Best Breakfasts: South

Check out the palate-pleasing plates these South Jersey restaurants are serving up.

Can’t Talk Now: Shut Up and Eat! keeps jaws flapping with Fresh Fruit Pancakes.
Photo by Jason Varney

Amy’s Omelette House, Burlington
This most atmospheric of the three Amy’s locations has an early 1900s dining car joined to a big room decorated with old farm posters and food tins. Justifying its name, Amy’s offers 220 omelets with colorful titles. To simplify matters, you order by number. There’s also chicken and waffles ($9.50) and much else, including an 11-item kids’ menu. 637 High St, 609-386-4800—Tara Nurin

Angelo’s, Glassboro

Glassboro has gotten a lift from the construction involving Rowan University. Angelo’s, once a beloved local dive, is now a clean and canopied place for scholarly types as well. Breakfast is very South Jersey, with creamed chipped beef and scrapple offered with eggs, on sandwiches or as sides. Prices are still 20th century: Three griddle cakes with meat are $4.55, a mushroom omelet is $5.50. All this and two sizes of fresh chocolate milk ($1.70, $2.10). 26 North Main St, 856-881-9854—Robert Strauss

The Bistro at Haddonfield, Haddonfield
The Corner Bistro, as some still call it after a 2013 name change, appeals to the upscale tastes of the Kings Highway cognoscenti. You can get pumpkin-chocolate-chip pancakes with pumpkin-spice whipped cream ($8.49), a Creole omelet with Andouille sausage, shrimp, pico de gallo, cheddar, Monterey Jack and home fries ($10.99, coffee included), even a side of très chic pork belly—braised, marinated and crisped ($4.49). Or build your own omelet ($5.79). 57 East Kings Hwy, 856-354-8702—RS

Blueplate, Mullica Hill

Farmland around the 300-year-old village is being gobbled up, but Main Street retains much of its charm. Cozy and unrushed, Blueplate is charm central. Omelets with toast and home fries range from $5.99 to $7.75. Creamed chipped beef comes in three versions, and scrapple and pork roll are always on the menu. In a nod to the nouveau, there’s a bacon, egg and cheese quesadilla with salsa, sour cream and home fries. It’ll set you back an old-fashioned $7.25. 47 South Main St, 856-478-2112—RS

Cowtown Restaurant, Pilesgrove

Lasso some chow at this shack at the legendary Cowtown Rodeo. Tuck into the Cowboy Skillet (three eggs, home fries, cheddar sauce, bacon, $7.25) or the No Carb Special (three eggs, two meats, sautéed peppers, cheddar sauce, $6.49). If those sound skimpy, you want the Farmer Belly Buster (four eggs, sausage, potato, red onion, $7.49). Take a few sticky buns back to the ranch, ($4.75). 780 Harding Hwy (Rte 40), 856-275-3528—RS

George’s Place, Cape May
Using “Papa George’s” ageless 1968 recipe, son-in-law John Karapanagiotis cooks up only so much creamed chipped beef every morning. He doesn’t want it sitting around getting gummy, so when he runs out, it’s come back tomorrow. For the 45 years George’s has occupied its sliver of space on a corner facing the ocean, people have come for tiramisu waffles, smoked-salmon scrambles and limoncello French toast as well as the chipped beef. And they keep coming—despite summertime lines out the door and only 10 booths. 301 Beach Ave, 609-884-6088—TN

Gilchrist Restaurant, Atlantic City

Three years ago, Denise Stamat reopened the restaurant that her family, the Gilchrists, opened in 1946 and closed, its building in disrepair, in 2007. The new Gilchrist, in historic Gardiner’s Basin, seats 100 on a waterside deck. In winter, patrons wait patiently for one of the 40 indoor seats. Their rewards include blueberry pancakes ($6.25), crab omelets, chipped beef and fried bologna sandwiches. 804 North Rhode Island Ave, 609-965-3433—TN

Jim’s Lunch, Millville

On its 90th anniversary in October, a line formed at 6 am for Jim’s specialty, the hamburg. Think of them as sliders, but don’t use that word here. Slathered with a spicy house sauce, hamburgs are $2.75 each, and people do eat them for breakfast. In fact, local hero Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels has been known to order six at a time. Open only Columbus Day through Memorial Day, Jim’s also serves familiar fare like the Millbillie, an omelet with onions, peppers and potatoes ($4.95). The guy on the next stool has likely been having breakfast here since boyhood. If you forget, he’ll remind you it’s cash only. 105 East Main St, 856-327-1299—RS

The Mad Batter, Cape May

When he opened the Mad Batter in 1976 in the Carroll Villa Hotel, Harry Kulkowitz put a Cheshire Cat grin on the then-staid food scene. Mark Kulkowitz, Harry’s son, and his wife, Pam Huber, have kept the fanciful spirit alive, adding a liquor license a decade ago, hanging works by local artists, and turning out proven favorites like Harry’s Original Oatmeal Pancakes, the crabmeat-packed Chesapeake Bay Benedict and the crabmeat-packed (yes, you detect a pattern) Morgan Rostie omelet. Nowadays, one of the couple’s children pitches in as a manager. 19 Jackson St, 609-884-5970—TN

