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Slay the most important meal of the day at these breakfast big hitters

Who doesn’t love a leisurely mid-morning brunch complete with cocktails and candied bacon, but where do you go when you need an early morning meal that’s as delicious as it is efficient? Whether you are clocking out of the graveyard shift or connecting with business partners, the Fox Cities offers plenty of options for grabbing a morning bite. From quick-stop cafes to early morning diners, those who prize the most important meal of the day will never go without. Below are some of the most talked about breakfast joints in the Fox Cities, so you can spend less time searching and more time enjoying a warm meal.

WeatherVane Restaurant, Menasha

Offering a great variety of breakfast foods, WeatherVane is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays to provide early risers with a hearty meal. WeatherVane has been serving their community fresh, local food for over nine years. “We have been blessed with a wonderful community,” says Melanie Dufrane, daughter of owner Pat Dufrane. “It’s just the culture that we’ve established over the years; having our regular customers and having them bring other people in. We’ve watched families grow.” The restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere appeals to guests of all kinds, from third shift workers to large business groups. “You can get settled in a booth with a cup of coffee or come in with a group of friends or family and hang out,” DuFrane says. “It’s definitely cozy and laid back. We have a little something for everyone.” The “sunrise specials,” a selection of six breakfast meals that range in price from $4-6, are offered from 6 to 10 a.m. A weekend breakfast buffet is also available from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and until 1 p.m. on Sundays. In 2013 and 2017, the restaurant expanded their waiting area, dining room and kitchen to meet the needs of increased business. If you’re feeling hungry, WeatherVane offers the Tsunami Challenge, a seven pound dish that includes a five and a half pound, 10-ingredient omelette, a pound of hash browns and four large pancakes. Those who accept the challenge are allotted one hour to eat the entire meal, after signing an insurance waiver, of course. To date, only two challengers have been successful. The restaurant requests that you call ahead of your arrival to allow adequate preparation time. WeatherVane is currently updating their menu with more gluten-free options. “We are not a 100 percent gluten-free facility,” DuFrane says. “But we are trying to accommodate those who have dietary restrictions. So we are training staff and trying to be a little more diverse and come up with some specials that are gluten-free friendly and vegan friendly.”

Shellattés, Neenah

Doubling as a cafe and a breakfast diner, Shellattés offers customers a comfortable and unique dining experience. Open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sundays, the menu consists of curated breakfast items. “We’re not your normal eggs over easy and waffles and toast,” says owner Shelly Baeten. “We’re just a little bit different than your normal breakfast.” The menu includes items such as an egg bake, quiche and a signature breakfast sandwich as well as bakery goods made fresh in-store. One of the most popular items is the baked oatmeal which changes daily, some past preparations include raspberry white chocolate and pumpkin chocolate chip pecan. The restaurant also offers a wide variety of drinks including espresso, coffee and non-caffeinated drinks. Some of their most popular drinks include a seasonal pumpkin pie latte, caramel latte and the self-named Shellatté. Shellattés is the only restaurant in Wisconsin that serves PT’s coffee beans out of their establishment. PT’s coffee, based out of Topeka, Kansas, received the highest ever rating of 97 from the Coffee Review. It is also ranked fifth out of the top 10 roasters in the country. The staff and baristas at Shellattés are personally trained by PT’s coffee so that they are able to brew and serve it to the best quality. The comfortable and homey atmosphere of the restaurant provides a great space for customers to relax. The restaurant is stocked with donated used books for customers to read while they’re dining. “We have a small collection of gently used books for people to sit down and enjoy,” Baeten says. “They’re reasonably priced and I just love to find a book a home.”

Tempest Coffee Collective, Appleton

Located in the ground level of Riverheath’s Prairie development, Tempest Coffee is a bit off the beaten path but offers a breakfast menu and ambiance worth the trek. The breakfast bell rings at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. on Sundays. Everything on the menu is fresh and made from scratch, down to the signature maple syrup. The location, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Fox River, doesn’t hurt either. Even the most social media adverse will have a hard time not Instagramming their experience. “Our restaurant is more of an elevated cafe experience,” says owner Tyler Lonadire. “It’s a little high more high-end especially compared to what’s around. Our ingredients are high quality, we focus a lot more on quality.” Some of the high end menu items include a waffle made with blue corn flour, topped with vanilla mascarpone, cherry syrup and lemon zest. Customers love the signature Dixie Dawn waffle sandwich with a fried egg, bacon and sharp cheddar and the lox English muffin with blueberry-dill cured salmon. If any of these sound good, don’t wait – Tempest Coffee has a seasonal menu that changes every four months to accommodate the freshest ingredients. The current fall menu will be available until mid January.

Rico’s Family Restaurant, Appleton, Combined Locks, Freedom & Kaukauna 

Rico’s Family Restaurant has a bit of an empire going in the Fox Cities. The small chain restaurant opened its newest location in Appleton on October 31 where Paninoteca/Sunrise Family Restaurant was previously located. It’s the fourth Rico’s location, joining those in Combined Locks, Freedom and Kaukauna. The restaurant has already been receiving positive reviews in the few weeks it has been open. Menu items like the breakfast skillets, cinnamon french toast and classic pancakes have customers coming back for more. “Our menu is big enough for everybody,” says owner Efrain “Rico” Carrasco. “We use a lot of fresh ingredients. All of our beef is 100 percent chuck angus.” Right now, Rico’s is working on a seasonal menu for customers to enjoy. Rico’s is open seven days a week as early as 5:30 a.m. until 9 pm. Breakfast is served all day so customers can enjoy a fresh stack at any time.

Third Street Diner, Menasha

Winner of the 2019 runner-up Golden Fork Award for Best Diner, Third Street Diner is an unpretentious restaurant serving a classic menu of breakfast favorites. With everything made to order, you can’t beat the large portions and reasonable prices. Serving breakfast all day, customers have an abundance of choices to pick from off the menu. Hailed for its homestyle cooking, the restaurant offers pancakes, waffles and crepes made from scratch, but it is most known for its potato pancakes made fresh in house. “Customers really love our potato pancakes, they’re made from scratch and they’re really popular,” says owner Michelle Meyer.  Another staple breakfast recipe that Third Street Diner customers enjoy is the homemade french toast, topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar. Open seven days a week starting at 5 a.m, early birds and graveyard shifters alike can enjoy a warm breakfast in a homey setting. Third Street Diner has been serving its community for 22 years, providing customers with a fun, laid back atmosphere to enjoy their hearty servings of food with friends and family.
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Food & Dining

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