Six Sinfully Sweet Southern BreakfastsOne day I will list out the plethora of self-imposed dietary restrictions I have to live with. She’s lucky she’s cute.
I like to eat my dessert first thing in the morning. This may be a hereditary trait — I have fond memories of my maternal grandparents starting their day with cups of coffee and leftover slices of cake or pie. And I recall one of my aunts kicking off her mornings with Pepsi and peanut M&Ms.
My go-to morning sweet used to be a Pop-Tart. Now I prefer vanilla Greek yogurt enhanced with candy or cookie bits. (Atlanta grocery stores: I’m begging you to start stocking Yoplait Greek 100 again; a cup of that with a handful of mini M&Ms is the breakfast of champions.)Please, Atlanta grocery stores. Only you can stop this unseemly begging.
When I splurge on a restaurant breakfast on our travels, I tend to opt for the most decadent items on the menu.
Here are my Top Six Sinfully Sweet Southern Breakfasts, and some suggestions for what to see nearby once you’ve filled your belly:
#6: Red Velvet Cake Donut
Where: Julie Darling Donuts in Chattanooga, Tennessee
We wandered into Julie Darling Donuts on Chattanooga’s Northshore sometime between breakfast and lunch one Saturday morning, which is why I had just the one donut.
But what a donut it was! Perfectly moist, with cream cheese frosting so rich that I nearly — nearly — couldn’t finish it.
The family-owned Julie Darling Donuts is closed on Sundays, or I would have returned the next day to try some of its other amazing flavors. Rest assured this place is on my agenda for our next Chattanooga trip.This place was impressive in every way. You really have to check it out.
What to See Nearby: The ever-so-Southern MoonPie General Store is in Chattanooga, as is the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum (which we’ve yet to visit). There’s the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel. If you fancy a winding drive up Signal Mountain, you can take a gander at the exterior of “The Space House.”An all-time IG favorite.
#5: Cinnamon Roll Sandwich
Where: C’s Restaurant & Bakery in Middleton, Wisconsin
OK, I’m cheating a bit by putting a place in Wisconsin on a “Southern” list—but C’s Restaurant & Bakery is south of Milwaukee, at least…
How could I not include a bacon, ham, egg, and cheese sandwich between two halves of a cinnamon roll? Bacon and ham? It’s certainly Southern at heart. Plus it comes with an enormous side of freshly shredded hash browns.
You get sweet and savory—and a lot of both.
Neither Fred nor I could clean our plates. But we had fun trying!Never again.
What to See Nearby: The silly yet surprisingly informative National Mustard Museum is in Middleton.Wisconsin has the best mustard. From there, it’s 45 minutes to the wonderfully insane House on the Rock in Spring Green, which is also home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate, Taliesen.The size of the mosquitoes in the area was Jurassic.
# 4 Chocolate Cake French Toast
Where: Morning Glory Eatery in Satellite Beach, Florida
I would love to meet the mind behind this dish. Who decided to take thinly sliced pieces of chocolate cake, dip them in egg wash, and fry them? And why haven’t they been given some sort of medal?
What surprised me was that this is not as sweet as you think it’s going to be. (I know, I know. I may not be the best judge of whether something’s too sweet.) The fresh strawberries added a nice bit of tang. All that was missing was some whipped cream!
What’s Nearby: You’re only about 10 minutes from a giant orange that once served as a juice stand. And you’re perhaps 75 minutes from Wild FloridaCome have your own Emmanuel moment! or the Heartbreak Hotel.
#3 Oreo Pancake
Where: Oy! in Vinings, Georgia
An out-of-town friend told me about Oy!, which is a little embarrassing given that it’s only 30 or so minutes from my house. (But if you know Atlanta’s 285, you know that 30 minutes is a long, hard slog!)
“Home of the Giant Pancake,” I recalled reading about Oy! somewhere online. I’d done enough homework to know that the restaurant serves two sizes of pancakes — 7 inch and 14 inch — and that if you want to try more than one of their many tempting flavors, you can order a trio.
