Who doesn’t love breakfast? There are so many delicious ways to start your day: pancakes, waffles, French toast, omelets and the local favorite, goetta. We took a look around the region and found the best places to give you a memorable first meal. These places should not be missed, so get ready to set your alarm!

Pepper Pod
703 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071

After an evening of shenanigans that spill into the early morning hours, partygoers tend to arouse an appetite.

Just four blocks south of Newport on the Levee, amid a multitude of locally owned taverns, the 24-hour Pepper Pod absorbs a surge in activity when the bartender shouts last call.

Walk in and take a seat at a countertop that forms a three-sided rectangle surrounded by swivel stools. Then stare at the specials written in red marker on sheets of sketchpad paper hanging from the wall. If you’re sitting in a leather booth, don’t slip any coins into the mini jukeboxes fixed to the wall. They haven’t worked in quite a long time and the ones from the ‘50s are for decoration.

Located on Monmouth Street since 1977, the restaurant continues to provide low-priced meals in bountiful portions for the cash-strapped.

Also, smoke’em if you got’em! Ashtrays are found at booths and countertops. It’s a rare sight in today’s restaurants, but so is everything else at the Pepper Pod.

Once you’ve taken in the bygone atmosphere, pick any combination of eggs, bacon, sausage, goetta, omelets and pancakes before the morning rooster crows (and any other time, too).

The absence of swank could hinder many restaurants, but the no-frills ambiance has helped the vintage restaurant draw admiration, instead.

Open 24 hours. –Danny Restivo

Mammoth Coffee & Co.
515 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071
859-291-8875 • mammothcoffeeco.com

Looking for a new way to satisfy your goetta fix? Try the goetta waffle at Mammoth Coffee & Co. in Newport. The Glier’s goetta is grilled and coated with batter before being placed in the waffle iron. It’s one of the more popular breakfast items on Mammoth’s breakfast menu that also features a variety of homemade quiches, wraps and baked goods, says co-owner Nicole Reynolds.

If you’re looking for something with a healthy twist, the menu also includes Granola Supreme, a mix of granola, yogurt and fresh fruit, along with oatmeal.

Mammoth has been around for about a decade, but has been owned by Nicole and her husband, who live nearby, for three years now.

Located a block south of Newport on the Levee, Mammoth has a laidback neighborhood feel with free Wi-Fi and a handful of outdoor tables for when the weather’s warm.

Known for its assortment of coffees including Highlander Grog and its own Mammoth Blend, the Reynolds have put more of an emphasis on the menu with an assortment of breakfast and lunch specialties featuring fresh local ingredients, explains Nicole.

She says Mammoth tends to draw customers from local businesses and residences during the week and visitors to the Levee on the weekends.

Hours are 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. –Mike Boyer

Bellevue Bistro
313 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, KY 41073
859-581-5600 • enjoybellevuebistro.com

What does a former ice carver know about baking up breakfast? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Jeff Meiners, owner and chef at Bellevue Bistro on Fairfield Avenue in the heart of the old river town, had to give up ice carving when he hurt his back eight years ago.

A chef by training, he was looking for a restaurant job when he stumbled onto the former coffee shop and pizza joint in a storefront that was for sale.

Today, the place features a breakfast and lunch menu that caters mainly to local residents. However, it’s drawing more customers by posting specials on its Facebook page.

Two of Jeff’s most popular breakfast specialties are breakfast bakes served in a sizzling iron skillet and the breakfast benedicts. The bakes, inspired by a potato hash recipe he liked at a former Clifton restaurant, start with red potatoes and two fried eggs. It is then baked with an assortment of other items.

The popular Bellevue Bake, for example, features a slab of goetta, sautéed onions and cheddar jack cheese. The surf and turf bake includes crab, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, basil and cheddar jack.

The breakfast benedicts are two fried eggs and homemade sauce served over homemade biscuits. The Carnitas and Red Eye Gravy, for example, features marinated pork, tomatoes, spinach, kalamata olives, mozzarella, goat cheese and red eye gravy.

Hours are Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. –DR

Colonial Cottage
3140 Dixie Highway, Erlanger, KY 41018
859-341-4498 • thecottagenky.com

Colonial Cottage’s ability to pair goetta with anything on its menu is truly remarkable. Whether it’s nachos, grilled cheese, or desserts, the Cottage uses some unconventional dishes to complement the famed sausage.

Originally a peasant dish for poor German Americans, the breakfast pork has transformed into a Tristate delicacy. The Cottage’s goetta is the centerpiece of a delicious down-home breakfast in NKY. The Cottage Special comes with a goetta patty, two cook-to-order eggs and home fries covered in cheese and onions. Add a side of warm, soft and flaky biscuits, and the breakfast at Colonial Cottage can kick-start a long day.

Goetta lovers can even get their beloved sausage cooked into one of the Cottage’s highly touted omelets. Diners can customize their cottage omelet with sausage, ham, bacon, turkey, beef or chicken. They can then doctor it up with onions, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, jalapenos, spinach or salsa.

Started in 1933 by Clara Rich, the Colonial Cottage originally opened to serve nearby tobacco farmers headed to a local warehouse. More than 80 years later, the Cottage maintains the same commitment to serving everyday people looking for a hearty meal in the Northern part of the Commonwealth.

Hours are Monday-Saturday 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m.-9 p.m. –DR

Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill
500 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071
859-581-3700 • mokkasunset.com

A restaurant with the word “bar” in its title may not seem like an ideal place to eat breakfast, but that’s exactly what Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill is.

Originally opened by Kim Marcus as a breakfast and lunch joint on York Street in 2003, it moved to its current location in 2008, where Kim’s brother, Chris Marlow, brought his bar expertise and dinner experience to the restaurant.

Kim’s mother, Peggy Marlow, works there part time. She says their goal is to create a welcoming restaurant that everyone can enjoy. “It’s a crazy world out there, and for the short time they’re here, you want [guests] to relax and forget about anything they want to forget about and have fun,” she says.

When it comes to the menu, Peggy recommends the same dish again and again. “If you’ve never been here and you want to try something that’s absolutely delicious, try the Mokka French Toast,” says Peggy. It’s battered in sweet corn flakes before it’s fried, giving the meal a perfect crunch while leaving a moist, buttery interior. It’s then topped with crème brûlée pastry cream and fresh bananas. Add a dusting of powdered sugar and you’ll find that no syrup is required.

Mokka also caters to those who desire a savory breakfast with their 10 different frittatas. Similar to an open-faced omelet, diners can try one of their many frittata varieties like their Smoked Salmon (roasted red peppers, red onions, capers and Swiss cheese topped with cold smoked salmon). And don’t forget the goetta; they serve everything from a goetta frittata to goetta grilled cheese.

Breakfast and lunch served 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, dinner served until 10 p.m Monday-Saturday. –Corinne Minard