From the time-crunched, grab-and-go brekkie to a casual mid-week sit-down and the bougie weekend brunch, we ventured to as many a.m. “open” signs as there are eggs in a carton and bagels in a bag to ensure you plenty of places to fill every box of your weekly planner. and for the days it’s best to fuel up and cook from home, we’ve include a few chef-inspired recipes as well as dish ideas to break the fast of any given week.


If it’s just another manic Monday, quick-and-easy counter service is the way to go. Make it a point to make a pit stop for some of these handheld breakfast items made and wrapped for easy carryout. And where they also offer plenty of coffee, tea and latte options to charge you up and take on the day. 

These fast-casual cafes get the job done so you can kickstart the workweek. Grab a breakfast sandwich, along with a caffeinated beverage at Main Street’s Michelle’s Brown Bag Cafe. The Full Monty promises to indeed leave you full for the day—or at least until your lunch break. Wake up hungry and look forward to the stacked sandwich filled with sweet ham, smoked turkey breast, white cheddar, provolone and bacon, smeared with house aioli on French bread—then dipped in a sweet egg mixture, grilled and served with berry jam. The Brown Bag Burrito—made with three scrambled eggs, grilled sausage, seasoned chicken or bacon, fresh salsa and shredded jack cheese all in a warm wheat wrap—is a satisfying option wrapped in tinfoil to chow down on in the car on your way into the office. From one beach town to the other, Anna Maria islanders flock to North Shore Cafe for acai bowls and breakfast smoothies, while Venice natives get their fruitful fixings from downtown’s Island Organics.

Both locales provide laid-back but efficient counter service and carryout containers to take with you on the road. The Acai Hemp Bowl at North Shore comes freshly blended with acai, banana, strawberry, hemp protein, cacao and almond milk, and is topped with strawberries, bananas, homemade granola, Florida honey, coconut flakes, and a choice of almond or peanut butter. At Island Organics, catch the wave with a smoothie bowl like the Pura Vida—mixed with pitaya, yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, mango, avocado and dates topped with granola and all the tropical fruit fixings. If you have the luxury of working remotely, you couldn’t ask for a more chill, relaxing  “office” setting. 

An on-the-go burrito wrapped up and ready for another manic Monday, courtesy of Peak Performance & Zildjian Catering for when we're sliding through yellow lights and fixing our bedhead in the rearview mirror. 

Giddy about the promise of a high-quality biscuit, run over to Buttermilk Handcrafted Food for a fresh-baked biscuit with a sidekick of house-made condiments (thickly spread them around to make each bite as satisfactory as the first). The biscuits are the real deal—crispy, golden and flaky on the outside, and light, warm and airy on the inside. And to boot, there are about six different fresh jams of pureed fruit, including apricot, blueberry and strawberry, as well as Buttermilk’s own cultured butter. Instead of grabbing donuts for everyone in the office, become the employee of the month by bringing in a bag of biscuits and a flight of jams.   

Peak Performance Catering / Zildjian Catering, and, 941-363-1709; Michelle’s Brown Bag Cafe, 1819 Main St., Sarasota, 941-365-5858,, @michellesbrownbagcafe; Island Organics, 231 Miami Ave. W., Venice, 941-484-3565,, @islandorganics; North Shore Cafe, 304 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, 941-900-2671,, @northshorecafe_ami; Buttermilk Handcrafted Food, 5520 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, 941-487-8949, @buttermilksrq. 


Not your mother's french toast, have a go at this pistachio-crusted banana, Nutella and Tahini take, courtesy of the Spice Boys Food Truck. 

Take today to cook up a little something from home. Wake up just 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual and treat yourself, or your family or roommates, to an extra-special midweek breakfast before leaving for work or school. 

Pancakes are the perfect Tuesday treat to awaken your taste buds and get the day started. These familiar fluffy flapjacks take mere minutes to make but add a bit more pizzazz to your plate than boxed cereal. Grab your milk, flour and baking essentials from Detwiler’s, but instead of making plain, tried-and-true pancakes, throw in some exploratory ingredients to jazz it up. Try some Honey Cinnamon Blueberry or Lemon Ricotta pancakes.

