As luck would have it, Lunch Lady's favorite meal is, in fact, breakfast. This cruel twist of fate has unfortunately led to some problems in Jackson, where she has not been able to find the wealth of omelets, pancakes and French toast that her previous hometowns had readily available. As a result, several breakfasts have passed by unnoticed. Going to large, national chains and settling for uncreative representations of these favorite treats—plain buttermilk pancakes with dry scrambled eggs and various permutations of pork renderings—are hardly the breakfast inspiration Lunch Lady thought she'd find when she moved down South two years ago.
Where are the seemingly seedy diners with the surprise feats of culinary excellence? Where are the elaborate brunches with eggs served so many ways your head explodes?
In fairness, Jackson has á la carte breakfast and fancy brunch down to a science. And it's not that there is nowhere for breakfast, of course—you can always find something that suits your needs in Jackson. But this is my plea: Open Lunch Lady a straight-up diner, won't you? Pretty please? There is something to be said for sitting in a ratty booth and being served coffee (that may or may not have cigarette remnants in it) and having your pick of the endless combinations of bread products, eggs and meats that so exemplify breakfast in Lunch Lady's mind.
Now, on to what we do have. If you're in a rush or looking to entertain visiting houseguests at home, several takeout places have got you covered. For something sweet, Pillow Doughnuts (5036 Parkway Dr., 601-572-8332) is the way to go. Lunch Lady favorites include Bavarian cream and French crullers.
For something hearty, swing by Beagle Bagel (898 Avery Blvd., Ridgeland, 601-956-1773) for one or many of their seemingly endless varieties of bagels (plain, garlic, sesame, poppy seed, everything, onion, salt, pumpernickel, Black Russian, cinnamon raisin, blueberry blitz, sun dried tomato, chocolate chip, sourdough, honey whole wheat, seven grain, cheddar, oh my!). You'll thrill your taste buds further with one of their flavored cream cheeses. There are a number of other pastries to pick up as well.
Every good Jacksonian knows you can't beat Primo's (2323 Lakeland Dr., Flowood, 601-936-3398 and 515 Lake Harbour Dr., Ridgeland, 601-898-3600) for biscuits—either plain or with your preferred combination of egg, sausage, bacon and/or gravy. But as usual, Broad Street Bakery (I-55 North and Northside Dr., 601-362-2900) can't be beat for your other carb needs. Pick up a fresh loaf of sourdough for toast, or if you're early enough, get yourself a breakfast burrito and some grits. Basil's new Belhaven location (940B E. Fortification St., 601-352-2002) offers a continental breakfast, complete with coffee, fresh fruit and baked goods. (They also have a wicked chicken parmesan if you prefer dinner.)
Caffeine hounds find their way to Cups (multiple locations) for an espresso or coffee fix, not to mention some entertainment from the baristas. They also offer some breakfast options for those who need something more solid. The yogurt parfaits have fresh fruit, the energy bars will get you kicking bright and early, and the muffins sweeten your morning.
For a sit-down meal, you'll need to switch gears to brunch. Julep (1305 E. Northside Dr., 601-362-1411) is probably closest to the traditional breakfast Lunch Lady is seeking. Strawberry chocolate chip pancakes are hard to disagree with, and the beignets offer the perfect complement to a savory breakfast sandwich of smoked sausage, scrambled egg, onions and cheese. One fellow breakfast-lover recommends the double-wide breakfast as your all-purpose hangover cure, even going so far as to suggest Schimmel's (2615 N. State St., 601-981-7077) should have some sort of sleepover program through which they bus you to Julep after your long night out. Not a bad idea. Other local favorites are Char (4500 I-55 N. #142, 601-956-9562), the Edison Walthall Hotel (225 E. Capitol St., 601-948-6161) and Bravo (500 I-55 N. #244, 601-982-8111), but Lunch Lady finds those to be less specifically breakfast-oriented.
But more traditional, all-American fare is harder to find. A recent serendipitous trip to the Farmers Market Grill (929 High St., 601-944-0024) was a sign of hope. For $5.08, tax included, hungry market-goers can get grits, a biscuit, eggs cooked up to order right in front of your eyes, bacon or sausage, and coffee and a drink. Too good to be true? It sounds that way, but this is for real. If you have a late night tonight, you'll want to take advantage of this super deal tomorrow morning (or perhaps early afternoon). The market is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you're reading this and can't believe Lunch Lady has overlooked the "such and such" marvelous brunch/breakfast restaurant, please write to [e-mail missing] and set the record straight.
Awkward situation in which I left out the very breakfast that sparked the inspiration for this article. Que Sera 2 on Lakeland recently started serving daily breakfast in addition to their original brunch menu.
Sorry for the omission--crazy things happen when Lunch Lady gets in to her first choice law school five hours before deadline :-)