The best part of a road trip is waking up and figuring out where you're going to eat. You might as well have it at one of the best breakfast destinations in America. It's never fun to waste a meal, so we've used our time-tested technique of asking people whose opinions we trust—and leaning into our own experiences—to create a travel guide to the best breakfasts out there. A few rules: The places didn't have to fit a particular mold or serve any specific dish, but they have to be open for breakfast on most weekdays (brunch-on-weekends-only joints, you'll get your time in the sun), and they need to open to everyone (sorry, kick-ass room service French toast and poolside country club spreads).
Sure, there are plenty more wonderful waffle platters and a bounty of eggs Benny options to be had out there, but we're putting our Extra Crispy Breakfast Stamp of Approval on this list of 51 of the best breakfast destinations in America.
Bogue's is only open from 6 a.m. until noon on weekdays and until 2 p.m. on weekends, when you'll often find a line out the door of hungry customers waiting for an omelet or the excellent biscuits and gravy. It's no newcomer to the scene, either—the diner opened in 1938 and shows no sign of slowing down.
If a restaurant has "breakfast" in the name of their restaurant, certain expectations are set. OBH over-delivers in the form of meaty eggs and omelets decked with linguica, Arizona beef, chicken-fried steak, ham, Spam, carnitas, or chili, as well as lovingly prepped pancakes and French toast with a bounty of fruity and sweet fillings and toppings. If you can't find your dream breakfast here, you just aren't trying hard enough.
Los Angeles, California
"Forty-seven minutes after I joined The Line, I have my food in front of me. I hesitate a moment before the ricotta toast—what if it’s not worth the wait? Only one way to find out! I take a bite, which is less like biting into a piece of toast and more like immersing my entire face in a lake of sweet, creamy cheese. It is glorious. Time stops. I am not eating the toast. I am the toast. I would have waited twice as long for this. And one day, if I’m lucky, I will." Read "I Will Wait in Line at Sqirl for As Long As It Takes"
San Francisco, California
"For the past 15 years, Liz Prueitt and her husband, Chad Robertson, have combined ambition and simplicity in a way only a city that was then as earnest as the City by the Bay could. Their marriage is a match made in baked-goods heaven: She does the pastry, he’s on bread—but there’s more to it than that. Robertson’s bread was (and is) among the best in the country, and Prueitt’s pastries and cakes, many of them gluten-free, have their own cult-like following. Take, for instance, her morning bun, scented with candied orange and coated in magic dust in the form of just-crunchy-enough cinnamon sugar, or big, buttery croissants, hard to the touch but filled with whisper-thin flaky layers. These aren’t mind-bending desserts, just the simple pleasures that stick in your brain like the silky filling of their banana cream pie." Read "Tartine Bakery Has Been Open for 15 Years, and There’s Still a Line"
Pore over the menu for a moment and you'll see sausage breakfast tacos, chicken and waffles, and bacon hash—your standard meaty breakfast fare. Look a little harder once that first cup of coffee kicks in and you'll notice that every one of those is vegetarian—from the sausage to the chicken-fried cauliflower to the carrot or tempeh bacon. Plus almost everything can be made vegan or gluten-free. Come back once the sun sets and kick back with a whiskey on the patio. (Don't worry—that's vegetarian, too.)
West Hartford, Connecticut
Don't roll in expecting avocado toast and a grain bowl here. This is a no-frills, cash-only, breakfast-all-day joint that sticks to diner classics like omelets, pancakes, and home fries, and does a bang-up job at 'em. The snug space was built in 1931 by Aristides “Harry” Bassilakis and by all accounts, not much has changed. Lo these many decades later, members of the family are still running the place, and chances are, Harry would approve.
"If you’re visiting Miami, you’re probably staying somewhere on South Beach. Ignore what your concierge says, because chances are they’re getting paid to recommend places. Instead of eating at some overpriced tourist trap, head to one of Miami’s favorite Cuban spots: Puerto Sagua. Opened in 1962, Puerto Sagua was a fixture on Collins Avenue long before South Beach was SOUTH BEACH WOOO!!! Outside is tourist heaven—lots of shopping and even better people watching. Inside, you can find locals and tourists sitting elbow to elbow at the wraparound counter enjoying a café con leche." Read "The Best Cuban Breakfast in Miami Is at Puerto Sagua"
Just about any respectable breakfast place can turn out a decent plate of eggs and bacon, but you might feel a little extra blessed when the ingredients and dishes feel specific to a place. At the Southern-rooted West Egg Cafe, that means a pimento cheese and bacon omelet, some pretty tremendous shrimp 'n' grits, a "Georgia Benedict" over a biscuit, and the option of fried green tomatoes on the side. Morning, y'all. Read "West Egg Cafe Is Atlanta's Can't-Miss Brunch Spot"
"Yep, anise wine for breakfast. If you make the right choice, here's what you'll order: a bowl of creamy, stomach-settling lugao, quickly followed by a bursting-to-the-seams platter of a pile of garlic fried rice, a gorgeous tangle of bright scarlet tocino (annato—a red plant extract—and anise-cured pork shoulder), a few links of equally red longanizo (anise wine-cured chorizo, more or less), a small pot of soupy beans, a small dish of heavy-on-the-tomato pico de gallo, and two perfectly fried sunny-side-up eggs draped over everything. When it arrives, you should sprinkle the dish with a few deliberate turns of the pepper mill and you should add milk and sugar to your coffee." Read "The Best Filipino Breakfast in Chicago Is at Uncle Mike's Place"
In 1945, a Chicago woman named Ann Sather bought a diner from a couple who were about to retire, and for 35 years, she ran it herself. In 1981, she sold the restaurant to 24-year-old Tom Tunney, who trained with her for a year to learn all her secrets—including her signature Swedish pancakes (meatballs are an optional side) and the cinnamon rolls that to this day are something of a regional obsession. A fun note: The restaurants (there are three locations) are BYOB, but they'll be happy to set you up with the rest of the makings for a bloody mary or mimosa.
