Over the years, breakfast has taken on a grab-and-go mentality that can preclude diners from considering it “dining out.” Three local restaurateurs show how Cleveland’s reshaping the way the public views breakfast, brunch and lunch.

Don’t say a word

The regulars at Appetite Deli, Bakery and Catering in Lyndhurst rarely have to speak when they enter, able to silently convey their order to owners Will and Ben Davis.

“We have just certain customers that walk through the door and it’s automatic,” Will Davis said. “We give them their cup of coffee, they know exactly what to get and everyone’s happy.”

At its core, Appetite’s a casual hang out spot, Davis said.

“We feature a lot of fresh baked pastries, so if someone’s looking to have a nice pastry and a cup of coffee, get their morning in at a nice, leisurely pace, they can do that,” he said.

The deli’s most popular menu item, a “Popeye sandwich,” features a poached egg, breakfast sausage, spinach and pepper jack cheese, while the cinnamon roll stands tops among pastries.

“They’re here, they’re gone,” Davis said. “People are trying to find them all day.”

On the lighter side

One thing Anthony Quagliata, executive chef and manager at Alfredo’s at the Inn in Mayfield Village, doesn’t want diners to forget is the restaurant’s breakfast is open to the public seven days a week.

“It’s something that not a lot of people know about,” Quagliata said. “It’s very popular for a lot of our hotel guests, but more and more people in the neighborhoods are starting to come out and realize we’re here.”

Quagliata challenged the idea that breakfasts and lunches should be smaller meals.

“What a lot of people forget is that you’ve grown up knowing that you’re supposed to eat breakfast and lunch as your heavier meals and dinner supposed to be a lighter meal,” he said. “But when you eat a full breakfast or lunch, you can have a more moderate dinner and feel better.”

Alfredo’s staple menu items like veal parmigiana, pizzas and homemade soups use local herbs and ingredients and tend to sell the best, Quagliata said.

Down home cookin’

Diners looking for the best of both worlds are in luck: something called “brunch” exists.

“It’s just such a totally relaxing meal,” said Toby Heintzelman, operations manager at Washington Place Bistro & Inn in Cleveland and the Welshfield Inn in Troy Township. “There’s no pressure, there’s no hurry. You just get to sit and relax and take in your environment. It’s the perfect way to end a great weekend.”

Both Heintzelman’s restaurants offer a unique brunch experience for diners with afternoon hunger pangs.

Heintzelman categorized Washington Place Bistro, a restored mansion in Little Italy, as a more “urban experience,” good for its proximity to cultural events and University Circle museums.

“We do a lot of local farm-to-table type things,” Heintzelman said. “There’s a tremendous amount of cooking from scratch involved.”

The Welshfield Inn, a plantation-style home situated in a restored stage-coach stop, uses a 70-year-old cinnamon roll recipe and a trendier, chef-driven menu.

“If you’re looking to go for a nice Sunday drive, going out to the Welshfield is perfect,” Heintzelman said. “We use local maple syrup and ingredients from local farms in Geauga County region.”

Both venues share one quality.

“It is truly comfort food in a comfortable atmosphere,” he said. “But it’s at that fine dining level. It’s come as you are, relax and enjoy things that remind you of your youth and your family.”

mdefaveri@cjn.org

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