Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if you’re trying to work through a weekend hangover. The overlooked morning mainstay meal is often taken for granted, so I skipped the snooze button and set out to find the best spots to butter your biscuits each morning. Wake up and smell the bacon because these are the three best bets for breakfast in McAllen.
Country Omelette – 3420 N. 10th Street
The Country Omelette is a breakfast perennial, serving diner classics since 1975 all day, every day. No seriously, it’s open 7 days a week and dishes out classic breakfast comfort food all day long. From the truly American omelet with ham, cheese and green peppers to the more non-traditional Greek omelet stuffed with feta cheese, tomato, black olives, onions and bell peppers, Country Omelette has your folded egg favorites filled to perfection.
Winter Texans are regulars, and despite its namesake, our seasonal guest’s favorite menu item is the Biscuits and Gravy. Fresh made biscuits, sliced in half, buttered and grilled to perfection topped with homemade sausage gravy steal the show at this local hot spot. In its 40-year history, ownership has changed a few times and most recently it relocated north on 10th Street, but the secret lies in its staff. From front-of-house servers to the unsung kitchen heroes, staffers have spent decades with this morning eatery, keeping its service and menu consistent.
Rex Café & Bakery – 321 S. 17th Street
You can’t talk about McAllen’s breakfast scene without mentioning Rex Café. The McAllen mainstay is quite possibly the oldest restaurant still in operation, opening its doors in 1947 and gaining loyal patrons since day one. Stop in on a weekday morning and you might get lucky and catch an open table, but forget about showing up late on a Sunday morning. Rex Café is a traditional after-church family favorite, and generations of breakfast lovers have made this the go-to spot for late morning chisme.
Carb loaders are in luck at this downtown institution where traditional pan dulce is one of its specialties. The fresh made Mexican pastries are in high demand so you’re going to have to rise and shine and get in line by 6 a.m. if you plan on getting dibs on the best empanadas and conchas north of the border. Its most ordered baked good is it’s biscuits though, and you can find them piled high and buttered to perfection at the soul-satisfying Mexican restaurant. If you’re lucky enough to grab a table up front, check out the 40-year-old mural, paying homage to the rich history of downtown McAllen.
Espi & T’s – 2101 N. 10th Street
I first heard about Espi & T’s from my coworkers, whom are regulars at this tucked-away café. For nearly a decade, Espi’s has been serving up traditional Mexican breakfast cuisine in its quaint but festive restaurant. This is the place you go when you want to go back in time and have breakfast exactly as it was at your abuela’s house. Simple dishes like eggs, refried beans, bacon and potatoes are among its most popular daily specials, and at the low price of $4.95, it’s no surprise why locals pack the place day in and day out. Despite its location on the corner of 10th Street and Upas, it’s easy to miss this hidden gem, with signs of nearby stores crowding the busy plaza. Seating and parking are limited, so arrive early if you plan on going during peak times. Espi’s has gone relatively unnoticed for 10 years, but if you want an affordable breakfast in a social dining atmosphere with first-class service, this is the early outing you’re looking for.
Each place is different, but they share common traits; they have loyal patrons and faithful employees, and that’s a winning recipe for any business. From historic eateries to classic comfort food or grandma’s favorites, these three morning mainstays are worth setting your alarm for, so raise a cup of coffee and celebrate the most important meal of the day: breakfast!