Skip to main content

Rise & Shine | By Melissa Goslin Collins

12/01/2010 03:13PM, Published by Anonymous, Categories:



At some point, the most important meal of the day became one eaten behind steering wheels and office desks, all in Styrofoam and plastic wrapping. But the breakfast bluebloods are loyal, a tribe that relishes the feel of heavy coffee mugs in cupped palms, eggs served with a side of conversation and the feeling of being up and in the world before everyone else. Here we share a few of Fayetteville’s favorite spots for breakfast and (as a bonus to you late-risers) brunch. Enjoy!  At 6 a.m. on any given weekend morning, the main dining room at Haymont Grill and Steak House looks a little like a high school cafeteria, politicians at one table, retirees at another and academics nestled in booths along the wall. As coffee is poured and the smell of bacon and eggs permeates the air, the crowd morphs into one group of old – and new – friends.

John Ayers has been eating breakfast at the Grill every Saturday morning for years. “It’s no organized group. We’ve just all become friends over the years,” he said. They arrive at 7 a.m. and have the table until 9, when a group of retired military, known around the Grill as “the Generals,” arrive. Conversation starts with a quick catch-up around the table and eventually veers into politics and world news swapped with diners at nearby tables. From prayer groups to business meetings, everyone seems to be solving the world’s problems over a plate of eggs.Ayers’ group sits at a large table at the back. “Most places, people wouldn’t want to sit by the kitchen, but we wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “We call it the owner’s table.”

The actual owner, Pete Skenteris, points out that the table sits in what once was actually the kitchen itself. “My kitchen was Metropolitan Life Insurance and what are now the other dining rooms were First Citizens Bank and Haymount Shoe Shop,” he said. Since buying the building and its 12 parking spaces in 1967, Skenteris has expanded from the original 60-person capacity into room for 250 guests.  The family atmosphere and high food quality, however, have stayed the same. “It’s not fast food and it’s not what I call ‘big box’ food,” Ayers said. “I guess that’s why I’ve been eating there for 38 years.” Down the road a bit, another group of loyal breakfast-goers frequent JK’s Family Restaurant and Deli. On the menu bagels with cream cheese and Greek omelets with feta cheese and tomato sit next to breakfast staples like eggs with country ham, pork chops or steak. To make the military feel at home, there’s even S.O.S. biscuits and gravy, served with a mix of sausage and ground beef.

Customers are greeted by the buzz of conversation, from the waitresses who know most of their customers by name and the diners engrossed in cross-table conversation.  “I would say 75 percent of our customers come in every day or at least a couple of times a week,” said Missy Mercer, one of the morning waitresses.  Even those customers dining alone wind up engaged in conversation with each other, talking about local events, hobbies and, inevitably, politics. “You think people are grouchy in the morning, but a good cup of coffee and a smile does wonders,” Mercer said.  One regular, Ron Rock, has eaten at JK’s almost every morning for the past 10 years.  What keeps him coming back? “Breakfast just does you a whole lot better than lunch,” Rock says. “The waitresses do a good job, and they’re always around to fill your cup.”  Like most of the regulars, Rock is a standard bacon-and-eggs man, but they all admit to occasionally mixing things up with JK’s famous made-from-scratch hotcakes. Mercer recently shook things up herself by starting a Facebook page where she posts messages and photos of the regulars.

On Sundays in Fayetteville, Beth Shearin-Smith of Hilltop House goes completely off the menu and offers decadent brunch options no longer reserved for Mother’s Day and Easter. The resulting back room buffet is an assault on the senses, from the sweet and spicy pecan praline sauce drizzled over bananas foster French toast to the fresh batter of made-to-order waffles.  Oysters are always on order, along with Norwegian salmon, a cold salad station and fresh fruit. Shrimp and grits, featuring andouille sausage and a tasso cream sauce, is not typically a part of low country North Carolina cuisine but has become a favorite with Hilltop patrons.

Shearin-Smith knows that sometimes it’s the simple pleasures her customers enjoy most, a lesson she learned after mistakenly removing deviled eggs from the buffet once. “It didn’t take long to start getting complaints. I won’t make that mistake again,” she said.  A stickler for standards, Shearin-Smith ensures quality is never sacrificed on the buffet line. Only certified Angus beef makes it to the prime rib carving station, and the same attention to detail is placed in every dish, from homespun collards to Hilltop’s signature Death by Chocolate dessert.  “You can do a little bit more with brunch,” she says, admitting that the buffet-style presentation allows people to taste items they might not order off of a traditional menu.

A few of the other Southern comfort foods offered include the squash casserole, corn casserole and homemade macaroni and cheese, all old family recipes passed down from Shearin-Smith’s grandmother. “These are all things people can make at home, but don’t always take the time,” Shearin-Smith said. “Plus, they can come here and enjoy it without all the preparation and clean up.”  Hilltop House, like many of its morning counterparts, harbors an unmistakably familial feel, the house itself a monument to a time when family meals were always cause for occasion. Coupled with the promise of no dishes to wash, it’s no wonder every corner of Fayetteville is abuzz at breakfast.



food


  • Renaissance Classical Preschool Summer Camp

    06/27/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Renaissance Classical Preschool Summer camp June 12th-August 4th. Our Summer camp is designed to ...


  • Tai Chi for Health

    06/27/2017
    10:00AM

    Practice this flowing eastern exercise with instructor Rich Martin while overlooking the Garden. ...


  • Renaissance Classical Preschool Summer Camp

    06/30/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Renaissance Classical Preschool Summer camp June 12th-August 4th. Our Summer camp is designed to ...


  • Enrollment Deadline

    06/30/2017
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    We believe in your ability to make a positive impact with an outstanding education as your spring...


  • CSG 2017 Summer Development Camps

    06/30/2017
    09:00AM — 08:30PM

    CSG 2017 Summer Development Camps Hawaiian Luau Camp July 10 -12 9 a.m. - Noon Must regist...


  • The Fayetteville Downtown Alliance’s Field of Honor event is a way for the community to honor and...


  • Summer Skate

    06/30/2017
    01:30PM — 04:00PM

    Summer Skate


  • SwampDogs Game

    06/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Wilmington Sharks at Fayetteville SwampDogs


  • Da Make Me Dance Tour

    06/30/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    The Taylor Girlz, alongside 5 time platinum international recording artist Silento announced toda...


  • Stuffed Animal Sleepover

    06/30/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    We are hosting a fun sleepover for your kid's furriest friends! You can drop off your stuffed ani...


  • Public Works

    07/01/2017
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Come see all types of visual art for all ages. Visit the Arts Council's galleries to see the lar...


  • Come down to experience the screening of "Light Up to Live," a movie centering on five veterans, ...


  • 2019 Southern Fried Conversation

    07/01/2017
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    This is a community meeting to discuss interest for those who would like to volunteer for 2019 So...


  • SwampDogs Game

    07/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Florence RedWolves at Fayetteville SwampDogs


  • A Star-Spangled Kind of Day

    07/02/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Get ready for a day full of liberty, justice and fun for all! Dress in your best red, white and b...


  • Cruise-In....to Paradise (Acres)

    07/02/2017
    03:00PM — 08:00PM

    Every 1st Sunday of April - November 2017 Bring your shiniest car, motorcycle, truck, even tracto...


  • Firecracker 4 Miler

    07/04/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    Fayetteville’s Premier Road Running Event returns on Tuesday July 4, 2017. Come on out and suppor...


  • Rap and R&B fans, get ready! International-recording artists Rick Ross and K. Michelle are coming...


CityView Facebook
CityView Family Facebook