Michael’s, Pennsville

Half hacienda, with red roof, half Greek temple, with Ionic columns, Michael’s sits a few miles east of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The menu juxtaposes “heart healthy choices” like the Nurse’s Favorite (egg whites, spinach, tomato, garlic and a scoop of cottage cheese, $7.89) with heart-quivering eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon and home fries ($7.29) or the Breakfast Super Special (two eggs, French toast or pancakes, creamed chipped beef over English muffin, sausage and bacon, $8.99). Grab a dozen homemade pizzelles ($4) to go. 719 South Bdwy, 856-935-1855—RS

The Pop Shop, Collingswood

This kid-centric romper room has three different children’s menus, divided by age, plus take-home balloons and free breakfast for kids who show up in PJs on Saturdays. An old-fashioned soda fountain gives tykes incentive to finish their “serious” food, if you can consider Oreo pancakes ($7.59) serious. Virtuous vegetarian, vegan and celiac-friendly gluten-free options are clearly labeled, and everything is prepared from scratch. 729 Haddon Ave, 856-869-0111—TN

Shea’s, Galloway
Owners Wendy Hewitt-Vazquez and Louis Vazquez are nurturing types. If you’re a bit out of sorts, they’ll likely soothe you with comforting words and a prompt cup of coffee or tea. The husband and wife are casino and concession industry veterans. “Mrs. Momma,” as Hewitt-Vazquez calls herself, concocts playful dishes like cinnamon swirl pancakes ($6.95-$8.95), pumpkin cheesecake flapjacks ($7.45-$9.45), almond-amaretto-stuffed French toast ($8.45) and others she swears appear in her dreams. Word-of-mouth draws tourists, casino workers, retirees and Stockton College students to Shea’s. As a result, there can be long waits outside the strip-mall storefront. The 56-seater has carpet, bare wooden tables and chairs, knickknacks and a mural depicting a train depot that occupied the site in Victorian times. What’s important about Shea’s are the large portions of fresh, delicious food and the owner’s genuine hospitality. 195 S. New York Road; (609) 748-7000—TN

Shut Up and Eat!, Toms River

Silence isn’t golden here. It isn’t even possible, given owner Annie Gauthier’s brand of wall-to-wall hokey fun. Waitresses strut around in goofy pajamas, a life-sized plastic skeleton bends over the keys of a dingy upright piano, and bulbous old television sets loop ’70s family sitcoms. There’s a well-stocked toy corner to keep restless tykes occupied, and every inch of wall and ceiling is covered with enough treasures to stock a flea market in perpetuity. The too-much-ain’t-enough theme extends to the food, which turns out to be a good thing. You can have your French toast stuffed with chocolate-chip cream cheese, peanut butter or Nutella. Indulgent, yes, but all French toasts ($8.97), and just about everything else, come with fresh fruit. Customize your omelet from a list of more than 30 fillings, or go ethnic with blintzes or Passover-style matzo brei any day of the year. Dress the family in pajamas and Gauthier shaves 13 percent off your bill. 804 Main St, 732-349-4544—TN

The Turning Point
Kirk Ruoff created the first Turning Point in Little Silver in 1998. Now there are eight (with a ninth, Sea Girt, opening soon). All share the same clean, airy look and classic menu, with a Theresa’s Good For You section featuring oatmeal and egg-white dishes with veggies or fresh fruit. Order coffee and you get an entire carafe to refill at will. Little Silver, Holmdel, Manalapan, Long Branch, Hoboken, Westfield, Brick, Marlton, Sea Girt—Lauren Barbagallo

Uncle Will’s Pancake House, Beach Haven

This 60-year-old, home-style LBI landmark is known for its buckwheat, blueberry and potato pancakes, but where would it be without Uncle Will? A 2-1/2-foot-tall ceramic pig munching a pancake, he is ceremoniously wheeled through the dining room, pausing for pictures with patrons. After Hurricane Sandy, Will’s Facebook fans fretted that he was swept out to sea, but the porcine mascot was finally found floating in the kitchen. 3 South Bay Ave, 609-492-2514—TN

Verna’s Flight Line, Millville

A military aviation training center during WWII, what is now Millville Executive Airport attracts visitors to its Army Air Field Museum. Stop by the Flight Line for Verna Herman’s crisp scrapple and creamy grits in breakfast platters from $2.25 to $7.95. The food is served on old-fashioned heavy plates and is placed in front of you with a comforting thunk. 302 Beacon St, 856-825-3200—BY

Click the links below to view the rest of our Best Breakfasts package.

Best Breakfasts: North

Best Breakfasts: Central

Big Rig Breakfasts

Artisanal Scrapple?

Read more Eat & Drink articles.

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