Best Breakfasts

Five Local Diners We Love

In a hurry? These old-school breakfast spots will get you in and out in a jiffy.

By Cooper Levey-Baker

Crager's Family Diner.

Image: Chad Spencer

Coffee Carousel

1644 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 365-2826
Coffee Carousel has been serving hungry downtowners since the 1960s, and its extraordinarily low prices make it one of the most affordable restaurants in the region, if not the continent. A basic two-egg breakfast costs just $3.75, and you can get a three-egg omelet for as little as $3.90. Just as enticing as the menu is the old-school diner ambiance. The laminate tables have wavy, curved edges, and the five-tops are shaped like stars. No wonder regulars line up as early as 6 a.m. to claim their favorite table.

Crager's Family Diner

7218 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 351-2166
You'll definitely encounter a wait on weekend mornings at this U.S. 41 restaurant, which has been serving up platters since 1976. Start your day with some puffy biscuits, thick slices of what the restaurant calls "Amish bacon," eggy combos or a generous plate of fried chicken. Little wonder so many people love to come here for an after-church meal or to recover from the party the night before.

The Serving Spoon

1825 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, (941) 388-7235,
The interior of this Southside Village mainstay includes a range of light-wood tables and booths, plus a long bar with seats that are perfect for individual diners. In addition to standards like pancakes, omelets and a very good Belgian waffle (crisp on the outside with a light and fluffy interior), you’ll also find hearty skillet combos, biscuits and gravy and fresh juices. Even if you’re a first-timer, the waitresses make you feel like you’ve been coming here since forever.

Silver Star East Restaurant

36251 State Road 70, Myakka City, (941) 322-8405,
Silver Star fans flipped out in 2019, when the longtime Sarasota restaurant on Lime Avenue closed its doors. But the Star quickly shone again, when it reopened farther east, in Myakka City. The restaurant is beloved for its chatty staff, who will recognize you after just a couple visits, as well as its all-American diner menu. Go for the skillet combos, the corned beef hash or (if you're really hungry) country fried steak and eggs.

Wee Blew Inn

590 U.S. 41 Bypass, Venice (941) 484-5616
This old-school spots pops out plates of eggs, corned beef hash and home fries in three minutes or less. The servers are as fast as the cooks, pouring coffee warmups before your brown mug is even half-empty and calling you “honey” when you walk in. The emphasis on speed means there are few frills on the menu. You’ll find eggy basics, plus French toast, short stacks and biscuits, at prices that start at just a few bucks. Sit at the bar that runs the length of the kitchen to watch the cooks cook and listen to the steady clack-clack of the spatula on the flattop and the hiss of sizzling potatoes.

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