Travel Like a Local: Breakfast Spots

Travel Like a Local Series: Middleton Breakfast Spots — When traveling to Middleton, start your day at the places locals enjoy their morning meal

Travel like a local breakfast logo.

Discover Middleton’s Breakfast Spots

No matter what adventures await, breakfast is always a great way to start the day. And when traveling, it’s just as important.

From hometown diners to cafés and restaurants offering made-from-scratch menu items, here are a few of Middleton’s favorite places for breakfast bites.

Hubbard Avenue Diner

A man in a black shirt is working in a kitchen.

Start your day in downtown Middleton at a local favorite — Hubbard Avenue Diner, owned by Food Fight Restaurant Group and managed by Jose Garcia. When entering Hubbard Avenue Dining, guests are immediately greeted with cozy dining booths, impeccable service, a display case full of pie, and the smells of home-cooked food.

“When I started as a shift manager in 2004, Hubbard Avenue Diner was most popular for their large variety of pies,” Garcia said. “We used to offer more than 100 flavors but have scaled back quite a bit to offer around 12 flavors at a time now, some of which rotate with the season,” said Garcia.

The diner’s breakfast menu’s popularity soon began to rise, so in 2012, they started offering breakfast all day, every day.  

“We switched to offering breakfast all day because this is clearly what the people wanted and still, today, is what people come in to order the most, no matter the time of day,” Garcia said.

Locals rave about Hubbard Avenue Diner for its consistently delicious made-from-scratch menu items. Over the years, the diner has scaled back its menu to offer some of its best offerings while maintaining the consistency that everyone loves.

“The breakfast menu that we now offer is basically a collection of the items that were most frequently ordered from the previous, larger menu. By researching the menu’s product mix, we narrowed down our best breakfast sellers and adjusted the menu accordingly, which has contributed to a lot less food waste each day,” Garcia said.

Two mugs sitting on a table.

Hubbard Avenue Diner’s breakfast menu offers a variety of options for all, from traditional favorites like pancakes and omelets to unique offerings with a bit of spice, like the diner’s popular Huevos Rancheros.

“It’s tough to pick a favorite breakfast item on our menu, as we’ve paired our offerings down to include the best of the best under each category,” Garcia said. “However, I can say that our top two sellers tend to be the Huevos Rancheros, which is a Mexican-style skillet, and the French toast that’s made with cinnamon swirl bread sourced locally from Clasen’s European Bakery.”

Whether getting together with old friends over a cup of coffee from the diner’s full espresso bar, filling up with a hearty meal before seeking an outdoor adventure, or warming up with a stack of pancakes or French toast after a University of Wisconsin-Madison Badger football game, Hubbard Avenue Diner welcomes in everyone for a bite of breakfast.

Sofra Family Bistro

A restaurant with a red and white awning.

Another beloved brunch spot in downtown Middleton is Sofra Family Bistro, a family-run restaurant that serves authentic, made-from-scratch Albanian-American food.

The word “Sofra” means “family table” in Albanian, which certainly reflects how owners Gjyner “Gerry” and Zamira Lumani operate the restaurant.

“We take great pride in being family-run, family-operated,” Zamira Lumani said.

Both of the Lumani children have been involved in Sofra Family Bistro since the beginning and now as adults working in their own careers, they have continued to come back to help out when needed.

“As a child, I remember rolling up silverware while watching cartoons,” said Aldon Lumani, their son. “I am very thankful to be a part of the family business; it has helped me grow and meet some amazing people.”

Beyond offering a family-friendly experience, Sofra Family Bistro serves one-of-a-kind menu items. The restaurant’s most popular order is the Albanian sausage, made from scratch from a recipe closely guarded. The Albanian sausage can be enjoyed in many ways — in benedicts, omelets, skillets, or by itself as a side dish.

“My husband has tried different types of quality meats that are less expensive, but he will not settle on anything else; Sofra has to offer the best,” Zamira Lumani said.

Another crowd favorite at Sofra Family Bistro are the house specialty crepes made from a longstanding family recipe.

“Our black cherry crepes are made with imported Italian black cherries and a homemade cream cheese filling and are quite popular among our guests,” Zamira Lumani said.

When dining at Sofra Family Bistro, you will likely run into one or multiple of the Lumani family members, either working front-of-house or in the kitchen.

“We are here all the time,” Zamira Lumani said. “I just really love Sofra.”

C’s Restaurants and Bakery

a green and white building with a sign for a restaurant and bakery

On the northeast side of Middleton, a green and white, cottage-style restaurant called C’s Restaurant and Bakery can be found. This enduring breakfast spot offers hearty morning favorites and delicious baked goods. Plus, on warm days, guests can enjoy their meals outside on the restaurant’s patio, which hosts multiple picnic tables with umbrellas.

Donna and Rudi Christen first opened C’s Restaurant and Bakery in 1985 but moved into a new building in 1997, where the restaurant is located today.

“I was looking to get back into the restaurant industry, and when we saw the spot had opened up and was for sale, I knew it was meant to be,” Donna Christen said.

Locals now come into C’s Restaurant and Bakery and grab a seat at the front counter to read the morning paper or a booth in the main dining room to gather with their entire family. Customers order breakfast items of all types, from savory to sweet.

“A few of the most popular menu items include the C’s special, eggs benedict and our sweet cinnamon swirl pancakes with cream cheese glaze,” she added.

