Veronica Cuebas and Spiro Tsaboukos. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Veronica Cuebas works at The Breakfast Club at Midtown. Owner Spiro Tsaboukos is in the process of opening four more locations in Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Morgan Hill and Castro Valley. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Groucho Marx once said he would not care to belong to any club that would have him as a member. But if he’d seen the fantasyland of selections at The Breakfast Club at Midtown San Jose, it is likely he would have made an exception.

While the menu is broken down into traditional breakfast and brunch such as pancakes, omelets, salads and sandwiches, the individual dishes show a range of influences and creativity. There are Greek salads side by side with Korean chicken fried rice. Bacon, pecan and coconut waffles can be paired with vodka-enhanced sweet spiced pear mimosas that arrive from the well-stocked bar.

“We’re not just any breakfast diner,” server Veronica Cuebas told San José Spotlight. “We’re vibey. We have good music, fun people and the very best menu with a lot of choices. I always tell customers, ‘Take some time with our book.’”

Owner Spiro Tsaboukos’ father arrived from Greece in the 1970s. After working in local kitchens, he bought Lou’s, a coffee shop in Los Gatos, in 1983. The family still owns Lou’s, and Tsabouko’s first job was there, starting as a dishwasher and learning the trade from his father.

In 2007, the family opened Opa!, a Greek restaurant in Willow Glen—the first of six locations—and jumped at the chance to take over an empty storefront in 2016, creating The Breakfast Club at Midtown.

“Breakfast is where my heart is,” Tsaboukos said, “and I’m trying to do something unique and different here with as many handmade things as possible. Could I do the frozen hash browns? Sure—but I don’t.”

Camila Ruiz holding the Midtown Trio: raspberry stuffed French toast, a red velvet pancake and a blueberry lemon ricotta pancake. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Camila Ruiz holding the Midtown Trio: raspberry stuffed French toast, a red velvet pancake and a blueberry lemon ricotta pancake. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Indeed, The Breakfast Club at Midtown has one employee who spends the day cooking and peeling potatoes. The orange juice is freshly squeezed on order. And Tsaboukos is always experimenting with new dishes.

“Spiro turns a lot of things that you don’t think aren’t breakfast worthy into breakfast foods,” Cuebas said. “He’s working on a chow mein which is going to be on the menu soon. You don’t think of chow mein as a breakfast food, but Spiro can do it.”

Priding himself on having something for everybody, Tsaboukos versatility can be seen throughout the menu. It particularly shines in his “Sweets” menu, a tempting assortment of pancakes, waffles and French toast.

Dishes range from simple crisp waffles and buttermilk pancakes to more exotic fare such as s’mores pancakes with Nutella, marshmallows and graham crackers, and a Peach Cobbler variation with cinnamon vanilla pancakes topped with caramelized peaches and crushed graham crackers.

The most popular items are french toast stuffed with raspberry cream cheese and raspberry syrup, the red velvet pancakes, which have a richness that comes from cocoa powder and a hint of coffee, and ricotta pancakes infused with lemon peel and topped with blueberries and a cream cheese frosting.

Clearly aware that deciding on just one of the “sweets” is a next-to-impossible task, diners can opt for the restaurant’s showcase Midtown Trio, a choice of any three items artfully arraigned on a huge platter.

There is a Midtown Duo as well, a choice of any two of the Benedicts that the restaurant makes. The dishes can be ordered separately, of course, but with choices like the Neptune, a little mountain of shrimp, crab and avocado wedges, or the New York, a combination of cream cheese, lox, poached egg, pickled onions and fried capers on a bagel.

The Midtown Duo with linguiça and carnitas Benedicts. Photo by Robert Eliason.
The Midtown Duo with linguiça and carnitas Benedicts. Photo by Robert Eliason.

The Breakfast Club’s twists on Mexican favorites, like huevos rancheros with steak and omelets made with chorizo, are popular and appear on the Ranchero Breakfast menu. The chilaquiles, in particular, sparkle with flavor. Made with house-baked tortilla chips that are sauteed in a sweet, earthy guajillo chile sauce just long enough to soften them without losing their crispiness, they are topped with a sunny-side-up egg and a generous portion of slow-cooked braised beef.

“I am experimenting all the time, and I try to be different,” Tsaboukos said. “When I go out to eat, I choose the weirdest things on the menu and if I like it, I will try to incorporate a little bit of it into one of my dishes.”

Tsaboukos, who is in the process of opening four more Breakfast Club locations in Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Morgan Hill and Castro Valley, loves the business he grew up in.

“Everybody says there’s a lot of stress in it, but it’s never boring,” he said. “I want the place to be hip, vibrant and the kind of place where I get to meet new people every day as customers.”

Contact Robert Eliason at [email protected].

Editor’s Note: The Biz Beat is a series highlighting local small businesses and restaurants in Silicon Valley. Know a business you’d like to see featured? Let us know at [email protected].

The Breakfast Club at Midtown

Located at 1432 W. San Carlos St. #80 in San Jose

(408) 564-7150

Open daily 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.




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