There’s no denying it. Your coveted, early morning sleep-in time has been replaced by the pitter-patter of little feet coming down the hall at daybreak. Who synched up their internal clocks with the sun anyway? And you can almost hear the Jaws theme playing in your head as they approach, closer and closer until they pounce. Of course, there’s no denying their sweet little faces when they do, even if the clock reads 6:00 am, which it almost always does. It’s time to get up and start the day. And how better to start it than with a good-old, greasy spoon breakfast? So tiptoe down the stairs. Shhh. Let dad sleep. And head to a (super) early breakfast at one of these kid-friendly restaurants that rise and shine when your kiddos do.
Hipster Cool & Old-School
The Square Knot, in the heart of Georgetown, is the perfect place to start your earlier-than-usual (yawn) morning. This quintessential diner with a hip edge (They don’t answer their phone. Seriously.), serves up classic diner fare 24-hours a day. Weekday mornings are pretty quiet, and rock star street parking is readily available. Your kids will surely find a favorite on their classic kid’s menu. French toast, eggs and bacon fill up hungry tummies at any hour of the day. And the portions sizes make it easy to share. But, if sharing’s not on the menu for your tot, be sure to ask for a half order. The cook will often make smaller portions, as long as your pretty please comes with sugar on top. Crayons and coloring sheets aren’t on the menu, mom, so be sure to bring your own distractions while you wait for food. The best part? When you’re done with breakfast, you’re perfectly poised to hit Sandbox Sports or the Museum of Flight. The Sandbox is an easy one block walk around the corner and the museum is just a short drive down Airport Way.
The Square Knot
6015 Airport Way South
Seattle, Wa 98108
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
A Secret Harbor Haunt
Embark on a journey to one of West Seattle’s best-kept secrets (shhh, don’t tell) and join the nautically in-the-know. The Chelan Café, just under the West Seattle bridge, is the perfect place for little ones to train-and-crane spot while wolfing down some seriously yummy eats. Be sure to order up the Mickey Mouse pancake for your tot. The whip cream accents and gummi bear eyes might be the only distractions to tear them away from the boat pictures and nautical maps that line the restaurant walls. Who said a sugar fix wasn’t the perfect way to start a morning anyway? When their bellies are full and they need to burn off some of that energy, head down to nearby Jack Block Park on Alki for more harbor (and city) views that can’t be beat! Two birds plus one stone equals the perfect early morning plan.
3527 Chelan Avenue SW
Seattle, Wa 98106
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6:00 am -7:30 pm; Sat.–Sun. 6:00 am – 1:00 pm
An “Egg”stra Special Seattle Classic
What’s not to love about Beth’s Café, a classic Seattle diner and Mecca for breakfast connoisseurs the world over? OK, maybe not the world, but you get the picture. Early weekday mornings are the perfect time to hit this popular spot because you’ll rarely find a wait and you can find parking. Your budding Picasso will be awed by the eclectic artwork covering the walls, and inspired to create some of her own while she waits. B-I-G portions are the name of the game at Beth’s. The kind that make you glad you wore your yoga pants with a stretchy waistband. But the mini breakfast menu items will do the trick for the minis in your life. Classic diner fare like eggs, bacon, pancakes and hash browns (not the unlimited kind) is offered in smaller portions here. Feeling adventurous? Try divvying up one of the famous 6-egg omelets around the table (remember, there’s a $1.50 per person split fee). A protein load like that is exactly what you need to take a stroll around Green Lake or hit the Woodland Park Zoo after breakfast. They’re just a stone’s throw from this “egg”ceptional breakfast joint.
