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Budget Beat: $2.99 Breakfast at 12 East Café

If you live or work downtown and need a quick and cheap(!!) breakfast, you can do no worse than 12 East Café, right across the street from the light-rail stop on Jefferson and 12th streets. Here's the deal with this place (btw, it's right across the street from New Times' office): It's not gonna blow your mind with amazing food, but the breakfast is better than average and the place is highly accessible if you work anywhere near downtown.

12 East has had a banner hanging outside for a while now that says "$2.99 Breakfast Special." I finally popped in to give it a go, because $2.99 is damn cheap. Heck, to get a 20-ounce Diet Coke and a package of cinnamon and brown sugar Pop-Tarts in the New Times vending machines, it will set you back $2.25, and all it will get you is a sugar rush, an overdose on corn syrup, and a whole lotta hydrogenated, processed badness in your body.

So, what could this $2.99 breakfast possibly be? A muffin and a couple of grapes and canteloupe slices in a cup? Nope, you get the full complement of breakfast staples: egg, bacon or sausage, and a couple of pancakes. The egg is prepared however you'd like, the bacon is crisp and flavorful, and the pancakes, well, they come straight from an over-the-counter mix, but who cares? Remember, you're spending only $2.99 to consume The Most Important Meal of the Day.

One thing I've always liked about 12 East is its quick service (my meal was out within minutes) and its tidy and clean atmosphere. It's a pleasant room in which to sit, deliver caffeine to your body, think about the day ahead as the light rail zips by full of worker bees just like yourself. 

I should note that are other breakfast options on the menu: an omelet ($6.95), biscuits and gravy ($4.95), corned beef hash ($7.95), French toast ($6.95), and waffle ($6.95). 

So, the next time you're heading downtown and need a quick breakfast that won't put too big a dent in your lunch budget, you may want to consider giving 12 East Café a shot. 

12 East Café
1153 East Jefferson Street
Hours: Daily, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (breakfast served all day)
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