Ah, breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, and not just because of the possibility of mimosas and pancakes. If you’ve got a hankering for that early morning good stuff, here are 15 places for brunch or breakfast in Arlington (in no particular order) that are worth checking out:
ONE: Marquez Bakery
1730 E Division Street—East Arlington
Don’t be fooled by this unassuming little Mexican eatery near AT&T Stadium—it’s home to some of the tastiest (and spiciest) breakfast fare in town, not to mention Marquez’s famous homemade cakes. Menu items to try: Menudo (a traditional Mexican beef stew) or huevos rancheros (a Mexican egg dish). And don’t forget about those cakes!
TWO: Kalo's Chicken N Waffles (UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED)
2280 N Collins — Arlington Entertainment District
What's better than southern fried chicken in Texas? Fried chicken flanked with waffles, then drenched in syrup of course. Save room for Sweet Potato Pie afterwards! Menu items to try: Don't miss the "I Got 5 on It," which is their limited time chicken & waffles special for $5.
THREE: Division Street Diner
1800 W Division Street—West Arlington
Known for its dive-y atmosphere, friendly staff, and homemade pies, Division Street Diner is a longstanding favorite for generations of Arlington breakfast lovers. Menu items to try: The omelets and the diner’s big ol’ Sunday brunch.
FOUR: F1RST at The Hilton Arlington
2401 E Lamar Blvd—Arlington Entertainment District
Cheerful and spacious, F1RST is a great choice for anyone who wants to take their time over a satisfying breakfast buffet; plus, the restaurant’s quiet but convenient location makes it an ideal spot for breakfast meetings or knocking out a bit of work. Menu items to try: The scrambled eggs on the buffet—they’re delish and plentiful.
FIVE: Blue Mesa Southwest Grill (UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED)
550 Lincoln Square—Arlington Entertainment District
The epic Blue Mesa brunch is so legendary that it almost seems too obvious to include on a list of breakfast and brunch spots in Arlington—and yet if we didn’t, this wouldn’t be a very good list of breakfast and brunch spots in Arlington. Menu items to try: Be sure and cruise by the salad station, street taco station, and omelet bar; plus you’ll want to check out the Belgian waffles, migas, sausage, blue corn enchiladas, fresh guac, and Mexican cheesecake. Arrive early…and hungry.
SIX: Jay Jay Café
1001 S Bowen Road—West Central Arlington/Pantego
If you like joints that remind you of Grandma’s kitchen and wait staff and regulars who call each other by name, you’re probably gonna love the hometown diner-dive vibe at Jay Jay Café. Menu items to try: Anything with “pie” in the name—especially if it’s cherry, lemon, or key lime.
SEVEN: Rio Mambo
2150 E Lamar Blvd—Arlington Entertainment District
6407 S Cooper—South Arlington
A lively, contemporary atmosphere and a robust menu of Tex-Mex classics highlight the weekend brunch at Rio Mambo. Menu items to try: The Mambo King Brunch (a four-parter that starts with a mimosa and ends with cinnamon rolls or a sopapilla); the fajita-and-egg combo, or the Mexican omelet.
EIGHT: Daddy Buelo’s
2247 S Cooper—South Central Arlington
If there are yummier breakfast tacos that the San Antonio-styled gems served up at Daddy Buelo’s, we sure haven’t found ‘em yet. Make sure you try them with plenty of Daddy Buelo’s super-addictive, not-for-the-faint-of-heart salsa. Other menu items to check out: Buelo’s fideo con pollo (chicken noodle soup) or picadillo (beef stew).
Update: Sadly, Daddy Buelo has decided to retire since we published this article. We wish him well!
NINE: restaurant506 at The Sanford House
506 N Center Street—Downtown Arlington
When you’ve got a special occasion or just feel like puttin’ on your fancy pants, you can’t go wrong with the elegant weekend brunch at restaurant506—and as long as you’re there, why not make your day extra awesome by booking an afternoon of spa treatments? Menu items to try: Crab Cake Benedict (pecan-crusted crab cakes topped with sautéed spinach and poached eggs, plus classic hollandaise); and the French506 (pineapple-infused vodka with citrus juices, topped with champagne).
TEN: Rise & Shine
1815 W Pioneer Parkway—West Arlington
Another great hole-in-the-wall that’s routinely filled with regulars who don’t need a menu and servers who have seen a thing or two. Menu item to try: the Biscuit Debris, a plate of biscuits and gravy topped with all kinds of good stuff.
ELEVEN: Jrs Grill
2406 W Park Row—West Central Arlington/Pantego
West Arlington seems to be the regional headquarters for charming small-town diners, and Jrs Grill (Junior’s Grill) is no exception. Menu items to try: The omelet, chicken fried steak, onion rings, and the Cheeseburger.
TWELVE: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
1251 N Watson Road—North Arlington (near the Entertainment District)
4300 S Bowen Road—South Arlington
We normally stick to indie restaurants when we’re profiling great places to eat in Arlington, but the down-home menu at this popular comfort food chain is just too good not to include. Plus, you can shop at the Cracker Barrel store while you wait for your table—how fun is that? Menu items to try: The pancakes, hash brown casserole, fried apples or anything billed “Chicken Fried.”
THIRTEEN: Shipley Do-Nuts
501 E Abram—Downtown Arlington (near UTA)
2524 W Park Row—West Arlington
Doughnuts count as brunch right? Well, if they don’t, that would be a shame. What can you say about Shipley, home of some of the absolute yummiest doughnuts around, served up with plenty of hot coffee and cold milk in a smalltown doughnut shop setting? How about, “How early do you open?” Menu items to try: Anything glazed, cherry, cream-filled, kolache…well, you get the idea.
FOURTEEN: Oldwest Café
4650 Little Road—Southwest Arlington
As one online reviewer describes it: “If you have memories of great family get- togethers with lots of food, you’ll feel right at home at Oldwest.” Arrive early, especially on the weekends. Menu items to try: the Cattle Baron, an English muffin layered with grilled spinach and tomato, sliced bacon, two eggs your way, and hollandaise sauce.
FIFTEEN: Mac’s Bar & Grill
6077 I-20 Frontage—Southwest Arlington
No doubt about it, the Sunday brunch at this upscale chophouse is among Arlington’s favorite culinary traditions. Arrive early and enjoy a Bloody Mary while you wait for your table—you’re bound to see an old friend or make a new one Mac’s bar. Menu items to try: Mac’s famous house salad and hot cinnamon rolls, of course!