7311 Aurora Avenue North
Seattle Wa 98103
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Feather Your Nest
Patty’s Eggnest might not quite fall into the greasy-spoon category, but the irresistible menu and early morning hours make it a perfect spot to land with the little ones. Fuel up on delish favs that are usually reserved for a decadent weekend brunch. Devonshire sweet cream topped delights like the Apple Pandora and Liberty Waffles make our list of mouthwatering mama favorites. But let’s not forget the wee ones. Patty’s has two menus that cater to the cuties in your life. Mini breakfasts (smaller portions of traditional favorites) and the children’s section (found on the back of the menu) both offer smaller items for the pint-sized. The bear pancake, junior pigs-in-a-blanket, and the mini breakfast are can’t-lose crowd pleasers. Whatever you choose, serve it up with a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice to get your morning motor revved up and ready for take-off.
Patty’s Eggnest Seattle
9749 Holman Road NW
Seattle, Wa 98117
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6:00 am – 8:00 pm; Sat. 6:00 am – 8:00 pm; Sun. 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Imagine a breakfast joint where regulars sit down to their favorite dishes, hot off the griddle, before ordering. Think Cheers for the breakfast crowd. Pretty awesome, right? We couldn’t agree more! That’s just par for the course at Li’l Jon’s in Bellevue. This long-time, local favorite starts serving breakfast when the rooster crows. That’s 5:00 am city slicker time. Be sure to start your breakfast with one of their ginormous cinnamon rolls. Split it between the table while you wait for your food and the wait staff will mistake you for a regular, too! Your kids will enjoy all their traditional restaurant breakfast favorites, like dollar pancakes, French toast, eggs and bacon. But Li’l Jon’s is sure to be a hit with the pickier eaters too. They’ve got some Plain Jane standards that never go out of style. Cold cereal and oatmeal are also on the menu. Moms, you’ll be thankful for the quick service, friendly staff and bang for your buck pricing. Kid’s meals are under $5, so there’s even more to “cheer” about!
Lil’ Jon Restaurant & Lounge
3080 148th Avenue SE
Bellevue, Wa 98007
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5:00 am – 10:00 pm; Sat. 6:00 am – 10:00 pm; Sun. 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Don’t Let The Name Fool You
More of a cozy diner than a cowboy hangout, Chance’s Pancake Corral is a throwback you and your kids will love. It may seem like not much has changed here since Chance’s first opened in 1958, but the menu options sure have. Gluten-free goodies abound on the kid’s menu, that serves up perfectly-portioned meals for little mouths and tummies. Tasty temptations like chocolate chip dollar pancakes, mini waffles topped with fruit and whipped cream, and the bear pancake (that’s just $2.95!) will satisfy little taste buds with or without the gluten. Just be sure to let your server know if you would like the gluten-free option. Wiggle worms can color their hearts out while you find just the right pancake to get you through the too-early morning. Sweet or savory, the choice is up to you (hint: try the crispy potato pancakes for a delicious change in pace). Either way you won’t be disappointed. Yeehaw!
Chance’s Pancake Corral
1606 Bellevue Way South
Bellevue, Wa 98004
Hours: Mon.–Fri. 6:00 am – 2:30 pm; Sat. 6:00 am – 3:00 pm; Sun. 6:30 am -3:00 pm
It’s All In The Name
Family comes first at Couzin’s Café (named in honor of the owner’s children, nieces and nephews, who all work there). It’s the perfect early morning eatery for families. Will the staff watch your kiddos while you head back to bed? Probably not, but they will go out of their way to make sure they’re entertained and fed. Think turning plain pancakes into chocolate chippers to keep the little ones happy. Kids agree that Ariel’s pancakes and the Big David’s Combo top the list of breakfast favs. And the Raven’s Nest (an egg “nested” in toast) is the perfect alternative breakfast fare. Couzin’s generous portions are easy to share and half-orders are available on many items. Our favorite part is the cleverly “disguised” kid’s menu, found on the back of children’s books. ‘Cuz functional and fun is always a win-win for parents, especially in the early morning hours.
12861 NE 85th Street
Kirkland, Wa 98033
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6:00 am – 3:00 pm; Sat.-Sun. 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
What are your favorite early morning, kid-friendly eateries? Share them with us in the comments section below.
–Allison Sutcliffe, words and (many) of the pictures!
Photo credit: Virginia See