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Breakfast back from the brink of extinction

POULSBO — It's been called an extinct entity in North Kitsap.

Residents concerned that Taprock Northwest Grill — the vacation lodge-style replacement of beloved Mitzel's American Kitchen — won't be flipping omelets for the early birds have said start-of-the-day eggs and issues are a lost cause, spicy sausage and conversation at sunrise a mirage in the desert of North End restaurants.

But those looking for that perfect morning outlet need search no further, because the area isn't completely devoid of morning-time meals.

In fact, it seems to be a simple matter of knowing where to look.

Here are a few breakfast hot spots to fill that post-alarm clock conversational black hole, as well as satiate the stomach. This is not meant to be a complete list of breakfast choices in the area, but is designed to offer a start for those looking for a great place to have a morning conversation and mouthwatering meal. To let us know about your favorite North Kitsap morning eatery, email a letter to the editor at editor@northkitsapherald.com.

The Diner

If there's any place where everybody knows your name, this is it.

Starting with its greasy spoon of a door handle (it literally is a silver spoon), this is a joint where patrons enjoy one another's company, whether at the counter or in booths, and where friendly service is a constant.

Regular Ben Belgarde, of Poulsbo, said he has breakfast at The Diner 3-5 times a week, and it's the oh-so-savory dishes and great company that keep him coming back.

"There's a lot of good people in here," he said.

Perfect for talking shop, politics, or just discussing the meaning of life, The Diner is true to its name, decked in Coca Cola and Harley Davidson paraphernalia.

Seating may be limited, but menu options are not. About to see its 13th anniversary this May, the Diner offers a full array of breakfast choices. Omelets start at just $3.95.

For more information on this belly-bustin' hole-in-the-wall community favorite, call (360) 779-3519.

Jak's Cafe and Espresso

Talk about serving up just what the doctor ordered.

Jak's Cafe is full of tasty treats with a healthy twist. Assorted pastries, omelets, breakfast biscuits and egg delights are ready and hot each morning.

And while egg-o-liscious meals at Jak's may not be the lowest on the pricing chain, the cafe certainly makes the extra buck or two worthwhile in fresh ingredients, organic breads and wholesome, preservative-free recipes to die — or make that live — for.

"I buy from the local farmers as much as I can," owner Julie Krucek said.

Jak's Cafe also boasts sensational specials, including fresh fruit crepes and biscuits and gravy on Saturdays. Hard Hat Mondays offer 25 percent off any menu item for construction and landscape workers, and Brainstumpers — clever questions meant to tease customers' curiosity — help lift the morning fog as well.

Lattes from the full-service espresso bar start at $2.50, and the freshly baked bran muffins alone are a good-for-you temptation that can't be passed up. The cafe itself is adorned in local art decor. For more information on this Poulsbo Place II heart-healthy choice, call (360) 394-5257.

Sheila's Bay Cafe

Colorfully cheerful and situated before a magnificent view of Liberty Bay and the Port of Poulsbo, Sheila's is a cafe that's got it going on in the morning, with a bustlin' bunch of regulars and friendly faced servers who clearly kick their days off with a smile.

And while the decor alone in Sheila's could turn any frown upside down, the food could do two times better. With a smattering of omelets, scrambles, pancakes and french toast, Sheila's has got the bases covered for any daybreak craving.

Jodie Emmons of Poulsbo said she frequents Sheila's each Friday for good conversation with friends. And there's plenty of parking in Anderson Parkway for the morning crowd, she said.

"The service is wonderful, the food is great," she said. "They make the best oatmeal with all kinds of pecans and raisins and brown sugar."

Breakfasts at Sheila's start at $4.95. For more information on this day-brightening, bay-side breakfast establishment, call (360) 779-2997.

Emily's Bistro

This Powder Hill restaurant may be less than a month into operations, but its already serving up stomach-satisfying breakfasts that make the trip up the hill worthwhile.

And while, understandably, it doesn't yet boast the warm comforts of a well-lived-in cafe, what it lacks in atmosphere it more than compensates for with a breakfast menu brimming with full-sized meals at much appreciated prices.

Quiches are offered for $3.99, egg sandwiches and wraps for $4.99 — and those modest prices shouldn't fool customers. Those looking for a scrumptious start to the morning certainly won't be left wanting.

With a relaxing view and jazz and blues tunes in the background hitting the high notes of the day, it's as easy to lose track of time in Emily's as it is to find that perfect culinary compliment.

Poulsbo resident Skip Kongela said he found the service to be especially helpful and pleasant, and sees great promise in the place for filling that morning chow and chat gap.

"This has potential as it gains popularity," he said. "I hope that this is a success and that people do come up."

Emily's Bistro also offers muffin tops, yogurt parfaits and a full espresso bar. For more information, call (360) 779-5578.

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