Breakfast is Served

While the early bird may catch the worm, breakfast in Southern Wake can’t — dare we say, shouldn’t — be contained to the a.m. hours. From sweet to savory, classic to creative, breakfast is, thankfully, offered around the clock at local restaurants and cafes that can’t wait to serve your most important meal of the day.

Ashley’s Harvest Moon Bakery – Cafe

Many of the healthful and unique creations at Ashley’s Harvest Moon Bakery – Cafe began as family recipes from chef Travis Umphlette.

Owner Ashley Hiester only made a few changes when she purchased Harvest Moon Bakery — Cafe from its original proprietor last summer. She kept the delicious family recipes by chef Travis Umphlette, locally-roasted coffee and warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Adding displays of local art on the walls, a handful of new, signature menu items and rotating specials infused a growing sense of community.

“I added things people love, like our avocado toast, which is really popular,” says Hiester. “We want to be in tune with the community, which is very healthy. We also added some vegetarian and vegan options.

“We take people’s suggestions to heart.”

One of the most distinctive offerings is the popover, which is used in the Cafe Breakfast Sandwich and the B.L.T.C. (bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese sandwich) in place of bread or a biscuit.

Hiester describes it as “a light fluffy roll made with an egg-based batter.”

Try the Sweet Moon Potatoes, another recent menu addition, which are seasoned, roasted sweet potatoes topped with a lemon garlic aioli, one of those special side items with as much flavor as the main course.

Hiester, a recent graduate of North Carolina State University, described jumping into a business during a global pandemic as “drinking from a firehose,” but as she’s grown accustomed to the role, the cafe has felt the support of local residents.

“A lot of our customers are regulars. I’ve gotten to know many of them by name.”

128 Bass Lake Road
Holly Springs, NC 27540
(919) 285-3003

Eggs Up Grill

Founder’s hash & eggs

The egg counter reads 300,460 behind the serving counter at Eggs Up Grill in Holly Springs. That accounts for the number of hand-cracked eggs since the eatery’s opening.

Peaches & cream pancakes

Owner Scott Johnon says the total is updated weekly, and it’s easy to imagine how high the number will climb. With classics like breakfast platters, omelets and benedicts, and unique offerings such as the Good Morning Burger and Founder’s Hash & Eggs, the friendly neighborhood diner dishes up an impressive quantity of eggs.

“The founder and his father came up with the recipe,” says Johnson of the hash and eggs. “It’s unique to us. The hash is crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. You don’t find hash and eggs everywhere.”

The restaurant’s full menu is available from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and you’ll often see customers enjoying a burger at 6:00 a.m. or pancakes at noon. It’s no wonder with offerings such as tempting Peaches & Cream Pancakes — caramelized peaches, cream cheese frosting and powdered sugar.

“Our Cinnamon Swirl French Toast is amazing, prepared with cinnamon swirl bread made just for us,” says Johnson.

Johnson also owns the Fuquay-Varina location of Eggs Up Grill, a franchise he fell in love with because of its cheerful, family atmosphere.

“We’re neighbors serving neighbors. We are all people who live, shop and work here,” he says.

4216 Lassiter Road, Holly Springs
(919) 495-4530
1436 N Main St, Fuquay-Varina
(919) 285-4463

Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken

Biscuit beignets are a “no-brainer”

Self-proclaimed foodies, Anju and Ajay Patel loved Rise from the first time they ate at the original Durham location.

When the opportunity came to bring fresh, made-from-scratch breakfast food to Holly Springs, the Patels jumped at the chance, opening their Rise location in Holly Springs Towne Center four years ago.

Sweet and savory sweet country blues biscuit

“The biscuits are made everyday. The chicken is breaded in house. All the ingredients are fresh,” says Anju Patel, who lives in Cary with her husband Ajay and family.

The Patels love the culture at Rise, in addition to the southern-style food.

“In the kitchen, you can try out different things. (Rise is) very free flowing and receptive to new ideas,” says Anju.

Some of the eatery’s most unique menu offerings have been created from experimentation, which is encouraged. A former manager at the Holly Springs location dreamed up the Biscuit Beignets, fried bits of biscuit dough doused in powdered sugar — a delicious “no brainer,” says Anju.