For plant-based versions, swap out regular milk for Sarasota-produced Totally Nuts, providing almond milk for delivery and pickup locally. Yoder’s Produce Market is a great local spot to get your bluebs and such, while there are plenty of area apiaries to fill up on your liquid sweetener, including Sarasota Honey Company’s Orange Blossom or Blackbeard’s Ranch Myakka Prairie Honey. For an even more compulsory sweet ingredient to adorn your pancakes, grab a bottle of traditional open-kettle Pure Cane Sugar Syrup by Ambler Farms in Myakka City. You can grab these any time by ordering on Homestead Hydroponic Farm’s online store featuring all locally harvested products.

We enlisted Chefs Carl Kolber and Steven Schmitt of the Spice Boys food truck to create an extravagant breakfast item to experiment with at home. Fair warning: This is not your mother’s French toast. 

Pistachio-Crusted Banana, Nutella and Tahini French Toast with Orange Blossom Syrup and Smoked Bacon

Ingredients: Eggs, Heavy cream, Pistachios, toasted Banana, (roughly chopped), Tahini Mascarpone Nutella, White bread, Sunflower oil, Unsalted butter, Smoked bacon, Orange blossom syrup (optional).

Directions: Whisk eggs and cream together in a bowl. Mix pistachios, bananas, tahini, mascarpone and Nutella together in a separate bowl. Spread the mixture over two slices of bread, then dip the sandwich in the egg and cream mixture. Set frying pan to medium heat, melt oil and butter, add sandwiches and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from heat and brush on orange blossom syrup. 

Detwiler’s Farm Market, 6100 North Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota; 2881 Clark Rd., Sarasota; 6000 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota,, @detwilersmarket; Yoder’s Produce Market, 3404 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, 941-308-4448,; Homestead Hydroponic Farm, 31305 Clay Gully Rd., Myakka City,  Spice Boys Sarasota-based food truck,, @spiceboyskitchen


Go on a global culinary journey to get over the hump and onto the better part of the week by mixing up the traditional American-style breakfast with some international specialties. 

Break up the workweek by mixing up the traditional status quo with some foreign favorites and riffs on the classics.   At Simon’s Coffee House, the owner’s British roots can be found throughout his extensive cafe menu blended with global cuisine and European recipes. From Big Ben Skillets—served sizzling hot with banger sausage, onions, mushrooms and home fries, sautéed together and topped with cheddar cheese and scrambled eggs to the Prince Phillip Plate—a Mediterranean spin on eggs scrambled with spinach, feta cheese and olives, served with sliced tomatoes and grilled spanakopita, Simon’s off-kilter menu items inspire you to spice up your every day with a culinary trip overseas. 

Right on the outskirts of downtown is a humble, underrated breakfast joint where you can find some authentic Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes. Warm the soul up with a steaming bowl of Shakshuka from Fresh Start Cafe. Enjoy soup-like spoonfuls of Israeli poached eggs in tomato sauce, served with grilled pita bread for dipping and a house-made schug (a fiery relish and a staple condiment in Israeli cuisine). Additionally, the Burekas come the traditional Israeli way—a flaky, fluffy pastry filled with salted cheese,  topped with a hardboiled egg, tomato and black pepper. 

Downtown Sarasota’s French cafe C’est La Vie has no shortage of galletes, especially of the savory variety. The Norvegienne comes filled and folded over with smoked salmon in a bell-pepper-tomato-onion sauce and goat cheese, while the Normande plays with flavors like caramelized onion sauce, Brie, apple and walnut. And down in Venice, a family-owned Grecian spot called Joy’s Kouzine satisfies an early A.M. sweet tooth, once the toothpaste flavor dissipates, of course. Among them is the Marie Antoinette— creamy Nutella, banana, strawberries, powdered sugar and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Dessert for breakfast never felt more right. 

Simon’s Coffee House, 5900 South Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-926-7151,, @simonscoffeehouse; Fresh Start Cafe, 630 South Orange Ave., Sarasota, 941-373-1242,, @fresh_start_cafe; C’est La Vie, 1553 Main St., Sarasota, 941-906-9575,; Joy’s Kouzine, Bird Bay Plaza, 539 US 41 Bypass North, Venice, 941-220-7294, @joyskouzine. Right: Atria Bread + Cafe, 4120 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, 941-751-1016,,; Glenn Family Market, 1979 Northgate Blvd., Sarasota, 941-275-6247,; Morton’s Gourmet Market, 1924 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-955-9856,, @mortonsgourmetmarket. 


No-Bake Granola Energy 'Bars, courtesy of Peak Performance & Zildjian Catering and homemade avocado toast with all the local fixings. Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.

