Pumpkin pancakes

New Tampa and Wesley Chapel’s longtime favorite has always dominated this category, and while the vote was much closer in 2020 as newer options sprouted up, First Watch and its healthy and unique menu still sits on our readers’ breakfast throne.

 Located in Wesley Chapel but currently building a second location in New Tampa in The Village at Hunter’s Lake, First Watch is known almost as much for its morning crowds as for its diverse menu made with fresh and local ingredients. 

Sure, you can get simple scrambled eggs and bacon, but why not expand your horizons with farmhouse hash (picture), a smoked salmon and roasted vegetable frittata, a carnitas burrito with pork and eggs or a BLT Benedict on a toasted ciabatta roll?

Instead of regular pancakes, give the cinnamon chip pancakes a try, or maybe go healthy with one of First Watch’s quinoa power bowls.

And, a Million Dollar Bloody Mary made with New Amsterdam Gluten Free Vodka and Million Dollar Bacon will surely kickstart your day. — JCC

2 — Wolf’s Den is terrific. They keep it simple, and that’s a compliment. Eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and coffee and an old-time diner feel give it a homey feeling unmatched by other breakfast places.

3 — Cracker Barrel, with locations in Wesley Chapel and just off BBD in New Tampa, typically serves up tasty country breakfasts, although, with its vast menu, you can start your day off with meatloaf while the kids down pancakes.

4 — Brunchies has been another favorite with locals since moving into the former Stage Left location on S.R. 54 in Lutz, a little west of the outlet mall. And, you can add a mimosa to enjoy the great breakfast and lunch items. 

5 — The Brunchery is new to the local scene (on BBD in New Tampa), but has been a welcome addition, thanks to its sizable portions of morning favorites, house-made biscuits, french toast, skillets, potatoes and more.

The Next 6, in order of votes: Panera Bread, Big Apple Bagels (Lutz), Buttermilk Provisions, Waffle House, Bagelicious, Bayscape Bistro.

Twistee Treat doesn’t just offer a large selection of delicious soft serve desserts, it also offers what few other places can without even serving up its first cone — the excitement of ordering from people inside, well, a giant 25-foot fiberglass ice cream cone.

Twistee Treat, with a Bruce B. Downs Blvd. location each in Wesley Chapel (at S.R. 54) and New Tampa (at New Tampa Rd.), keeps it relatively simple, which might explain its success. Plus, the homemade soft serve ice cream is good, the toppings are plentiful and there’s just enough variety to keep you coming back.

The menu has a selection of teats like shakes, slushies, sundaes and even Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, if you need a quick bite before dessert.

Whether it’s a simple vanilla or chocolate ice cream cone, with a chocolate dip, or a Twirl blended with your choice of candy and cookie bites, or one of the popular waffle tacos, Twistee Treat is the most popular dessert stop for New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News readers this year.  — JCC

2 — Ice Dreammm Shop is the best Mom-n-Pop ice cream place around, with fresh-made ice cream, funky flavors (including some with alcohol, for adults only) and no artificial colors. They may need to add a few more “mmms” to their name.  

3 — Coldstone Creamery has some of the tastiest ice cream around, and watching them fold in the mix-in treats is always a joy. And, don’t sleep on last year’s winner’s ice cream cakes — they are arguably among the best around. 

4 — Nothing Bundt Cakes was last year’s runner-up in this category, and still has the most outstandingly moist bundt cakes or mini bundtelets around. A Nothing Bundt Cake is always a great gift to bring to parties. 

5 — Bruster’s Real Ice Cream is a long-time New Tampa staple that has withstood the test of time. A massive variety of flavors and combinations makes it perfect for a family of varying desires. Try the ice cream pies!

The Next 8, in order of votes: 365 Caffe Italiano, Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen, Grain & Berry, Buttermilk Provisions, Cake Shop, Menchie’s, Mr. Penguin.

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