The sweet-and-savory biscuit, Sweet Country Blues, arose when a frequent customer at downtown Durham’s Rise regularly ordered a glazed blueberry biscuit with all-natural pork sausage from Cooper River Farms. The owners took notice, and the one-of-a-kind sandwich earned a permanent spot on the menu.

Build-your-own sandwiches give every customer the opportunity to create a biscuit sensation of their own.

“Pile up anything you want: eggs, sausage, sauces. There’s a great variety of how you can build your biscuit,” says Anju.

169 Grand Hill Place, Holly Springs
(919) 586-7343

Sir Walter Coffee & Kitchen

Hand-shaken vanilla whipped cream tops the Walter Raleigh, served hot or iced.

From creative coffee shop to chill cocktail lounge, Sir Walter Coffee & Kitchen combines fresh ingredients, trendy preparations and a love of all things local.

Design your own mimosa flight at brunch!

Get your weekday caffeine fix from the menu of inventive coffee and tea concoctions, including flagship beverage The Walter Raleigh, their adaptation of a mocha.

“Nitro cold brew on tap, hand shaken vanilla whipped cream, and you can even add peanut butter so it tastes like a Reese’s,” says Carinne Mossa, one of the managers at the Holly Springs Village District hot spot.

Addictively delicious Vietnamese Iced Coffee is prepared tableside, with two shots of espresso, stirred with sweetened condensed milk then poured into the nitro cold brew.

“It’s served on our own tray. There’s an aspect of ceremony in the ritual and presentation,” says Mossa.

“Customers love the control over designing their drink,” she says, especially the margarita and mimosa flights that are offered during weekend brunch.

“We use homemade simple syrups and fruit purees. The flavors change depending on the fresh fruits available,” says Mossa.

Two-step Vietnamese iced coffee is prepared tableside


Sir Walter Coffee and Kitchen debuted an updated brunch menu last November. Fruity French Toast (coated in Fruity Pebbles) and Train Wreck (smothered tater tots) will surely get you out of bed on Saturdays and Sundays.

SWCK specialty!

Nitro Cold Brew: Concentrated cold coffee with elevated levels of caffeine is served from a nitrogen tap, so it comes out with mild, creamy carbonation and a smooth, full-bodied flavor.

242 S Main St. Suite 118, Holly Springs
(919) 390-2274

Stick Boy Bread Company

It’s a beautiful morning in the pastry case at the Stick Boy Bread Company.

Despite the grueling schedule of an all-day bakery, Stick Boy Bread Company owner Katie Dies relishes early mornings in downtown Fuquay-Varina.


“I absolutely love setting the bakery up for the day: putting fresh pastries in the case, loading the shelves with bread and brewing that first pot of coffee. … I enjoy greeting customers heading to work for the day or folks headed home after an overnight shift — it’s something that brings me a lot of joy,” Dies says. “And, I absolutely love watching Main Street come alive — seeing shop owners unlock their doors and click on their open signs is pretty neat.”

Customers know they can count on Stick Boy, a fixture in Fuquay for more than a decade, for handcrafted breads and baked goods, coffee and smoothies.

“I believe we have something for everyone. We offer a large variety of breakfast items to choose from, including cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, muffins and scones, and are constantly testing new recipes,” says Dies.

“We started offering quiche a few months ago, and I am in love! They’re made from scratch every morning,” says Dies. Served as an adorable, personal-sized tart, the quiches have a homemade crust and smooth, savory filling.

Understandably, the Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese icing is an overwhelming customer favorite. Rich, decadent icing tops the fluffy pastry for a indulgent breakfast treat. The generously-sized portion may make you think about sharing, but trust us, you won’t want to.

127 South Main Street, Fuquay-Varina
(919) 557-2237


  • Anne Oney says:

    Could the Cary Magazine not find any breakfast cafes in Cary? I was disappointed that all were in H.S. or Fuquay.

    • Amber Keister says:

      Good afternoon, and thank you for your comment. This Breakfast Cafe article was a partnership with our sister publication, Main & Broad, which covers Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina. We included it because many of our email newsletter subscribers live in those areas. We have written about the many breakfast cafes in Cary and Apex, but perhaps it’s time for an update. Amber Keister, Senior Editor

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