Whether you enjoy eating breakfast at home or dining out, our readers have many delicious choices on the Shoreline for the most important meal of the day.
In the category of Best Bagels, Cohen’s Bagel Company in Madison has been baking their version of the New York classic since 2003, and legend has it that the bagel dates as far back as the 15th century.
During the week, Cohen’s team bakes an average of 1,200 bagels a day, and on Saturdays some 3,000 are made for both in shop and wholesale purchases.
Baked onsite daily from scratch, bagel selections include: Asiago, jalapeño, cranberry orange, sesame, harvest wheat, French toast, poppy and sun-dried tomato.
Enjoy warm straight from one of the front bins or top with a sweet or savory cream cheese spread such as chive, garden veggie, maple walnut raisin, spinach artichoke or very berry. Other toppings include peanut butter, honey, or plain cream cheese with fresh, sliced lox.
Try one of several bagel sandwiches like the Sunrise with eggs and cheddar on an onion bagel adding a little bacon or sausage for a heartier version.
Pack your own bagels to go: buy six get one free, or the baker’s dozen, buy 12 get two free.
Julie’s Cup of Joe in Westbrook also won for Best Bagel.
If you want to indulge your a sweet tooth in the morning, pop in the newly-opened Blazing Fresh Donuts just off the Guilford Green.
Locally owned, the shop has seen tremendous traffic especially due to the recent artisan doughnut craze.
Manager Dave Rusate shared, “We’re super excited! With doughnuts, the possibilities are endless, and they are becoming a big thing right now. Guilford is super supportive of small businesses. It’s been awesome for us.”
Blazing Fresh Donuts turns a honey dipped doughnut on its side.
Here you can create your fantasy doughnut. First, you watch as a fresh doughnut is prepared from a vanilla cake base. Then the real fun begins as you choose a frosting and multiple toppings.
“It’s very customer oriented as you see the whole process.
Everything is made fresh and to your order,” said Rusate. A sampling of choices for frosting include: blueberry, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, lemon and pumpkin. A multitude of toppings include crushed Oreos, peanut butter chips, M&M’s, and of course sprinkles.
For something more breakfast-like try chopped bacon, apples, or granola. And top it all off with one of Blazing Fresh Donut’s drizzles like chocolate, salted caramel or banana.
You can serve donuts at your next event. Rusate shared, “We do catering with custom themes and colors with special frostings. We’ve also done giant donut walls stacking our donuts on a wooden peg board!”
Loyal customers earn a point with every dollar they spend and at 100 points receive two free doughnuts.
Other winners in the category are Beach Donuts in Clinton and Whitney Donut in Hamden.
The name says it all at Still Delicious Bakery in Westbrook earning Best Muffins by our readers. Owner and baker Mark Israel opened the shop just over three years ago catering to those customers looking for an alternative to traditional baked goods.
“The whole bakery is gluten, soy, and nut free. We also provide vegan, paleo and dairy free options.” said Israel.
The open lay-out of the bakery makes you feel as if you are in a private kitchen with the smell of fresh baked goods wafting through the air. House favorite muffins include blueberry, carrot, apple cranberry streusel, banana, coconut, chocolate chip and coffee cake.
The Hidden Kitchen in Guilford and New England Muffin Factory in Southington also won Best Muffins.
A welcoming hometown restaurant serving up the comfort of good food is why our readers once again voted Cristy’s Restaurant in Westbrook and Madison Best Breakfast Nook.
Their famous pancakes top the list of breakfast-brunch items, with over 40 varieties. Raspberry oatmeal crunch, pumpkin apple, strawberry chocolate chip and coconut pineapple macadamia nut are just a sampling of unique choices.
To start your day with something a little more savory than sweet, Cristy’s offers a selection of omelets such as bacon or mushroom with cheese fresh from the grill. Or, perhaps you’re in the mood for a Western omelet with home fries.
Owner Susan Taylor attributes her success to her love of cooking. “I care so much about our food and what goes out.” she said.
Taylor also has fond memories of her mom in the kitchen. “She was such an amazing cook (when I was) growing up,” said Taylor. “She was always, always cooking. She probably started putting blueberries and raspberries, or maybe a little bit of granola (in pancakes) and I think I went crazy with it!”
Asked what’s most popular on the menu, Cristy’s manager Jessica Keilty shared, “Our homemade hash and lobster benedict. People just have a great time here, and they enjoy the consistency of the food.”
Turtle Cafe in Westbrook and The Whistle Stop Cafe in Deep River also won Best Breakfast Nook.
While breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Sunday brunch is definitely the most popular meal of the week, and La Luna in Branford is a winner in this category.
It all started when La Luna owner Edgar Ortiz took a vacation cruise back in the mid-’90s. “I thought it was interesting what they did on Sundays with a buffet on the ship. It gave me the idea that maybe we should do this, as well.”
What started out with 30 to 40 brunch guests now seats up to 300 diners every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Choose from an enormous array ranging from breakfast items to lunch and dinner entrees. Dishes include: Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise and French toast, omelets to order, a carving station with roasted prime rib and other meats like roast leg of lamb, seafood, and soups, antipasto and salads, and a full dessert selection.
Ortiz said, “A lot of items we don’t even put on the menu so when people come in they say, ‘Wow, this is part of the brunch?!’ People come because of the selection and the price.”
Brunch is $25.95 for adults, $12.95 children under 10, and $5.95 children under 5. Guests can enjoy a complimentary mimosa, bloody Mary or orange juice.
Water’s Edge in Westbrook and The Tea Kettle in Old Saybrook are also winners for Best Sunday Brunch.