Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day. Too often, however, that vital first bite is limited to a rushed bowl of cereal or perhaps a cold slice of pizza out of the fridge (not that there’s anything wrong that).
In an effort to up your first meal game, the News-Press has created a guide to help you kick-off the day on the right foot. Yes, Falls Church has plenty of big chain options like Dunkin’ Donuts, Einstein Bros., IHOP and Panera, but here we’re focusing on the smaller establishments that are busy churning out early morning fare for you, all week long.
(All words and photos by Jody Fellows)
It’s perfectly acceptable to eat a doughnut or half-dozen for breakfast, but Astro does its best to take away some of that guilt by including chicken in the mix. Yeah, so what if it’s fried?
Located in Idylwood Plaza, the Falls Church doughnut and fried chicken joint serves up souped-up morning sandwiches until 11 a.m. during the week and until 3 p.m. on the weekend. Astro’s version of breakfast-between-a-bun pairs a hot, savory doughnut or cheddar biscuit with a crispy chunk of juicy fried chicken with the option of adding hot sauce and honey butter or sausage gravy. The best part? The ability to add a fried egg to any sandwich. It is breakfast after all.
Bonus: a French toast doughnut, egg-washed with milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, orange and lime zest, finished on a flat top and then topped with vanilla pastry cream and maple syrup, is available on the weekends.
Originally a Three Chef’s Pancake House when it opened more than 40 years ago alongside a Route 50 motel, Bentley’s has been a breakfast constant in Falls Church for the past 35 years.
The no-frills diner, now part of the Governor House Inn, is open bright and early at 6:30 in the morning during the week, slinging its early morning fare to regulars and first-timers.
At a whopping four pages, Bentley’s breakfast menu doesn’t miss much, filled with pancakes, blintzes, crepes, French toast, waffles, omelets and — the diner’s specialty — a double-digit lineup of eggs benedict.
For serious appetites, there’s a layered skillet outfitted with corned beef hash, Swiss cheese, two eggs, hash browns plus pancakes on the side. A meat lover’s version swaps out the corned beef and Swiss for ham, bacon, sausage and cheddar or a pair of meatless options loads up on the veggies instead.
And because it’s always five o’clock somewhere, Bentley’s has a selection of morning cocktails on tap for those wanting to kick it off early or just needing some hair of the dog.
The bustling Little City coffee shop by the East Falls Church Metro station is a commuter’s first-meal dream, churning out quick and tasty morning bites including parfaits, oatmeal and egg sandwiches during the workweek. But come Saturday and Sunday, Cafe Kindred breaks out the breakfast big guns.
Along with what owner Jennifer Demetrio calls the best breakfast sandwiches in Falls Church (“of course, I may be a little biased!,” she says), the shop serves up a full breakfast menu on weekends filled with both traditional and unique plates.
The menagerie of tables and chairs throughout the cafe are perpetually packed on Saturday and Sunday mornings here along with the fully-occupied back bar where families and singles alike happily munch away on dishes like berry brioche French toast, biscuits with sausage and gravy or a full English breakfast. There’s a croque madame, too, plus grilled tomato and avocado and homemade corned beef hash. At the counter, in-house baked scones and muffins sit alongside Nutella-drizzled croissants, where Demetrio and her husband, Gary O’Hanlon, can be found taking orders and hustling around the dining room, serving and clearing tables every weekend.
Cafe Kindred serves breakfast until around noon on Saturday and Sunday and during the week, breakfast sandwiches are available until 5 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and until noon on Sunday and Tuesday.
Stationed on the bottom floor of a medical building in Seven Corners, Fairfax Inn Restaurant is one of the D.C. area’s rare destinations for Filipino food. The small Falls Church diner has been around for more than 50 years but only began serving Filipino fare in 2008. Combining the cuisine of the Philippines with American diner staples, it’s the only place around where you can find a traditional Filipino breakfast alongside a stack of pancakes and homefries.
The breakfast dishes all follow the same basic blueprint: a meat served with two eggs, rice and pickled papaya. (Technically, there’s the option of white or garlic fried rice but the garlic rice is where it’s at.) Protein options include cured and marinated beef called tapa, a Filipino sausage known as longanisa, sweet pork tenderloin called tocino and milkfish, a traditional dish that can be ordered smoked or deep fried. There’s also a pair of Filipino-style omelets, too.