The restaurant also prides itself on its homemade baked goods, including morning buns, Danishes, scones, eclairs, a variety of bars and more.

Prairie Café and Bakery

The inside of a coffee shop with a counter full of food.

What started by a man looking for a great cup of coffee has become a lively breakfast spot for locals in the Middleton Hills neighborhood.

“Middleton Hills was created as a walkable district,” MaryEllen Kerns, an employee at Prairie Café and Bakery and local Middleton Hills resident, said. “The neighborhood has a grocery store, post office, dry cleaners, and restaurants, all within walking distance from each other.”

Dan Erdman, who manages the commercial properties in the Middleton Hills neighborhood that his father, Marshall Erdman, developed, noticed a need for a coffee shop. So, in 2000, Erdman opened Prairie Café and Bakery in a quaint storefront in the same subdivision where Middleton Hills locals picked up their mail.

The demand for coffee in the Middleton Hills neighborhood grew, so in 2015, Prairie Café and Bakery moved across the street into a larger building that Erdman designed and created.

“Dan’s father, Marshall Erdman, worked closely with Frank Lloyd Wright to design many buildings,” Kerns said. “Dan modeled Prairie Café and Bakery after much of his father’s and Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.”

The building that Prairie Café and Bakery is now in offers stunning architecture modeled after Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature prairie and organic styles. It features tall windows that let in an abundant amount of natural light and brick walling that mimics the color of Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature red tiles.

Not only do locals enjoy stopping here for their morning cup of coffee, but they also stick around to order breakfast or lunch. Some menu items are even named after Frank Lloyd Wright, including The Wright Breakfast, The Wright Burger, and Taliesin Turkey Club.

“The Wright Breakfast, which includes eggs, meat, potato, and toast, happens to be one of our best sellers,” Kerns said.

At the front of the café, guests are greeted with a display case full of made-from-scratch baked goods. The scones, croissants, muffins, cinnamon rolls, Danishes, cookies, and bars at Prairie Café and Bakery are made fresh each day — and sell out quickly.  

“Our number one selling baked good is by far the cranberry lemon scone,” Kerns said. “These are not products that are taken out of the freezer. Our baker makes all of our baked goods fresh daily, cutting the butter into the dough by hand.”

When discussing the locals at Prairie Café and Bakery, Kerns states, “It’s their restaurant. I work at the grocery store across the street and see the same people at both places.”

Next time you’re in the Middleton Hills neighborhood, stop by Prairie Café and Bakery to enjoy a morning meal just as the locals do.

Paul’s Neighborhood Bar

a brick building with a sign in front of it

Along Parmenter Street, you’ll find an unassuming breakfast spot, Paul’s Neighborhood Bar.

Paul’s Neighborhood Bar was opened in 1996 by three local Middleton residents, Paul Haas and his children, Dannon Haas and Michelle Pulvermacher.

“Middleton is special to us as it has been our home for generations,” Dannon Haas said. “Currently, all three of us are running Paul’s Neighborhood Bar as a family, and it brings us joy to serve Middleton families that visit our place daily.”

Paul’s Neighborhood Bar is located just a block from one of the entrances to the Pheasant Branch Conservancy Corridor trail, making it a great place to fuel up with a hearty breakfast before hiking.

“Our breakfast has received rave reviews from many locals who appreciate our great service, friendly atmosphere, affordable prices, and delicious food,” Dannon Haas said. “Omelets are our No. 1 seller, but many customers also comment on our daily steak and egg breakfast as being full of flavor and cooked perfectly.”

A plate of breakfast food on a table.
Scrambled eggs, toast, bacon and corned beef hash

Sundays at Paul’s Neighborhood Bar are popular for watching sports and enjoying the Sunday breakfast special.

“Our most popular breakfast item is the prime rib breakfast, which features two eggs, hash browns, toast, and a succulent cut of prime rib, and is only served on Sundays. It is very hearty and satisfying,” Dannon Haas said.

Whether stepping into Paul’s Neighborhood Bar for a morning mimosa, bloody Mary, or hearty breakfast, you’re sure to feel welcomed in like a local.

Grab a quick coffee, scone or light breakfast…

  • Grace Coffee Co. serves high-quality espresso drinks that can be infused with a wide range of house-made syrups. This cute café also offers a full made-to-order breakfast menu featuring a variety of sandwiches, wraps, toasts, yogurt parfaits, bakery items, and more.
  • Barriques offers a full coffee and espresso bar that serves fantastic coffee and specialty drinks. The café also has a wide selection of breakfast food, including egg bowls, sandwiches, wraps, quiche, baked goods, and more.

Get breakfast baked goods to bring home…

  • Miggy’s Bakes sells freshly baked cinnamon rolls on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
  • Clasen’s European Bakery offers a variety of tasty handcrafted sweet and savory bread, coffee cake, pastries, quiches, and more.
  • Hubbard Avenue Diner has take ‘n’ bake bakery items, including cinnamon rolls, plain biscuits, strawberry and cream biscuits, and, of course, pie!

Order a drink or bite from a popular drive-through coffee chain…

  • Middleton is home to two Starbucks locations; one located near Greenway Station and the other off Allen Blouvard on the northeast side of town.
  • Scooters is located along University Avenue on Middleton’s far east side near the border of Madison.
  • MOKA is located off Parmenter Street on Tribeca Drive, tucked behind a few car shops in the northern part of town.

Modified April 22, 2024