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Ideation: Off to a Good Start

Here’s what operators are buying and cooking up for their breakfast customers.

Grilled Sausage, Egg & Cheddar Panini

Atwood Café, Chicago
“Hotel guests drive our breakfast business,” says Heather Terhune, executive chef at this restaurant in the Hotel Burnham. “They’re looking for more unusual items and they don’t mind paying more.” Terhune recently began buying cage-free, organic eggs and eventually hopes to use them exclusively. For her panini, she cross-utilizes sourdough bread and cheese from lunch.

Pecan Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

Brooklyn Diner, New York City
The large breakfast menu here features a “Before & After the Gym” section with healthy egg white omelets and organic buckwheat pancakes, but “Tony Bennett’s” Pecan French Toast is the top seller, says Chris McCormack, manager at the Times Square location. The kitchen buys about 400 eggs and 50 pounds of bacon each weekday; weekends, that number doubles.  

Blueberry Almond Crepes

Rosewood Country Inn, Bradford, New Hampshire
Breakfast is a big deal at this B&B, where owner Lesley Marquis makes everything from scratch daily. “I do my buying locally and what I get on Monday is used on Tuesday,” she explains. Blueberries appear on the menu in several guises; when fresh are not available, Marquis uses frozen. Since the inn hosts ma

Roasted Pear, Spinach & Gorgonzola Omelet

Cloud 9 at Senator Inn & Spa, Augusta, Maine
“I put as much emphasis on breakfast as other meals,” says chef Brian Sawyer. This omelet incorporates a healthy dose of winter fruits and vegetables, but he also does more decadent Eggs Benedict variations, using a pasteurized liquid egg yolk product for the Hollandaise. Sawyer is increasingly turning to local organic free-range eggs.

California Scramble

Black Bear Diners, Mt. Shasta, California-based
With 36 locations in the West, this chain likes to impart local flavor to breakfast items. “The California Scramble is extremely popular—many of our customers prefer veggies over meat in their eggs,” says Sherri Degraffenreid, contract administrator. From a fresh potato supplier, she sources two custom products—thicker, strip-cut hash browns and diced red potatoes for home fries.

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