A smörgåsbord of better breakfast joints in metro Detroit

The most important meal

Angelo's | 1100 E. Catherine St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-8996; angelosa2.com: Plenty of stuff for egg-heads to try here, including eggs Benedict, Florentine, lox Benedict and a standard three-egg breakfast plate with bacon, sausage, ham, breakfast potatoes and homemade toast. Omelets include their standard (comes stuffed with your choice of four items), the lox omelet, the farmer's (green pepper, onion, ham, potato), Mexican (chili with beef, cheddar, onion, sour cream and salsa) and more.

Beverly Hills Grill | 31471 Southfield Rd., Beverly Hills; 248-642-2355; beverlyhillsgrill.com: For Sunday brunch, be prepared to wait at the bar for as long as a mimosa or two. But once you get your seat, you can choose from a half-dozen scrambles, omelets and frittatas.

Breakfast Club | 30600 John R, Madison Heights; 248-307-9090; 38467 W. 10 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-473-0714; see website for Madison Heights and Commerce locations; thebreakfastclubrestaurant.com: This eatery is proud of its specialty breakfasts, with a third of its menu devoted to some pretty swanky egg-centric dishes. For the unadventurous egg lover the Breakfast Club menu offers "Just Your Regular Breakfast" which allows customers to order "Two Eggs Your Way" for $6.95. It gets grander from there, with eggs with steak, or atop pancakes, or even on top of layers of hash browns, caramelized onions and melted cheese.

Café Muse | 418 S. Washington, Royal Oak; 248-544-4749; cafemuseroyaloak.com: The "scrambles" at Café Muse are alive with fresh flavors. And the upscale ingredients — such as ammoglio, crushed garlic, basil and tomatoes — make for a breakfast that impresses.

Café Zola | 112 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2020; cafezola.com: A coffeehouse in the European tradition, Café Zola is a place for gathering, eating and enjoying coffee, espresso, hand-selected teas, and sweet and savory crepes made fresh, one at a time, and served hot and delicious. Or you can enjoy organic egg omelets, luscious house-made biscotti, Belgian waffles, market-fresh salads and sandwiches, and Turkish-inspired specialties.

The Clique | 1326 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-259-0922: Attached to a Jefferson Avenue motel, the Clique is actually a pretty cool little diner, with that added bit of character that makes it better than other greasy spoon joints, especially during breakfast, when a diverse crowd fills the room.

Duly's Place | 5458 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-554-3076: The little eatery with a big following of late-night spouse-soppers also draws an early-morning crowd. Enjoy everything from the normal egg-fest to a scramble with jalapeño peppers.

Fleetwood Diner | 300 S. Ashley, Ann Arbor; 734-995-5502; thefleetwooddiner.com: The only 24-hour diner in downtown Ann Arbor, this is genuine greasy spoon eating. The Fleetwood looks like a small trailer propped atop the hill at Ashley and Liberty, packing in cheap-breakfast seekers on a dozen bar stools and at a handful of tables.

The Fly Trap | 22950 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-399-5150; theflytrapferndale.com: Thick cut ham. Eggs cooked to order (it's surprising how difficult that can be for most places). Friendly, competent, and efficient service (a surprisingly difficult trifecta of traits to come by). Quality ingredients. Sure, they have the high-end options too, and lots of them (gingerbread waffles, red flannel hash featuring beef brisket and beets, for instance), but if a spot can't do ham and eggs right, how good can the rest of the menu be? This place rocks it all out, from the basic to the fancy, in an atmosphere that's comforting no matter what your morning mood might be. 

Frittata | 236 S. Main St., Clawson; 248-280-2552: Named after the omelet's Italian cousin, Frittata has creative dishes without the noisy kids or fried food odors. Their knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff serves frittatas that stimulate both the tongue and mind.

Gest Omelettes | 25906 Plymouth Rd. Redford; 313-937-3540; gest-omelettes.com: Over a decade in the omelet game means you're doing something right. Choose from omelets like the Coney Island (dogs and chili), Popeye's Favorite (with spinach) or the Greek-influenced "Opa!" Or select from the create-your-own options of 14 meats, 14 vegetables, eight cheeses, seven sauces and such extras as black olives, chili and shrimp. Open 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. every day.

Granma's House of Pancakes | 17275 E. Nine Mile Rd., Eastpointe; 586-445-6100; granmashouseofpancakes.com: Granma's offers 14 kinds of crepes, ranging from classic strawberry to hearty spinach-and-Monterey with hollandaise sauce. Also features five choices of blintz and multiple egg specials that come with a choice of sides. For omelet lovers there are 13. If your breakfast partners eschew the egg, they can choose from 11 varieties of pancake.

