Packed to the rafters... but totally worth the wait: Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House
Text Sybil Robert
Dining choices in Fort Lauderdale have exploded in the past decade with wonderful, one-of-a-kind restaurants like Kitchenetta, Market 17 and D'Angelo Tapas each feeding eager crowds of fans who swear by their food. But in this town of burgeoning bistros, one thing seemed to be lacking: a truly great place for a real breakfast. Not a breakfast of eggs scrambled to the consistency of rubber served with Wonder toast with margarine, but a real, early morning feast.
Fear not, breakfast lovers, your time has come. With the opening of the Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House in the Himmarshee District, your prayers have been answered. Only open a short time, this fabulous, tiny spot is located in a restored 1925 stand-alone shop in the shadow of the Museum of Discovery and Science. It thrives in what was originally a men's shop and – during the land boom of the 20s – allegedly a real estate sales office.
Today this squeaky clean spot is host to an establishment that focuses solely on breakfast – both early and late – from about 7am until 2pm, opening and closing a little later on weekends. The Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House, or O-B House for short, places emphasis on locally grown foods, choosing free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and low pasteurized milk sourced from a Florida dairy. Enough real butter is used that O-B House should get the Julia Child seal of approval. Everything in this busy kitchen is made from scratch, and it shows. Buttermilk pancakes made in the old cast iron skillets arrive piping hot with real Vermont maple syrup. The house breakfast (pictured here) is just exactly right, featuring a side of mouth-watering cheese grits with just a slight, peppery hint. The toast, either white or 6-grain, is made at a bakery nearby that works to owner Rodney Ely's exacting standards. Spread with a little butter, nothing else is needed. There is no other toast in town that even approaches this level of taste and quality.
One of the house favorites are the O-B House Hollandaise, which consists of two free-range eggs on a bed of fresh steamed spinach over carefully-trimmed toast, smothered with a hefty ladle of their perfect hollandaise. Another, aptly named "D-Clawed" is an omelet with cream cheese and jumbo lump crab, brightened with fresh chopped cilantro.
We could go on and on about the thick slices of bacon and freshly baked muffins and everything else, but the true foodies among you already hear the alarm bells ringing and have probably dropped this magazine to check that calendar of yours for the next available morning. This place really is, as they say, all that. But before you set your alarm for tomorrow and start dreaming of heavy plates of flaky, homemade biscuits covered in pork sausage gravy, a word to the wise. This is a small place with a dedicated staff. The kitchen works as fast as they can to give you the best breakfast in town. Be nice to them. Bring a New York Times and settle in. Your patience will be rewarded.
Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House