Oops, you snoozed through your alarm(s) and don’t have time to stop anywhere before work. What can you make or grab quickly to give you enough energy and brain fuel to sustain you until lunchtime? 

Chef/Owner Alyson Zildjian of Zildjian Catering and Peak Performance Catering shares her personal recipe for peanut butter energy bars. The soft, chewy granola “bars” are a spin on the popular Clif Bar—but made with fresh, clean ingredients, and elevated with chia seeds and flax meal to fill the tummy and provide energy for hours. To make them is simple and they are finger-food compatible, so you can jump in the car and easily eat with one hand on the steering wheel sitting in A.M. traffic on 41. The key is in the prep the night before so you can grab them out of the fridge in the morning.

No-Bake Granola Energy Bites 


- 1 cup organic old-fashioned oats 

-½ cup shredded coconut, toasted

-½ cup organic peanut butter or nut butter of choice 

-1/3 cup local honey 

- 2 tbsp of chia seeds

-¼ cup sunflower seeds 

-¼ cup flax meal or flax seeds 

- ½ cup (optional) semisweet chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips 

-1 tsp vanilla pure extract 


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place oats on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes, or until they are slightly golden brown. Place the shredded coconut on a sheet pan and bake until golden brown. Keep an eye on the coconut so it doesn’t burn. Cool oats and coconut.

  2. Stir all other ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

  3. Once chilled, roll into balls or bars of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about one inch in diameter). Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week. 

  4. Yields about 20 to 24 balls or squares.

Zildjian’s peanut butter energy bars can also be found for sale at O&A Coffee and Supply, downtown Sarasota, or at and, 941-363-1709.

Fancy Up Your Avocado Toast

We’re nostalgic for the good old days when avocado toast was something novel—a little breakfast secret of sorts that felt newfangled and hip. Avocado toast these days, well, it’s gone mainstream, and we’ve gotten a bit lazy with stepping it up. But that doesn’t mean we should take it for granted. Make that next avocado toast count by simply stocking up the spice rack with some more seasonings, the condiment collection with a couple more hot sauces, and the produce drawer or fruit basket with a few new superfood ingredients. Then, you can suddenly turn your mundane snack of a green shmear and a pinch of salt into an extra-special slice of nutritious elements. It takes only a few extra seconds to sprinkle on a few elevated additives to make it more of a substantial meal and still make it in time to jump on your Zoom call. To have it all easily accessible at your beckoning hands, first be sure to fill the pantry up with all your key ingredients and pull those out while the bread gets toasty in the sauna. We always prefer locally farmed or sourced ingredients to incorporate from your specialty mom-and-pop stores or local grocers/markets.


Wonder Bread’s classic white bread may be back on the shelves in a surprising revival, but if you’re looking for a fresher loaf of artisanal bread—sans the extending shelf-life preservatives and unnecessary inclusion of sugar or artificial flavoring—make an extra errand run to the bakers who know best. With fresh-milled flour, sea salt and filtered water, Atria Bakery + Cafe in Lakewood Ranch offers different loaves—such as the soft and fluffy Hokkaido Milk Bread or the Rustic Loaf with a burnished, crispy crust and open crumb—to take home after being baked fresh every sunrise. Over in Hillview, in Morton’s little bakery section, head over to the metal rack to see what the day brings you—from Cranberry Walnut Sourdough and Rosemary Olive Focaccia to Parmesan Semolina and Black Forest Seeded Rye. Get in early to guarantee yourself every available base option for your avocado toast. And at Glenn Family Bakery, don’t feel guilty at all carbing up on the hand-kneaded, small-batch sprouted breads—including the Wheat/Power Protein loaf, packed with sprouted red winter wheat berries, garbanzo, mung and green lentil, or the nutty Italian Ancient Grain, infused with single-sourced Kamut berries, spelt and semolina.

Produce Picking

As stated in Tuesday’s synopsis, Yoder’s Produce Market and Detwiler’s are fantastic spots to grab fresh avocados, whole lemons, maybe some artisan-blend cherry tomatoes, D’Avignon radishes and broccoli microgreens. Your neighborhood’s weekend farmers market is also a good chance to gather the coming week’s provisions. Depending on your closest downtown market, look out for regional purveyors such as Blumenberry Farms, Honeyside Farms, Gamble Creek and Fresh Harvest Farm supplying the hyper-local and organic crops. If you can’t make it to the markets, don’t fret: You can find them at their designated farm stands or order your “veggies box” by signing up for their delivery options (which many offer through their website’s e-stores). 

