepes, Frittatas, and eggs fixed every way imaginable : Eggs Benedict, Scrambled, Creped, etc. The Pancakes are outstanding. First Watch proudly points out that it does not use deep fryers or heat lamps, but makes everything fresh, heart healthy and on order. For lunch you can choose from six Salads and 13 Sandwiches, but they're just average. This is clearly a breakfast place.
The International House of Pancakes is the most creative in town with their pancake flavors. If you're a pancake fan you MUST try their New York Cheesecake Pancakes, but the Strawberry Banana, Chocolate Chip, and Harvest Grain Nut Pancakes are also great. There are seven Omelettes : Ham & Cheese, Chicken Fajita, Spinach Mushroom, Steak & Hash Brown, Garden, Colorado, and Bacon, and each comes with the bonus of three buttermilk pancakes. In addition to the basic Belgian Waffle and French Toast, you can get Stuffed Toast (cinnamon raisen toast containing cream cheese with strawberry topping) or Strawberry Banana Toast. And they have a page of Crepes : Chicken Florentine, Garden, Nutella, Danish and Swedish. The Lexington IHop is located on New Circle Road at Palumbo Drive directly across from the Cadillac Dealership.
Magee's is basically a bakery, but has added tables and chairs and now has its own loyal cult of breakfast customers. They come for the donuts, Danish, pastries, muffins, rolls, biscuits, breads and toast. This is not the place to come for pancakes, eggs, meats or any of the hot breakfasts. But if your idea of breakfast is good coffee and some sort of bread or pastry, no one in town can touch Magee's. Everything is fresh from the oven and just outstanding. People drive all the way across town for their donuts. They do a tremendous carry out business as secretaries and clerks pick up various items to take to work for the staff. Magee's is on East Main across from the Fayette County Public School offices.
Panera's plays to its strength at breakfast with a long list of baked goods. There are eight flavors of Bagels, seven Breakfast Sandwiches, and 15 flavors of Breads, five flavors of Pastries, three kinds of Scones, six kinds of Muffins, four kinds of Sweet Rolls, not to mention Brownies, Blondies, Coffee Cakes, Cookies, and Mini Bundt Cakes. We like their Sourdough, Honey Wheat and Asioga Cheese items. They also have gourmet teas, cappucinos, lattes, espressos, and freshly brewed coffees. Then there are fruit smoothies, mangos, caramels and mochas, and, for the traditionalists, orange juice and apple juice. The crackling fireplace is nice on cold Winter mornings. Richmond Road (at New Circle Road), Nicholasville Road in Regency Square, and Harrodsburg Road in Palomar Center. Shown here is the Regency Square outlet.
Waffle House is famous for their waffles but ironically their menu features everything else. They promote their Steak & Eggs, Pork Chops & Eggs, Grilled Chicken & Eggs, Omelettes (Cheesesteak, Chili Cheese, Jalapeno and Ham & Cheese), Egg Sandwiches, Hash Browns and classic EggsnBacon or Ham & Egg plates. They're also pretty proud of their biscuits, sausage and bacon sides. Then, over there in the corner, they get around to their Waffles. Their basic is the classic Butter Milk Waffle. There are Double Waffles and Waffles With Sausage or Ham or Eggs. You can pick from Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry and Strawberry. Actually, we regret the evolution of Waffle House. Way back there, they served ONLY waffles, two pages of every variation imaginable. We could try waffles here we could never find anywhere else and couldn't fix ourselves. Now they've diversified, but the waffle choices are narrowed. Luckily, they still do a good job, with waffles and everything else. South Broadway, Richmond Road, Beaumont Place.
Doodles is a converted gas station made into the best breakfast stop downtown and a rather unique experience. They use almost all local organic ingredients and prepare it on site. It's only a notch above a fast food outlet in service : you place your order, pay, take a number and display it at your table. A server brings it to you. The place is eccentric. It specializes in breakfast but doesn't open until 8. On weekends it's overwhelmed and you may wait 30 minutes just to place an order. Parking is dicey; the lot's too small and there are no spaces on North Limestone. None of this has deterred a loyal customer base from developing. That's because the food is either very good or controversial. Everyone likes the Cornbread Silver Dollar Pancakes, Shrimp, Grits & Tomato Gravy, and Corned Beef Hash & Eggs. The Oatmeal and Beignets are more debatable. Many loyal customers love them. Others dislike the toasted sugar drizzled over the oatmeal or the "heavy" feel to the beignets. Coffee lovers rave about the French Press of locally roasted Cafe Marco blend. Doodles is only open til 2, but has also become a favorite for lunch. They take pride in their Chicken Doodle Soup, Fried Shrimp Po Boy, and Griddle Cooked All Beef Frank. Doodles is on North Limestone, a block above Sayre School, right across the street from Atomic Cafe. There's a patio (note the umbrella visible through the window at right).
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