The Ham Shop | 330 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-965-0088: This downtown greasy spoon serves ham everything: ham sandwiches, ham omelets, and on the list goes. Part of the place's reputation comes from the talk about their ham and cheese omelets, which were described to us as being "the size of a hubcap."

Hamtramck Coney Island | 9741 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck; 313-873-4569: This classic coney island may not look like much, and the coffee comes in polystyrene cups, but we keep coming back for the irresistible hash browns. Ever notice how hash browns, even ordered well-done, are often a shell of crackly flash-frozen potato wrapped around a mealy center with a limp, dry consistency? Not at Hamtramck Coney Island. Their hash browns are buttery, rich, and need no ketchup at all. You're welcome.

Harvard Grille | 16624 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-882-9090: You can create your own omelet here, piling items on until you've created a 2,000-calorie breakfast bomb. Or, you can choose from the usual omelets. One interesting choice is the Irish omelet, with corned beef (natch), green pepper, onion and Swiss cheese. All omelets come with hash browns and toast. Open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.

Martin's Famous Ham & Corned Beef Deli | 21515 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe; 586-773-2500: You may know Martin's from the old location in Center Line, but it's under new ownership and doing a bang-up business in Eastpointe, serving some of the most gut-pleasing breakfasts, corned beef or no, in the county.

Mae's | 24060 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge; 248-548-5355; maesdetroit.com: If Mae's feels like a classic, it's because it is, with a bit of an update. Vintage wooden soda crates and a milkshake mixer lay amid the shelves of kitchen tools and foodstuffs. Go inexpensive with a simple fried egg and cheese sandwich on your choice of a half-dozen styles of bread baked at Detroit's Avalon Bakery. Go gourmet with a worthwhile eggs Benedict complete with spinach, bacon and tomatoes on baguette.

Mimi's Bistro | 15318 Jefferson Ave., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-922-4085: French press table service and breakfast biscuit sandwiches beckon, with three kinds of pesto to choose from, plus homemade veggie patties made with zucchini and mint.

Omelette & Waffle Café | 580 Forest Ave., Plymouth; 734-454-6510: Don't entrust your breakfast to people who only do it part time. O&W's slogan? "Breakfast is our specialty!" Expect fluffy omelets with thick chunks of the good stuff you desire, as well as a full breakfast menu that ensures you'll receive maximum satisfaction from the "most important meal of the day."

The Original Pancake House | 33703 S. Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-642-5775; 20273 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods; 313-884-4144; 19355 W. 10 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-357-3399; originalpancakehouse.com: OHOP bakes its omelets, which makes them extra fluffy. Expect large portions that fill up the entire plate. The "Spanish Omelet" is a specialty direct from Barcelona, filled with fresh mushrooms and smothered in a tangy sauce. A favorite is the spinach-and-cheese omelet, which comes with mushroom sherry sauce. If you are more interested in going the crepe route, try the Continental, a sour cream-filled treat that is especially delectable when smothered in generous drippings of maple syrup.

The Potato Place Restaurant and Bakery | 107 W. Warren, Detroit; 313-833-8948: Now in its 24th year, the Potato Place has a casual menu centered around stuffed backed potatoes, but rounded out with soups, salads, sandwiches, subs, ice cream, and such baked goods as brownies and cakes made on-premises.

Rose's Fine Food | 10551 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-309-7947: Rose's is a breakfast-and-lunch-only joint, and the menu is as tiny as the space itself. The menu feels personal; a selection of the foods they enjoy preparing and eating, rather than the same old diner standbys. This results in some unexpected but delicious combinations, such as sides of garlicky beans with breakfast, or a lamb meatball sandwich with marinara for lunch.

Toast Birmingham | 203 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-258-6278: The hype is true: Toast serves great food and wine "with humor in a fun, casual environment." The menu is a mix of such firm favorites as burgers and mac & cheese (with tillamook cheddar and manchego cheeses) and less-common options.

Whistle Stop | 501 S. Eton St., Birmingham; 248-647-5588: The Whistle Stop's menu is full of classics: Cheese and meat omelets, giant meat-and-egg plates, and pancakes with fruit. Cinnamon French toast — sounds like a winner. The lunch items are equally traditional. Weekend breakfast specials, served all day, are a tad more adventurous. — mt

See any inaccuracies in these listings? Let us know. Call 313-202-8043 or email [email protected].

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