Incredible Breakfast Trends

The Evolution of Perfection

Merriam-Webster defines comfort food as being “prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal.” Putting a little more meat on those dry bones, it is the culinary equivalent of Mom’s love, wrapping you in a blanket in front of a crackling fire and close to perfection. It is food you trust and if it doesn’t actually cure what ails you, it certainly makes you feel better about it.

Comfort food is not a trend by itself, but is the basis for one that is making both comfort and food more intriguing: revving up old favorites with unexpected spices, sauces and ethnic ingredients, or upscaling them into more gourmet dishes. Datassential says consumers are loyal to traditional breakfast favorites, but 53 percent are still interested in unique treatments of “elevated” comfort foods.

Attributes that qualify a food for the comfort label remain subjective depending on childhood experiences, cultural identities and happy memories. But there is little doubt that we all know it when we see it. Of the many items that are generally considered comfort food only one encompasses an entire meal, and that meal is breakfast.

Hot and comforting morning daypart options include Eggs Benedict, hashes, scrambled eggs, grits and omelettes, all of which are perfect foods for experimentation and expansion. This means chefs are stepping off the well-worn path of omelettes made with a recurring shortlist of familiar ingredients and producing dishes like the following:

  • Slim’s Spicy Caribbean Omelette is stuffed with grilled jerk-spiced shrimp, fresh avocado, green onion, sweet onion and cilantro, and then topped with mango salsa. (m.henry, Chicago)
  • For those looking to eat lighter, but very, very well, The Green Omelette is filled with sautéed broccoli, green pepper, onion and spinach, with a choice of ten cheeses that include feta, fresh mozzarella and goat cheese. (Sound Bites, Boston)

These are the sophisticated adult siblings of Denver and Veggie omelettes.

Eggs Benedict mentions are up 36 percent on QSR menus over those of four years ago per Datassential. The creativity in these examples may explain the increasing popularity:

  • Poached y Papas Benedict, made with a thick slice of baked ham and two poached eggs, covered in hollandaise but served on seasoned potato skins. (The Griddle Café, Hollywood)
  • Benedict’s ala Munich includes grilled bratwurst, caramelized onions, poached eggs and a mustard hollandaise served on potato pancakes. (Benedict’s La Strata, Crystal Lake, Illinois)

Both dishes are recognizable as Benedicts, but presented in exciting new translations.

One dish relatively new to American menus, huevos rancheros, is based on comfort for a new generation and has become such a frequent sight that it’s approaching the status of “expected.” Scrambled, omelette, Benedict and rancheros. The inherent simplicity of eggs, beans and chilies offers plenty of room for experimentation and America’s chefs have already seen fit to innovate:

  • Trading out the beans for curry-spiced lentils and the tortilla for naan, the Breslin in NYC serves Poached Eggs with Curried Lentils, Yogurt and Cilantro, a rancheros-like item with an Indian twist.
  • Philadelphia’s Rex 1516 makes Huevos Rancheros with a layer of rich crawfish étouffée topped with two fried tostadas, then another layer of étouffée followed by eggs, pico de gallo, queso fresca, lime crema and fresh guacamole.

The list goes on and on, including comfort foods more commonly thought of as lunch or dinner items, yet quite at home on a morning plate. Grilled cheese and pizza fit this category. Here are two examples of each being menued in the morning:

  • Big Tex (grilled cheese) ‒ scrambled eggs, Pepper Jack, bacon and pickled jalapeños on sourdough. (Melt Shop, NYC)
  • Breakfast Club Melt ‒ fried eggs, hickory bacon and American cheese, coated in sweet pancake batter and deep fried with maple syrup for dipping. (Melt Bar & Grilled, Ohio chain)
  • Breakfast Pizza ‒ Italian ham, tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, garlic, oregano and eggs. (Gioia Pizzeria, San Francisco)
  • Bazonk! Breakfast Pizza ‒ goat cheese, bacon and mushrooms topped with fresh basil. (Zayda Buddy’s, Seattle)

The range of innovative breakfast combinations is endless, from egg sandwiches with Cheddar, tomato jam and pickled jalapeños (Egg Shop, NYC) to egg-topped lemon rosemary bread pudding with caramel cream sauce (C&M Café, Los Angeles). It seems there are many ways to improve on perfection.


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Put An Egg On It

All Day Breakfast

Multicultural Cuisines

Indulgent Comfort

New Competition

New Behaviors

Regional Breakfast Menu

Comfort Foods with Flair

Clockless Dining

Simply Nutritious

The New Consumer

Breakfast Influencers

Eggcyclopedia

Egg facts