Most of the meats — the tapa, longanisa and tocino — fall on the more sweet than savory side and are complemented well by the eggs and rice.
For those wanting to keep it American, the diner also has all the typical greasy spoon dishes here, too: bacon, waffles, French toast, scrapple and more.
Note: You may have to ask for the Filipino menu (like we did) on your visit. Don’t let that dissuade you. Do it and order from it.
Since The Locker Room opened at the end of 2014, it’s been gradually expanding its operation at The Broadway in Falls Church. Last September it debuted a new game room with darts and pool tables and now the Falls Church sports bar is trying its hand at another new service: breakfast. On Monday through Friday, The Locker Room is going full-steam ahead with its morning meal, serving a full country breakfast menu from 7 – 11 a.m.
There are short and big stacks of pancakes, French toast, ham and eggs, steak and eggs, omelets and a breakfast burrito. The biscuits and gravy is a massive dish, ladling a generous helping of sausage gravy over two, split buttermilk biscuits surrounded by eggs and hashbrowns. And if sausage isn’t your thing, there’s a version with creamed chipped beef, too. For a breakfast sampler of sorts, the Big Locker Room option puts pancakes, eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage and toast all together on one plate.
On Sundays, the sports bar switches gears for brunch which offers much of the same dishes along with a Bloody Mary bar.
Note: The Locker Room does not serve breakfast on Saturday.
Known more for its lineup of sandwiches and ice cream, Mike’s Deli at Lazy Sundae also has a full breakfast menu that it serves from open to close. While it’s hard to pass up the Dixie Chicken, Mambo Combo or the corned beef-and-pastrami-loaded Brooklyn Bridge, the breakfast burritos, banana pancakes and housemade corned beef hash here make it a little easier.
Mike’s Deli has just about everything — French toast, omelets, bagels, breakfast sandwiches — but owner David Tax says his go-to favorite is the corned beef hash with two eggs over medium and dark rye toast. As for the rest of the world, Tax tells us the Belly Buster is one of the most popular options. Packing a toasted sub roll with the holy trinity of breakfast meats — ham, bacon and sausage — plus cheese and eggs, we can totally see why.
For those still wary of venturing away from the deli’s rest-of-the-day sandwiches or burgers, there’s nothing wrong with ordering one with a side of pancakes or hash browns. We won’t judge.
The Original Pancake House was a Falls Church institution for years before moving outside City limits in 2010. While it no longer can claim The Little City proper as its home, the seasoned vet of the breakfast scene is still a favorite for those both outside and inside the City at its location in The Shops at West Falls Church.
With a tome-like menu filled with just about anything a belly could crave in the morning, the Pancake House serves a potpourri of pancake stacks (15 different kinds), crepes (14 types), waffles (nine options), omelets, French toast plus specialties like a Dutch baby, a sautéed apple-cinnamon-and-sugar-smothered apple pancake and avocado toast. A section of the menu dubbed “Creations from Our Grandchildren” does its best to satisfy diners’ daily caloric requirements all in one sitting with options including peanut butter cup, M&M and s’mores pancakes and an ice cream-topped waffle sundae.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, gluten-free pancakes are available and a senior menu offers smaller portions of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
Taco Bamba’s overstuffed tacos have a fervent following but the love isn’t restricted to its carnitas or al pastor. The taqueria tucked into the corner of Falls Church’s Pimmit Shopping Center has an all-day breakfast lineup which puts first-meal spins on some of its menu favorites.
Breakfast enchiladas are filled with beans, rice, cheese and eggs, a tinga tostada mixes pinto beans, chicken tinga, cheese and fried egg together on a tortilla and chilaquiles combine crema, beans, avocado and crispy tortillas.
The most popular options of the bunch, though, are the classic Mexican dish huevos rancheros, with black beans, two fried eggs and ranchera sauce, and an overflowing breakfast taco cramming chorizo, eggs, crema, guacamole and pico de gallo inside a just-barely big enough tortilla. At only four bucks, there’s a temptation to order two but with tacos this size, that’ll probably mean skipping lunch.