If planning a trip to Naples is in the near future, why not stop for breakfast on U.S. 41's East Trail. Since Shoney's closed several years ago, Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery, 4335 Tamiami Trail E., has been the clear favorite. This restaurant is the quintessential breakfast eatery serving breakfast all day in conjunction with lunch and dinner at appropriate times.
The bakery prepares fresh "monster-sized" muffins in multiple varieties with special seasonal choices. Breakfast items cover every American taste with a few Perkin's specials thrown into the mix.
Of course, Perkins is a chain-restaurant. Newcomers under private ownership have joined the breakfast crowd offering additional choices along the way.
Next door to Perkin's is the newly opened K. J.'s Tropical Palm Café, 4221 Tamiami Trail E. in the Lakewood Plaza, open for breakfast at 10 a.m. on Sundays. The menu offers a brunch fare at reasonable prices. The dining room is spacious with plenty of booths and movable tables for larger groups. The restaurant is trying something new on May 8 and 15 with a Broadway review called Don't Quit Your Day Job featuring Steve Fenttiman and Tia Charles. They plan to sing favorites from Phantom of the Opera, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun and many more popular Broadway shows. This will be a dinner performance with a three-course meal.
Nana Vetta's Country Diner, 11518 Tamiami Trail E., is famous for its five-egg omelets created eight ways or build your own from a selection of meats, vegetables and cheeses. If you're not that hungry, there's a half omelet made with only three eggs.
The menu offers farm-fresh breakfasts with a Mexican flair at reasonable prices and servings are ample, often more than one person can eat. A tote board lists specials that change daily to keep diners from getting weary of the same meals day-in and day-out. The wait staff is friendly and bi-lingual.
The menu sports the slogan, "Grandma's looks may have changed . . . but the cookin's still the same." Buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy are prepared from scratch, and for the health-conscious, the chef makes a homemade whole wheat bread. Breakfast is served until 2 p.m.
The small and quaint Mr. Mom's Diner, 3560 Tamiami Trail E., is the least expensive breakfast which small eaters might find perfect. Potions can be ordered from one egg or more with a meat selection and accompaniments. The menu is simple but covers most mainstream selections. It's the kind of place that attracts regulars and the coffee-clutch crowds that like to savor friendships while they partake of their morning repast.
Marco Island's Hoot's is planning to open its second location in the Eagle Creek Shopping Center and will be open for breakfast seven days a week. Owners will offer the same menu as their Marco Island location except for huevos rancheros in deference to the existing Mexican restaurant in the same shopping plaza. The opening date is still about a month away.
So next time you hit the trail, try stopping for a light or hearty breakfast at one of these restaurants. They're great places to get a cup of "Joe" and a new perspective on morning dining.