Starting the Day with a Good Breakfast

Growing up, breakfast was always a hectic time at my house.

The Robinson clan lived in several houses during our tenure in Ludlow and Bromley and each of those homes had just one bathroom. My sisters and I usually spent most mornings staying out of Dad’s way as he got ready to catch the Green Line bus downtown.

Despite my mom’s insistence that breakfast—which according to some unwritten Mom-rule had to include an egg at least twice a week—was the most important meal of the day, it was a staggered meal for our family, scheduled according to seniority. Or maybe it was height. Either way, I was last.

Seeing as only the family pets were fed after me, I never really liked a home-cooked breakfast. I preferred downing a quick bowl of Captain Crunch (with crunchberries) before I was out the back door to join my pals in the alley for the walk to school.

When I became involved in politics, I realized more deals were cut over runny eggs, greasy sausage and bad coffee than could ever be worked in the halls of Frankfort. Northern Kentucky has a rich and delicious history of eateries that specialized in not only serving breakfast to many generations of Kentuckians, but also serving up political discourse.

Ludlow’s Stag Café

Back when the railroad was King in Northern Kentucky, all the bars in Ludlow used to open up at 6 a.m. in order to cater to the third shift workers from the Southern yard. As kids, we’d have to stop by the Stag each morning so a couple of my friends could get lunch money from their dads. City and county politicians frequented this early morning haunt to buy beers for the adults and Slim Jims for their kids. All politics is local.


Located on Scott Street, about the place where today TANK buses pull out of the Kenton County parking garage, Whitey’s was a favorite of the Kenton County Courthouse crowd. After getting a good butt-kicking in one of the first cases I ever tried, the crusty old lawyer who delivered the beating took me to breakfast at Whitey’s in order to explain all I had done wrong. The Judge in the case, Jim Gilliece, ended up sitting down with us and joining in on the tutorial.


John and Caroline Cain started this Florence culinary mainstay in the ‘50s. Drive through the intersection of 25 and 42 and you can almost hear their son, Biz, and Mayor for Life Pop Whalen arguing over the location of the city’s water tower at that new-fangled mall they were building up the street.

Spare Time Grill

Nowhere in NKY was the fine line between the north and south parts of a county better defined than the Spare Time Grill in Alexandria. The vacated building is so old school, it was recently used as a set location for the filming of the 1950s era movie Carol and is surely haunted by the ghost of George Ratterman seeking support from those south county folks to toss the rackets out of Newport.


Before its fall from grace with I-75 travelers, the Drawbridge was one of the political places to see and be seen. Chaucer’s was just across from London Hall and was once where an omelet (and Jerry Deter’s political world view) could be found 24/7.

Mom was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Meet me at Pee Wee’s Place in Crescent Springs and we’ll talk about it over eggs. It’s important to eat them twice a week, you know.