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A.M. Meeting & Greeting Eating 

Your pick of power breakfast spots

Breakfast is quickly replacing the business lunch. For one, bosses like to start the day off right. Others may decide to have a morning meeting near their house in order to avoid the morning mayhem. Some professionals, like real estate agents, attorneys, and mortgage brokers, prefer early morning meetings for their customers' convenience.

So, where are Charlotteans going for these power breakfasts? Let's look.

The Duke Mansion: The ultimate power breakfast is served at the former power epicenter. Today, this imposing home is an inn and a conference center. The house, built in 1915, was the residence of the Duke family -- as in Duke Power and Duke University. This humongous Myers Park house has been called home by several prominent families including Rick and Dee Ray, who saved the structure from being chopped up into condominiums. Currently, 20 rooms and suites are available with rates of $169 to $249 per night and include breakfast. Inn guests may invite guests to breakfast for an additional $15. However, anyone can book a breakfast meeting through the catering arm of the mansion. Breakfast is served in the dining room, the solarium, and the library. The Duke Mansion is at 400 Hermitage Road in Myers Park. For catering, call 704-714-4400.

Ember Grill, the restaurant within the Westin Hotel, is the downtown choice. Breakfast begins at 6am and features fresh fruit; smoked salmon; cheese blintzes; biscuits and sausage gravy; omelets; a juice cart; buttermilk pancakes; and assorted bakery items. The three breakfast menus feature American, Spanish and French dishes and are served until 11am daily. The Ember Grill is in the Westin Hotel at 601 South College Street. Call 704-375-2600.

The Original Pancake House is the SouthPark area's longtime favorite breakfast club. On the weekends, the wait is often long; however, during the workweek, tables are waiting. Doors open at 6:30am. According to one manager, the rush begins at 8am and ends at 9:30am. On the menu are the usual eggs, pancakes, waffles and omelets. OPH has a coffee shop ambience with a lively atmosphere and, at least on weekends, frequently squalling children. The Original Pancake House is at 4736 Sharon Road. Call 704 553-8364.

Anderson's Restaurant in Elizabeth has long been a breakfast spot for local movers and shakers, particularly politicians. Anderson's is Charlotte's oldest family-owned restaurant; it opened its doors in 1946 and is still going strong. Breakfast starts at 6am weekdays, but the 160-seat spot starts to fill up at 7:15am. "We serve the usual: eggs, waffles, pancakes, omelets, cereals, bagels. But we squeeze our orange juice right in front of you (on the counter)," said owner Gary Anderson. But you can go for the pie. We all do. Tables can be configured for groups up to 20. Anderson's Restaurant is at 1617 Elizabeth Avenue. Call 704-333-3491.

John's Country Kitchen in Plaza-Midwood is a landmark restaurant. The 46-seat eatery's current owners are Jimmy Margiotis and his mother Margaret, but the place is named for Jimmy's father John, a Greek immigrant. One thing John's is known for is being one of the only places in the area to serve up a dish that was once a common part of the Southern breakfast menu: Pork Brains and Eggs, better known as "Brains and Eggs." Regular eggs are an option as well. Part of Charlotte's unique culinary history is reflected in the menu here. Look at the homemade desserts: apple pie, banana pudding, baklava. If you haven't lived here long, the Greek influence may surprise you. John's Country Kitchen is a reminder of a culinary tradition we're quickly leaving behind. Seating is offered at the counter or in a booth. John's Country Kitchen is at 1518 Central Avenue. Call 704-333-9551. Cash only.

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