Breakfast in downtown Ocean Springs is trending. And the Sun Herald has recommendations on how to enjoy it — from soft-shell crab eggs Benedict at Phoenicia Gourmet to the savory and sweet biscuits at the Greenhouse on Porter.
In between, there’s a hearty home-style breakfast at Buzzy’s Breakfast Joint — where they sell nothing but breakfast — chicken waffles at Lancaster’s and strawberry cream puffs worth fighting over at French Kiss Pastries.
McElroy’s on the Bayou, TatoNut and Bayview Gourmet are mainstays for the breakfast crowd, both local and visitors. McElroy’s and Bayview combined serve 1,000 breakfasts on any given Sunday. TatoNut produces 400 dozen donuts for its Saturday crowd.
Buzzy’s, TatoNut and the Greenhouse on Porter hit the ground earliest for their customers, opening at 6 a.m. At Phoenicia’s, the crowd begins building around 9 a.m. At French Kiss, it’s breakfast until dusk and into the night on Friday and Saturday.
Kris Kwitzky, who has owned Kwitzky’s Dugout downtown bar for 12 years, saw the trend four years ago and opened Buzzy’s. Theresa Mohler, co-owner of TatoNut, has watched downtown breakfast evolve. Visiting customers no longer ask her: “Do you know a place that serves hot breakfast?”
All but Lancaster’s offer an outside option for eating.
Buzzy’s Breakfast Joint
Breakfast: 6 a.m.-11 a.m., weekdays; 6 a.m.-noon, Saturday and 7 a.m.-noon, Sunday
We recommend: The breakfast taco with hash browns or grits or both.
Buzzy’s is old-fashioned breakfast — in and out quickly — with eggs and bacon, omelets and egg sandwiches and breakfast tacos for those on the run. And now they have French toast. It’s open early, it’s noisy, the owner and his big dog come by the table and talk sports and you eat quickly or sit on the back porch. It’s named after the dog, who comes to work with Kris Kwitzky. No need to dress up. The coffee is $2.
Breakfast: 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., seven days a week.
We recommend: Fried oysters over a spinach omelet with artichoke Florentine sauce or German apple pancakes.
This one has an Old World feel with white table cloths, fresh flowers and owner Issam Sabagh sitting at the table nearest the door. Breakfast is an art with eggs Benedict, crab cake Benedict, trout Benedict, soft-shell Benedict. But the wait staff also lavishes the same attention on you if you order the weekday special — $5.95 for a short stack and two bacon strips or one egg with bacon and toast, served until 10 a.m. Everything is made from scratch.
McElroy’s on the Bayou
Breakfast: 7 a.m.-11 a.m. (beignets all day), seven days a week
We recommend: Shrimp and grits or the seafood omelet
McElroy’s added breakfast to its menu more than a decade ago, but they cut it off at 11 a.m., even with customer protests, because they have to start on lunch. They do a big breakfast on Sunday with seafood, meat-lovers, Southern and Western omelets. There’s liquor with breakfast and a gorgeous view of Fort Bayou.
Breakfast: 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Serving breakfast until closing, Thursday-Sunday
We recommend: Seafood omelet with crab and shrimp or pot roast biscuits and gravy
Bayview Gourmet has lots of seafood items on the breakfast menu and a full liquor license, so breakfast cocktails are a popular option. Locals recently voted it most popular for brunch. The Bloody Marys have a shrimp on the glass. Breakfast can include Bananas Foster waffles, 20 types of eggs Benedict that includes filet mignon Benedict.
Greenhouse on Porter
Breakfast: 6 a.m.-2 p.m. (“We promise biscuits by 7 a.m.”), seven days a week
We recommend: The Keylime pie graham cracker biscuit with lime fluff or the special biscuit plate
This easy-going restaurant makes a living serving biscuits, teas and coffees, with extra fixings. It’s a renovated greenhouse, so the floor in the back is gravel. The cat has the run of the place and customers can eat in back, out front or cross-legged on a corner ledge with their biscuits on an aluminum tray in their laps. They have morning beer — Coffee Milk stout is popular.
French Kiss Pastries
Breakfast all day. Hours: 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday; and 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday
We recommend: The Black Tie or the Strawberry Bavarian.
Doug from Illinois left his wife at their sidewalk table to tell Andre Thibodeaux, behind the counter, “don’t ever recommend sharing the Strawberry cream puff pastry. It almost caused a fight.” The little shop on Washington Avenue has sweet and savory breakfast treats. There’s crust and crustless quiche, breakfast sandwiches and scones, plus an array of coffees and craft beers.
Lancaster’s (Sassy Salads)
Breakfast: 8 a.m.- 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday
We recommend: Chicken and waffles.
Rodney Lancaster doesn’t like getting up early, so it’s lucky he has his nephew to handle the breakfast crowd at Lancaster’s, which combined with Sassy Salads. Lancaster’s is neighborly, it has a bulletin board so regulars can keep up with what Rodney’s children are doing. One specialty is their hand-battered, fresh chicken strips on a Belgian waffle.
Breakfast all day. Hours: 6 a.m.-5 p.m. (unless they run out sooner), Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday
We recommend: The Persian doughnut, Katrina pieces, the Blueberry cake doughnut.
TatoNut has been serving breakfast in Ocean Springs since the 1960s — first as a Spudnut, then on Government Street. Theresa Mohler, co-owner, says the regular glazed doughnut is by far the biggest seller. But the one in highest demand is the Persian, a yeast doughnut with cinnamon swirls and a glaze. On Tuesdays, they make only 15 dozen. On Saturdays, maybe 50 dozen.