How to Break Out of Your Breakfast Rut


Fried oysters for breakfast? “Why not?” says Egg chef Evan Hanczor. Photo: Bryan Gardner/Rizzoli

Growing up, chef Evan Hanczor’s breakfasts didn’t raise any eyebrows. The native of Redding, Conn., now the head chef of popular morning spot Egg in Brooklyn, N.Y., was a “pretty traditional breakfast eater” by his own estimation. “I was a huge bacon, egg, and cheese devotee,” he told Yahoo Food. “It’s a very stable, American breakfast idea.”

He’s still a fan of the classic combo. But Hanczor’s new book, Breakfast, co-authored with Egg owner George Weld, is sprinkled with less conventional dishes with which to start the day.

“We want to help broaden people’s ideas of what breakfast can be,” Hanczor explained. That’s why Breakfast contains recipes for cornmeal-dusted fried oysters splashed with lemon, and a velvety parsnip and apple cider soup swirled with butter and cream. True to his restaurant’s name, there are a lot of eggs in the mix. “Put an egg on anything and it’s more like breakfast,” he said.


Breakfast lounges beside an Egg menu. Photo: Egg Restaurant/Facebook

Hanczor might plop a fried egg atop a heaping of last night’s leftovers, or a fresh batch of greens. And a humble bowl of grits is made infinitely more hearty with the addition of runny, golden yolk. He also likes to steer ingredients traditionally prepared sweet toward the savory end of the flavor spectrum. On the cookbook’s cover: a steaming plate of salt-flecked steel-cut oats, topped with roasted brussels sprouts and squash.

“People are like, ‘Are you a sweet person or a savory person for breakfast?’ But I kind of hate that distinction,” Hanczor said. “I want to have all of that in one meal.”

Adding vegetables to your breakfast routine opens the door to healthier diets, he added. “People tend to eat their [produce] at dinner and lunch, but you can work greens into grits or in a stew. Pickles into a breakfast sandwich. There are a lot of possibilities.”


Hanczor doesn’t shy away from vegetables at the breakfast table. Photo: Bryan Gardner/Rizzoli

And lest you think Hanczor’s approach is radical, he reminds us that one’s definition of breakfast is a matter of perspective. Southerners routinely eat savory grits in the morning, where Northerners will often reach for oatmeal streaked with brown sugar. In Japan, breakfast will always include miso soup — something considered downright wacky stateside.

Whatever the breakfast, Hanczor stresses the meal’s importance — and not just because Egg serves it all day, every day (and closes just before dinnertime at 5 P.M.).

“Being a part of the beginning of someone’s day is really nice,“ he reflected. "There’s a lot of potential in that meal for setting the tone for how the rest of the day is going to go.”

More breakfast recipes to wake up with:

Quick and easy pancakes with an unexpected twist

Golden quinoa breakfast bowls topped with butternut squash

Gluten-free croissants that flaky and buttery as ever

What’s your favorite breakfast dish? Tell us below!