There's a framed Expo 86 poster on one wall and an old TV in a wooden cabinet across the room. Sunlight filters in through big street-facing windows, but there's still that gentle muted dimness to the air that helps you feel like you are somewhere familiar and cozy. The basement rec room vibes are on point, and what better to go with the retro feel than heaping plates of Canadian and European comfort food?
Daybreakers is a daytime cafe with an all-day breakfast menu and lunchtime fare that is all about approachable food and classic dishes.
The breakfast menu is a who's who of morning standards, with a stellar line-up of loaded omelettes, scrmbles or eggs benny with sides of their house "smashbrowns." You can tuck into breakfast sandwiches, or satisfy your sweet tooth with their selection of pancakes, waffles, and French Toast.
Cafe has a family tie to Granville Island's beloved German deli
The lunchier options are where you really see Daybreakers' connection to Granville Island's beloved German deli Kaisereck (there's a family tie to this quirky cafe on The Drive), with dishes like a pork schnitzel sandwich, pounded flat and golden fried, served on a soft and buttery brioche bun in your choice of dressed-up style, such as the "classic" with sauerkraut and a "house" sauce.
With Kaisereck's forte being sausages (prepared by a German Sausage Master, natürlich), the four varieties available feature in a couple of key formats here: on a bun with slaw and fries or as part of the Kaisereck Dinner. The platter is a hearty spread showcasing a plump, juicy sausage with slaw and perogies, with sour cream and grainy mustard for dipping.
In addition to the German fare, Daybreakers is doing diner-style classics with a contemporary cafe sensibility, so while you can of course get grilled or spicy fried chicken burgers, you can also get sweet chili tofu bites or a roasted chickpea salad.
If you are an omnivore, though, they are making great beef burgers at Daybreakers, including a fully-loaded breakfast-meets-lunch Bacon Egg Cheese Burger, which features a juicy, well-seasoned patty topped with a fried egg, melty mozzarella, and bacon (may as well add-on some mushrooms for a little extra oomph).
Most of the mains come with the option to get fries (or sub-in a house salad). Among the tweaks since the change to Daybreakers is an emphasis on doing stuff in-house, and the restaurant's prep cooks are getting an arm workout to be certain, turning out their own thin-cut fries. They're also making the "smashbrowns" in house, along with a lot of the sauces and sides.
As a delightful bonus, Daybreakers has a full bar, so you can pair your cozy breakfast or lunch with a Caesar or Mimosa or other bev of your choice.
Daybreakers, which is currently open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., is all about offering warm hospitality and true laid-back vibes...kind of like you're hanging out in your family's basement rec room.
Video: Checking out breakfast and lunch eats at Daybreakers on The Drive
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Note: An earlier version of this article stated the kitchen staff had remained the same, which was accurate at our time of visit but not shortly after publication. The copy has been amended to reflect the change.