When I did, the waitress gestured to the next table and said, “You know they’re about as big as that plate?” I assumed she meant three pancakes would fill one big plate. Fine! Great!!
And then the first one showed up, and it took up an entire plate. Followed by the second one, identical in size. And the third. Surely there had been a mistake and they’d brought me the large. But no, the server assured me, laughing, these were the smalls.
No wonder Oy! uses pizza boxes for to-go orders!
I ate as much as I could of what I’d ordered: an off-the-menu bacon pancake — a light, buttermilk concoction with little hunks of bacon folded into the batter; the Cinna-Yum (a pecan-and-cinnamon pancake with cream cheese icing and pecans on top); and my ultimate favorite, the Oreo pancake. I loved the smashed bits of Oreos hidden in the pancake — and the not-so-hidden Oreo crumbles, whipped cream, and drizzle of chocolate syrup on top.Eating leftover pancakes for a week was my favorite part of this excursion.
Of course, I still need to try the strawberry shortstack, chocolate pancake, and the red velvet pancake before I can declare a true winner. (Also know that Oy! has several gluten-free pancakes for those who want sweet without wheat.)
What’s Nearby: A 15-minute drive will have you in front of Marietta’s Big Chicken, and from there it’s a hop, skip, and a jump to Life University, home to one of the world’s largest safety pinsWhat is it with Soyia and oversized safety pins? She secretly wants to be Ant-Man. and a massive pair of hands.
#2 Red Velvet Pancakes
Where: Ruth Ann’s in Columbus, Georgia
Careful readers will note that red velvet has turned up more than once on this list. I don’t know, maybe “Steel Magnolias” is to blame for my obsession with red velvet desserts.
In any case, the red velvet pancakes at Ruth Ann’s diner in Columbus are just about perfect. Rich, moist medallions of delight. I just wished for a little more cream cheese frosting.Look at the picture. Does it look like those pancakes were lacking cream cheese frosting?
What’s Nearby: Columbus is absolutely filled with offbeat charms. Read about some of your options here and here. And it’s only 30ish minutes from the mind-blowing Pasaquan. Just note that Ruth Ann’s is only open Wednesdays through Sundays.
#1 Chocolate Chip Belgian Waffle
Where: Fender’s Diner in Cornelia, Georgia
Fender’s Diner is an adorable retro eatery with a black-and-white checked floor and turquoise-and-pink booths. Stepping inside is like stepping into another decade. Its outside space, Fender’s Alley, is small-town Southern, complete with its own bar, umbrella-covered tables, and a wall-sized television for watching football games.
But I’m here to talk about the chocolate chip Belgian waffle — fluffy and sweet, with milk chocolate chips inside and white chocolate chips on top. It’s so, so good. And the perfectly crunchy bacon adds just the salt you need to cut that sweet a bit.
Here’s the catch: When I went to the website to make sure I had the name right, I didn’t see it on the menu. Please don’t tell me it’s gone! I had it just a few months ago. Fender’s, if you can hear me, it’s the best sweet breakfast I’ve had, and obviously, I’ve had a lot! If you have taken it off your list, please reconsider! Fender’s is some GOOD EATIN’. I have spoken.
What’s Nearby: Cornelia is just about 20 minutes from World Famous SamG Land. It also is home to the Loudermilk Boarding House & Everything Elvis Museum. Just be sure to call ahead because the hours don’t always match what’s online.
|One day I will list out the plethora of self-imposed dietary restrictions I have to live with. She’s lucky she’s cute.
|Please, Atlanta grocery stores. Only you can stop this unseemly begging.
|This place was impressive in every way. You really have to check it out.
|An all-time IG favorite.
|Wisconsin has the best mustard.
|The size of the mosquitoes in the area was Jurassic.
|Come have your own Emmanuel moment!
|Eating leftover pancakes for a week was my favorite part of this excursion.
|What is it with Soyia and oversized safety pins? She secretly wants to be Ant-Man.
|Look at the picture. Does it look like those pancakes were lacking cream cheese frosting?
|Fender’s is some GOOD EATIN’. I have spoken.