Accoutrements + Toppings 

Eat your greens and supergreens from Simply Organix, where the local grower and market vendor has organic sprouts/shoots, super microgreens and even plant-based cheeses. Grab a dozen or so free-range, pastured eggs from Grove Ladder Farm. If you’re extra hungry, throw a sunnyside egg on top for added protein. Add sunflower and chia seeds, “everything” seasoning and dried mushrooms from Verona’s Gourmet Market newly-opened on St. Armands. Table the table salt and go the extra mile for some gourmet Gulf Coast sea salts. Florida Sea Salt makes the salty touch even more interesting with flavor profiles such as black truffle, lime-infused, horseradish and Sriracha. 

At Ancient Olive Gourmet Store on St. Armands, find a vast selection of organic extra virgin olive oils to use as a substitute for butter when toasting your bread. Artisan flavor options run rampant, including blood orange, Persian lime-infused, Tuscan herb and basil-infused. Scoop up a bottle of one, or both, of Morton’s Gourmet Market hot sauces: Hell’s Habanero and Good & Evil. Drizzle with discretion if you like a little, or a lot, of heat in the morning. Morton’s is also a great spot to grab some red pepper flakes, turmeric, garlic powder, chives, oregano and more flavor-enhancing dressings for your avo toast from its spice rack and shelf of fresh herbs.


These mornings call for chill, sit-down eateries before heading (maybe a little later than usual) into the office—wearing your casual Friday jeans. Whether you make it to happy hour later or not, your day at least has already started off in the right direction with some diner-like favorites and
twists on the classics. 

Celebrate TGIF by heading to a local favorite in downtown Bradenton. Sage Biscuit Cafe remains an easygoing joint with a variety of homemade dishes that include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, as well as more decadent items for the indulgent diner. Speaking of indulgent, scan the menu until you find the words Sage Biscuits & Gravy—a smattering of Chef Joe’s savory sausage gravy over the restaurant’s namesake, served with home-fry-style potatoes, cheesy grits or fruit. Meat lovers will love the Shrimp & Grits—topped with cheddar cheese and large shrimp, and sautéed with sugar-cured bacon, chopped tomatoes and scallions. All the while, vegans partake in a Tofu Scramble—a dish enveloped in sautéed vegetables and served with multigrain toast.  

Head south to Nokomis to check out the quaint modern diner setting at Max’s Table. Their generous stack of Belgian Waffles is topped with fresh berries and a house crème anglaise with a side of pure Vermont maple syrup to drizzle, dampen or drown the waffle pockets of your perfectly leavened grid pattern. For a lighter fix, the Garden Frittata comes as an open-faced egg white omelet with goat cheese, filled with all the backyard garden veggies (broccoli, fresh spinach, roasted cremini mushrooms, tomatoes and red onions), served with dressed greens and an English muffin. 

If you’ve got time to make it out to the Key before work, have yourself a sunny beverage and dish out on the patio of Sun Garden Cafe on Siesta, where the expansive menu pleases just about anyone who comes in for a morning meal. The Bikini Bagel comes out on a plate colorful and towering tall with wholesome ingredients, including sweet turkey sausage, avocado, dried figs, tomato and sprouts on a multigrain bagel with a basil pesto spread. For egg evangelists, the cafe plays around with flavors and the unexpected variations of the classics: Benedict and Omelet. Try the Cajun Benedict—sporting two poached eggs with blackened mahi-mahi, crawfish, Gulf shrimp and hollandaise on top—or the Med Revival omelet, with spinach, artichokes, feta and tomatoes, and fried to a glowy delight with a sun-dried-tomato-fused olive oil. 

Sage Biscuit Cafe, 1401 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton, 941-405-4744,, @sagebiscuitdowntown; Max’s Table, 115 South Tamiami Trl., Osprey, 941-220-7463,, @maxs_table; Sun Garden Cafe, 210 Avenida Madera, Sarasota, 941-346-7170,, @sungardensafe. 


Friday’s happy hour may have you waking up slightly hungover and fiending for a feast to soak up the previous night’s liquidation. Satiate your weekend weakness in an indulgent brunch downtown. These weekend watering holes off Main Street offer a hair of the dog Bloody Mary as well as generous bottomless mimosa deals. 

