Restaurant Profile: Daybreak

For lunch, a flight of three tacos is hard to beat. Daybreak’s chef Juan Duarte is a Mexico City native, and his food reflects that history.

Not many places serve omelets and pancakes on the same menu as authentic Mexico City street tacos. You’ll find those dishes and more at Daybreak, an up-and-coming breakfast/brunch/lunch spot in downtown Cary.

Owned and operated by the fine folks who run the nearby Crosstown Pub & Grill, Daybreak is a come-as-you-are eatery that serves up reliable comfort food in a warm environment.

“We’re definitely aiming to reach the morning and midday crowd,” said owner Sean Ryan, who runs the café along with his mother, brother and wife — Sheila, Brendan and Megan Ryan, respectively.

Jayvon Williamson Sr. enjoys a hearty breakfast at Daybreak with his son, Jayvon Williamson Jr.

“Breakfast and tacos are my two favorite food groups, so I figured other people would also enjoy what we have to offer.”

Since opening in September 2020, business has slowly but steadily grown. The owners, who live in downtown Cary, appreciate that their friends and neighbors come into the restaurant.

“We have regular guests who come in, that we know by name because they also frequent Crosstown,” said Megan Ryan.

Dishes are served in portions that are guaranteed to satisfy. You can’t go wrong with any of the five available omelets, all of which are gluten-free. Go all-in with a Triple Mess involving sausage, bacon, ham and mozzarella cheese, or choose the vegetarian Mediterranean with spinach, black olives, red onions, tomatoes and feta.

The ample pancake sandwich features fried chicken nestled between flapjacks drizzled with Sriracha-infused honey.

“This is our spin on chicken and waffles,” said Megan Ryan.

The pancake sandwich with fried chicken and spicy honey is Daybreak’s spin on chicken and waffles.

Inspired by fictional character Ron Swanson from the television sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” the popular Big Swanson burrito includes bacon, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, home fries, confetti peppers, mixed cheese and a side of salsa verde.

Garlic-infused loaded home fries are crowned with bacon, mixed cheese, bell pepper, diced tomato, onions and salsa.

Prefer lighter alternatives? Consider the yogurt and seasonal fruit parfait with granola, or try avocado sourdough toast with fried egg, grilled tomato and chili flakes.

The Big Swanson burrito is packed with bacon, sausage, ham, peppers, scrambled egg, cheese and potatoes.

Wash everything down with a cup of robust Lion Head Coffee imported from Colorado. You can get it hot or iced.

“A friend of mine from college runs a roastery and ships the coffee to us,” said Sean Ryan. “We like offering something that you won’t find anywhere else around here.”

At lunchtime, head chef Juan Duarte’s mix-and-match taco flights deserve significant consideration.

“Juan has a history with traditional style tacos with corn tortillas, chorizo, diced onions and cilantro,” said Megan Ryan, adding that the chef, who hails from Mexico City, brings more than 20 years of culinary experience to the kitchen.

The Chocolate Covered Strawberry is iced coffee with Baileys cream, fresh strawberries, and chocolate and strawberry syrups.

Among the eight tacos on the menu, the brightest star is the onion- and mozzarella-laden chorizo. To round out your selection, order the jalapeno-spiked Buffalo chicken and the protein-packed breakfast taco.

A kids menu features pancakes, scrambled eggs and a biscuit, and a Nutella-banana sandwich. All meals come with a drink and a side item.

When it comes to adult libations, craft cocktails and dessert drinks are available from the bar.

“We are known for our homemade bloody mary,” said Megan Ryan. “The Chocolate Covered Strawberry is an iced coffee with Baileys cream, fresh strawberries, and chocolate and strawberry syrups. Our drinks are also available as mocktails.”

Megan and Sean Ryan run Daybreak in downtown Cary, with a little help from their family — mom Sheila and brother Brendan. The Ryan family also owns the nearby Crosstown Pub & Grill.

The restaurant is available by reservation for after-hours events like birthday parties, wedding rehearsal dinners, baby showers and corporate events. Keep in mind that space may be limited due to COVID-19 regulations.

“When we opened, we intentionally kept the decor modern and industrial so it would be more functional for multiple purposes,” said Sean Ryan.

Be sure to check out the vibrant abstract mural on the wall behind the bar, painted by talented local artist Craig Gillooly.

Daybreak is currently open 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Dine-in service, takeout, curbside pickup and delivery are available.

154 E. Chatham St., Cary
(919) 439-1181

1 Comment

  • Derrick J and Stef says:

    It tastes as good as it looks! Great job Ryan family, you’ve got something special going on there.

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