Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? If you’re like me, breakfast during the week looks like coffee and running out the door. Come Saturday, though, breakfast is the first thought I have when I open my eyes. At the beginning of quarantine, I had the motivation to create my own breakfast masterpieces, but, alas, that was short lived. These days, breakfast on the weekends is my refuge in — dare I say — unprecedented times.

In my humble opinion, the breakfast sandwich is unbeatable. I visited five spots in Champaign-Urbana for a morning sandwich, and here are all the details.

A photo of the egg sandwich from Flying Machine Avionics. The sandwich is cut in half, showing melted cheese topped with fluffy scrambled eggs, arugula, tomato slices and cream cheese. The sandwich is served on sourdough bread. Photo by Megan Friend.Photo by Megan Friend.

Flying Machine Avionics

My first stop on this breakfast saga was Flying Machine Avionics, located on First and Clark Street in the Midtown area of Champaign. You can order inside, although only three patrons are allowed in at one time. The egg sandwich ($7.50) consists of fluffy, peppery scrambled eggs, veggie cream cheese, muenster cheese, tomato slices, and arugula on sourdough — which arguably might be the best bread for breakfast sandwiches. My tried and true test of any breakfast sandwich: will all the sandwich components spill out upon biting? I’m happy to report that this egg sandwich passed the test. The sourdough was the perfect thickness and was toasted but not too toasted. The cream cheese added a necessary tang, and the muenster was melted to perfection. The sandwich wasn’t greasy or overwhelmingly huge. I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

Hot tip: the coffee here is unreal, so you should not leave the establishment without one.

Flying Machine Avionics
202 S. First St
M-F 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa+Su 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A photo of the spinach, egg and cheese sandwich from The Bread Company. The sandwich is served on buttered, toasted white bread and a small bit of spinach peaks out from inside the sandwich. The cheese is melted and on top of scrambled eggs, all sitting on a foil wrapper. Photo by Megan Friend.Photo by Megan Friend.

The Bread Company

The spinach, egg and cheese sandwich ($3.89) from The Bread Co. leads me to believe that less is more. The sandwich comes on toasty white bread and is buttery on the outside and slathered with mayo on the inside (yes, please). The egg to bread ratio was great, and the spinach was not overwhelming. Every bite burst with consistent, pleasant flavor. This sandwich was by far the simplest in terms of ingredients but potentially my favorite in flavor. It doesn’t hurt that it was also the most affordable. And in the words of my idol, the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten, “How bad can that be?”

The Bread Company is currently serving breakfast Monday through Friday between 8 and 11 in the mornings. They have a cute walk-up window where you can order your food or, in my case, nicely request that your husband orders it for you and delivers it to your job on a Friday.

The Bread Company
706 S Goodwin Ave
M 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
T-F 8 a.m. to close
Sa 3 p.m. to close

A photo of the Sunrise Bagel Sandwich from Common Ground Food Co-op. The sandwich is served on an everything bagel, cut in half. The photo is a front-facing view of arugula pesto, cheese, caramelized onion, tomato slices, spinach and scrambled egg on top of its foil wrapping. Photo by Megan Friend.Photo by Megan Friend.

Common Ground Food Co-Op

Nestled on Lincoln Square’s east side, Common Ground is quintessential Urbana. Walk in and head to the back-left corner where you will find the deli serving up some fire foods. If you’re still feeling a little weary of crowds these days, I would recommend not visiting on a Saturday morning while the Urbana Farmer’s Market is also happening because I can tell you from experience, it was buzzing with people, and the line to check out was fairly long. But I was there on business, and my business was their sunrise bagel sandwich ($8.50).

This heavy hitter of egg, cheddar cheese, arugula pesto, spinach, tomato, avocado, and caramelized onion comes on the bagel of your choice — and if you know what’s good for you, you will choose an everything bagel because you only live once. This sandwich is the most expensive on this list, but it will keep you full long into your day. I was expecting a bagel bursting with flavor given the laundry list of ingredients, but for me, it felt like too much of a good thing. Don’t get me wrong: I ate the whole thing, but the ingredients all seemed to compete with each other rather than compliment each other.

Common Ground Food Co-Op
300 S Broadway Ave
8 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily

A sun-soaked photo of the Morning Bender sandwich from Cracked on Green shows a light colored french roll with layers of cream cheese, cheddar cheese and hashbrowns sitting on top of it's wrapper. Photo by Megan Friend. Photo by Megan Friend.

Cracked on Green

While Cracked is not new to me (I frequented their food truck as a grad student on campus), it’s been a while since I enjoyed one of their sandwiches. For this experience, I went simple with their morning bender sandwich ($8.25) complete with cheddar cheese, hashbrowns, a fried egg, and cream cheese on a French roll. I’ll be honest, I was a little concerned that I’d get a greasy sandwich overwhelmed with potato, but I was pleasantly surprised to bite into a well-rationed, flavorful concoction. It seems like the kind of sandwich that could cure the gnarliest of hangovers, but gone are my days of struggling out of bed at 11 a.m. for a breakfast sandwich and tots (although their tots are great). For this 30-something wannabe adult, it paired great with coffee at 8 a.m. all the same. I ordered this sandwich through Uber Eats, picked it up after 10 minutes, and promptly exited campus before memories of my undergrad years came back to haunt me. Cracked Food Truck has moved away, but you can get your Cracked fix at their brick and mortar store on Green Street.

Cracked On Green
619 E. Green St
8 a.m. to midnight, daily

Photo by Megan Friend.

Hopscotch Bakery + Market

Located on the corner of John and Pine Street in Champaign, Hopscotch is a cute corner market. Any Hopscotch pro would know that hiding in the lunch section on their menu is a delicious breakfast sandwich waiting to be discovered and devoured. Something you should know, though, is that the sandwich comes cold. For some, this may not be their thing, and to those people I say: stick that sucker in a pan, microwave, panini press, what have you, and be on your way.

Nestled between a fat brioche bun was peppery scrambled eggs, veggie “sausage,” cheddar cheese, and an herb cream cheese: all for only $4.50. This was my second sandwich with cream cheese, and I did not hate it. Hopscotch has an extremely easy online ordering process. Patrons are not allowed inside the building currently, but they have a pickup table stationed right outside their front door. Simply give your name, and a worker will bring you your order. Be warned, though, their goodies sell out — especially on weekends. Fear not: you can pre-order the night before.

Hopscotch Bakery + Market
802 W. John St
Tu-Su 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Read about even more (to-go) breakfast sandwiches here

Top image by Megan Friend.