MADE restaurant has a menu for serious brunchers. All of the classics are amped up to 100, like their aptly named Pork on Pork on Pork Benedict—featuring smoked and roasted pork shoulder, Billionaire’s bacon, pepper milk sausage gravy and chipotle hollandaise. Their Huevos Rancheros also gets kicked up a notch with charred jalapeño pesto and whipped cream cheese guac. For a sugary, saccharine Saturday, order The Elvis—brioche French toast stuffed with caramelized banana, strawberry preserves, peanut butter, billionaire’s bacon and fried egg. This over-the-top plate is truly fit for a king.

Now for something savory, or perhaps lifesaving, Boca is serving up a sandwich cheekily dubbed The Hangover Panini. A kitchen-sink-type concoction of epic proportions, it features sausage and bacon, caramelized onions and scrambled eggs, and, to top it all off, Gruyère, potato hash and coffee-infused brown mustard. When managing a fork and knife proves too challenging after a big Friday night, Boca’s got you covered with the ultimate breakfast sammy. For an adventurous menu option not widely seen on brunch menus, go out on a limb and order the Staff Meal—an ingredient-driven chef’s creation with whatever is locally available at the time. Just order it. The chef says you’ll love it. 1592 Kitchen & Cocktails recently launched a weekend brunch, perfect for sharing amongst the table of your loved ones with salubrious, tapas-like spreads. If you’d rather keep it light and nutritious to save room for 1592’s different flavored mimosas, go with Greek Yogurt & Muesli—a beautiful bowl of oats, almond, coconut, sunflower seeds, dates, pomegranate seeds and orange slices, topped with pecan butter and Canadian maple syrup. If you just want to fill the hole in your stomach, and still have room for a boozy OJ, go all-in with the Lamb Burger—prime ground beef and lamb, enhanced with a hearty helping of baba ghanoush, feta, jalapeno, black garlic aioli, tomato and a fried egg.

MADE Restaurant, 1990 Main St. #112, Sarasota, 941-953-2900,, @made__srq; Boca, 19 South Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 941-256-3565,, @bocasarasota; 1592 Wood Fired Kitchen & Cocktails, 1592 Main St., Sarasota, 941-365-2234,, @1592kitchen.


Brunch should be easy, like Sunday morning. That’s why these bougie brunch spots hit the mark every time with elevated creations that raise the bar on breakfast staples. Indulge in a treat yo’self and treat-your-loved-ones type of brunch that satisfies the heart and soul as much as the stomach.  

End a long week by bringing high-end breakfast dishes to the table with as much style as flavor. Brunch is undeniably scrumptious but, for the indecisive, it can prove impossible. Two entire mealtime menus? The possibilities are frighteningly endless. Luckily, Shore has narrowed down the selection to a dozen delicious items. Sweet and savory, healthy or rich, there’s something for everyone. One table can easily hit all the right notes. An Acai Superfruit Bowl for the health-conscious diner. Lump Crab Cake “Benny” on a spinach English muffin served with smashed fingerlings for someone feeling classic but fancy. Or the Chicken N’ Waffle with spiced apple relish and tabasco honey for the eager glutton. 

An underrated truth of brunch food is that truly anything goes. Want a burger? Sure, throw a fried egg on top that will allow it for 10 a.m. The Brunch Burger at Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie does it right with an over-easy egg, cayenne spiced Vermont maple syrup, applewood smoked bacon, Gruyere, a certified Angus beef patty, and spread of honey chipotle aioli and a homemade potato cake on a kaiser roll. If you’re craving a campfire dessert for breakfast, Libby’s makes it possible with its mouth-watering S’Mores French Toast. Nutella, marshmallow fluff and brioche bread form an unholy trinity of decadence served alongside your choice of applewood smoked bacon or a homemade potato cake. 

Meanwhile, at State Street Eating House + Cocktails, house creations shake things up with elevated and healthful components in a rustic-chic presentation. The saporific Sweet Potato Pancakes come with a delightful dollop of goat cheese butter and are garnished with sliced almonds, fresh nutmeg, blueberries and honey. The Olive Oil Poached Egg Whites is an even better carb-counting option, accompanied by crispy and flavor-packed shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado and basil, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction. How loud is your stomach growling now?  SRQ

Shore , 800 Broadway St., Longboat Key, 941-259-4600; 465 John Ringling Blvd. #200, Sarasota, 941-296-0301,, @shorerestaurant; Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie, 8445 Lorraine Rd., Sarasota, 941-357-1570; 1917 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-487-7300,, @libbysbrasserie; State Street Eating House + Cocktails, 1533 State St., Sarasota, 941-951-1533,, @statestreetsrq