Cheapside

Cheapside is a fast-casual coffee and breakfast shop located downtown at 326 E. Eighth Ave. The minimal, woodwork interior was influenced by Scandinavian and Nordic design. And the minimal design mirrors the menu, which was made to be as simple as possible, with few ingredients, so the focus can be on quality rather than quantity. “Form and function in unity is what we where going for,” says co-owner Rom Wells. Opened in May 2014, a second location on Main Street featuring coffee and ice cream is in the works. M-Su 7a.m.-3 p.m. 513-345-6618, cheapsidecafe.com.

French Crust Café

French Crust Café serves authentic French breakfast and lunch in its cozy 24-seat café. Located on 915 Vine St. in downtown Cincinnati, it’s usually packed with local businessmen and customers from throughout the Tristate. The hole-in-the-wall restaurant is owned and operated by renowned Cincinnati chefs Jean-Robert de Cavel and Jean-Phillipe Solnom. Pastries and croissants are fresh-baked every day. Popular menu items include the eggs Benedict, served with homemade brioche, tomatoes and spinach, and the French puff pastry with a Cincinnati flare of fresh goetta. M-Tu 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. W-F 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sa 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 513-621-2013, jrcincy.com/french-crust-café.

Holtman’s Donuts

Family owned and operated since its opening in 1960, Holtman’s Donuts is a local favorite. With three locations in Over-the-Rhine, Loveland and Williamsburg, the donut shop draws locals and tourists visiting from far away places. Bennitta McNair, who has worked in the Over-the-Rhine location since its opening three years ago, says she has customers from Canada and New York. Fresh-baked glazed and iced donuts sit nestled next to more quirky favorites like the maple bacon, a glazed donut with bacon sprinkled on top. Hours vary. Loveland: 513-575-1077, Over-the-Rhine: 513-381-0903, Williamsburg: 513-724-3865, holtmansdonutshop.com.

The Echo Restaurant

Opened in 1945, The Echo Restaurant at 3510 Edwards Road has been feeding generations of hungry Cincinnatians quality breakfast and lunch food. The Echo features a front diner with a classic counter and a back room for a more traditional sit-down restaurant. Kevin and Stephanie Surgeon know many of the customers by name since Stephanie took ownership of the diner in 1995. Surgeon says Echo draws customers from all walks of life, from college kids to young families, businessmen and little old ladies. “The people here are really what make the restaurant,” says Surgeon. M-Sa 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Su 7 a.m.-3 p.m. 513-321-2816, echo-hydepark.com.

The Taste of Belgium

Jean-Francois Flechet began making waffles in 2007 in a Findlay market produce store. Now, The Taste of Belgium has grown to three bistro locations in Rookwood, Clifton and Over-the-Rhine, and two market locations in Findlay Market and North Market in Columbus, with another location opening soon in Cincinnati. The liége waffle—a denser, slightly crunchier version of the American classic—draws a devoted crowd. “We definitely have a big brunch following,” says Andy Segrist, manager of the Clifton location. Most dishes are either American versions of Belgian food, or Belgian versions of American favorites. Hours vary. Cincinnati: 513-396-5800; Columbus: 614-224-0986, authenticwaffle.com.