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Start the day in Diablo Valley with a hearty breakfast at one of several thumbs-up breakfast spots in the region before heading out for a day of hiking or biking on Mount Diablo, or a scenic jaunt around the area. Read on for five top-rated suggestions for delicious, filling breakfasts.

Denica’s Real Food Kitchen
2280 Oak Grove Road
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
(925) 945-6200
www.denicascafe.com

Owned and operated by husband-and-wife team James and Denica Freitas, both highly experienced chefs, Dencia’s Real Food Kitchen has become a destination stop for locals looking for “good, simple wholesome food,” in the words of one Denica’s regulars. Open for breakfast/brunch, lunch and with yummy sweets from pastry chef Denica, the restaurant is known for its wholesome and satisfying breakfast items, including a selection of crepes. Fans also like the vegetarian items available, a welcoming sign to vegetarians who may feel left out at other dining spots. View the downloadable menu at the website.

Bay Leaf Café
2123 Pacheco St.
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 363-3983
www.bayleaf.tumblr.com

Since it began in 1999, Bay Leaf Cafe has been serving high-quality food at affordable prices. This little local favorite, tucked away on a side street in Todos Santos Plaza, happily serves breakfast all day plus offers a wide selection of lunchtime fare: burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups and specialties, including wraps. Breakfast at Bay Leaf Café offers tons of options, and vegetarians are covered as well. With more than 16 different omelets along with waffles, pancakes and egg favorites, Bay Leaf Café is a great place to start the day. Check out the menu at the website.

Buttercup Grill & Bar
660 Ygnacio Valley Road
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(925) 932-2763
www.buttercupgrillandbar.com

Known for serving American comfort food specials, Buttercup Grill & Bar is a family-style restaurant that covers breakfast, lunch and dinner in an attractive and relaxed atmosphere. It is breakfast all day here, where the breakfast menu is long and definitely varied. There are traditional favorites like omelets and benedicts with appetizing twists, such as The Kitchen Sink with “Everything but the kitchen sink,” or a Cajun Benedict, with cajun sausage and a whole lot more. Or try one of the many Breakfast Skillet dishes that partner eggs with a slew of different combos for some hearty breakfast fare. Variations on pancakes, waffles and French toast also appear, along with steak or pork chops and eggs, an egg burrito and other surprises. Read all about it on the website breakfast menu.

Little Red Bistro
690 Gregory Lane, Suite 4
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 954-8274
www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Red-Bistro

Described as a ”little gem” recently by one satisfied customer, Little Red Bistro is a French-style creperie café serving delicious 20” sweet or savory crepes, panini sandwiches, salads, fresh pastries, a variety of luscious desserts and, says the Little Red Bistro, “some of the best, perfectly roasted organic, single estate coffee and espresso in the Bay Area.” For a memorable breakfast, how about a Champignon Crepe stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, alfredo and cheese, or one called Green Eggs & Ham. If you prefer a sweet start to your day, go for the Strawberry & Nutella or Brie Cheese, Fresh Pear & Jelly crepes. Wash those babies down and live it up with a raspberry mocha latte, caramel mocha or keep it cool with an Irish cream frappe, just because you can.

Jack’s Restaurant & Bar
60 Crescent Drive, Suite A
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 849-6195
www.jacksrestaurants.com

Jack’s owners, local Diablo Valley brothers John, Dave and Chris, learned the restaurant business by working in their parents’ restaurant, Eleni, in Clayton beginning when they were young teens. Jack’s Restaurant & Bar offers traditional American favorites along with Greek specialties on its breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menus. Breakfast at Jack’s provides a selection of hearty fare and a few on the lighter side, but it’s best to arrive here with a healthy appetite. Choose from omelets, pancakes, waffles, benedicts, French toast, scrambles and other egg dishes, including some with steak, hamburger and pork chops, plus breakfast burritos (Monday – Friday) and a whole lot more. Check out the breakfast menu at the website before you go, as it might be difficult to decide on the spot with so many tempting choices.

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Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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