Where in Westchester to Host a Power Breakfast
Local professionals sound off on why the early-morning meet-up still holds sway in Westchester.
City Limits Diner
The Power Breakfast: The idea conjures images of ’70s-era businessmen laying the groundwork for their next big deal over dishes of scrambled eggs, bacon, and breakfast potatoes. But in 2018, when pitaya bowls have replaced pancakes, and Skype calls are the new face-to-face, does the power breakfast still exist?
In short, yes. “Breakfasts are still a very powerful way to connect and develop business. As we become more technological and virtual, traditional face-to-face meetings are becoming even more meaningful,” says Business Council of Westchester president and CEO Marsha Gordon. “Breakfasts, especially early ones, do not interrupt the day’s workflow. And, as more people work as solopreneurs, breakfast becomes the new water cooler for many business owners and professionals who are not tied to their offices.”
Whisk at the Crowne Plaza is open for breakfast by 6:30 a.m.
For exploring a new referral, networking, or a short brainstorming session, breakfast can be an easier and more efficient meal than lunch or dinner. City Limits remains Westchester’s top spot for a pre-office power breakfast (nearly everyone we spoke to recommended it). Owned by the Livanos Restaurant Group, which includes Moderne Barn in Armonk, the cavernous White Plains diner is sleeker than the traditional greasy spoon. The menu includes breakfast classics, like blueberry pancakes with Grade A maple syrup, house-smoked Atlantic salmon, and an array of omelets, as well as healthier options, like scrambled egg whites and the county’s best Greek yogurt bowl with seasonal fruit, candied walnuts, and honey.
“It’s not uncommon to see a line of people forming to get in,” says Stacey Cohen, president and CEO of Co-Communications in White Plains. “I typically meet clients or business colleagues there at 7:30 a.m., when it opens. Once you get into the office, it can be very hard to get out for lunch. I’d rather go to breakfast at City Limits and then head into the office.”
Mt. Kisco Diner is known for its pancakes.
Keep Things Casual
A breakfast spot should prioritize comfort and convenience. “For me, it’s all about relationship building,” says Ronnie Ram, president and CEO of Inspiria Outdoor in White Plains. “The goal should be to advance a relationship. Sometimes that comes in the form of business, but often it’s about idea sharing and getting to know each another. I like The Beehive [in Armonk], which is informal, friendly, and has great omelets.”
Beehive also brings great value with nearly everything — smoked-salmon eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles with berries, and house-made corned beef hash — priced well under $15. “Lunch not only takes more time out of your business day, but it’s a bigger hit to the expense account,” says Thompson & Bender partner Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson.
Auray Gourmet’s farmhouse omelet
Mt. Kisco Diner ticks other boxes, with space to spread out for team meetings, free WiFi, and a large menu of classics that have mass appeal. Smaller spots, like Pop’s Espresso Bar in New Rochelle, are better for catching up with a single client over perfectly pulled espresso shots, egg sandwiches, or trendy avocado toast. And tiny Auray Gourmet in Larchmont is quiet and ideally situated — near I-95 and just a 10-minute walk from the town’s Metro-North station — with an indulgent menu of French omelets, waffles, and crêpes.
The Lobby Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton in White Plains
Hotels Offer High-End Options
Finding a breakfast spot for a splurge-worthy client can be challenging. “It’s difficult to find a nicer restaurant open for breakfast, so hotel lobbies tend to be a good place,” says Angela Ciminello, VP of development and marketing for the Wartburg in Mount Vernon. “I will meet donors with a higher capacity to give in a fancier place. [At a hotel,] the setting is nice, and the food is generally good.”
With a cozy fireplace and plush armchairs, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester’s Lobby Lounge offers a luxurious take on breakfast, serving upscale riffs on traditional dishes, like oatmeal brûlée and truffle eggs Benedict. All open by 6:30 a.m., Whisk at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains, Bistro Z at DoubleTree by Hilton Tarrytown, and Hive Living Room + Bar at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel offer an inviting mix of stylish surrounds, polished service, and an intimate atmosphere for discussing client concerns and opportunities.
Equally important: All are well situated. “They’re on major thoroughfares, including I-95, 287, the Merritt, and the Hutch,” points out Frank Micalizzi, regional president/SVP of M&T Bank in Tarrytown. “They’re in locations where people can shoot off a highway, meet for an hour for breakfast and then go back to work.”