Nope, Walker Bros. isn't just a made-up restaurant from Mean Girls. Since its opening in 1960, the breakfast-centric chain has expanded to seven locations throughout the Northern suburbs of Chicago, but the original outpost in Wilmette is something extra special, with an interior illuminated by stained glass lamps and windows, and a (usually) fast-moving line snaking out the door. It feels not unlike a house of breakfast worship, and that's not far off base; the house blend of Kona coffee even comes with pure whipping cream rather than milk.
"Eat and get out!" is this motto of this Bloomington staple, but it's all pretty tongue-in-cheek. A longtime fan and eternal Indiana booster tersely describes its appeal as "Breakfast always solid and packed. Omelet. Biscuit. Strong coffee. Smartass. Hilarious." Yes, of course, you can buy t-shirts and boxers(!) with the slogan printed on it.
Iowa City, Iowa
Yes, there existed at one time Hamburgs No. 1 and 3, but No. 2 is all that remains, and it's run by Dave Panther—a professional clown. He bought the restaurant from the previous owners, his parents Fran and Fritz, in 1979 and has kept up their ideal of "comfort food in a '50s time capsule." Don't question any item with "chzegg" in the name—just go ahead and order that or the Iowa omelet with grilled ham, hash browns and American cheese.
From 1943 to 1986, the Limbocker family ruled the comfort food roost with the Chef Cafe, but Manhattanites had to do without once the family decided to close the business. A few hungry, nostalgic pals got together in 2008 and reopened the much-beloved spot, complete with the original sign provided by the Riley County Historical Society. They switched the menu focus to breakfast—complete with a robust array of adult beverages—and a local obsession was reborn.
Kick-ass Mexican breakfast in the Bluegrass State? Yup. Married co-owners Jesus and Izmene Martinez both came from food-centric families in Mexico and missed the breakfast staples they'd grown up with. Their nostalgia was Louisvillians' gain, because their tiny cafe turns out stunningly good chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, tortas, Mexican coffee, and other morning fare from early morning to mid-afternoon daily.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Beyonce recently feasted on fried chicken biscuits at Willa Jean. Chef Kelly Fields was a finalist for the 2017 James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Award. And you read the Beyonce part, right? If that's not enough to convince you, just watch this video of Fields making the Extra Crispy staff the best biscuits and gravy of their lives and see if it takes you more than 10 minutes to book yourself a trip to New Orleans. Watch "How to Make the Best Biscuits and Gravy of Your Life"
"There are probably four or five essential diner staples: coffee, eggs, bacon, toast, and pancakes. As far as I can tell, Palace Diner uses these ingredients in ways that are creative and exciting without being too precious. For example, the super fluffy buttermilk flapjacks are spiked with a little grated lemon zest. The hash brown potatoes are whole red potatoes that have been blanched, then crushed, then fried so that the skin is crispy and the interior is creamy. The locally-sourced eggs are rich and have yolks the color of saffron. Perfectly crispy strips of thick cut applewood bacon are so long that they snake around your plate (but the Taylor ham is what you really want). The toast is made from bread from local bakeries instead of packaged brands, and they serve it correctly by not stacking the pieces on top of each other so that they steam and get all soggy. I hate that. The delicious coffee is from Tandem Roasters in Portland. Drip only. Four local canned beers are available—even at breakfast. How Maine of them." Read "51 of America's Best Diners"
As a longtime Baltimore resident we trust put it: "Detectives from real life Wire hangout. John Waters likes their turkey sandwiches. Classic diner." There's nothing fancy on the menu, but a pretty hearty meal costs just a few bucks, and there's always the option of scrapple on the side. Sounds like a pretty good deal, hon.
"I could write thousands of words singing the praises about the sweet, tender, silky egg on this sandwich, the way it works in tandem with the buttery bun, the tangy greens, the crispy bacon—but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just implore you to go to Flour Bakery in Boston to get your own breakfast sandwich, so you can casually change everything you thought you knew about eggs on bread." Read "The Best Egg Sandwich in Boston Is at Flour Bakery"
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Zingerman's slings some of the best breakfast sandwiches in the country, and that's due in no small part to their obsessive sourcing of magnificent ingredients. Think Broadbent Kentucky sausage patties, Edwards Virginia breakfast sausage links, Nueske's applewood-smoked bacon, and Ducktrap River cold smoked salmon. The sandwich deck is stacked from the get-go.
"When in metro Detroit, you’re sure to find yourself eating Middle Eastern cuisine, given the region has among the largest Arab American populations in the country. For breakfast, go for the Foul Mudamas at the Yemeni-owned Sheeba in Hamtramck. It’s a traditional dish consisting of mashed fava beans and topped with tomatoes, onions and tahini. You can also opt for foul and eggs for added protein." Read "13 Breakfast Dishes in Detroit You Have to Try"
When co-founders Niki Stavrou and Victor Valens bought the restaurant in 1999, there were no Cuban restaurants in the Twin Cities. Valens, who hailed from Cuba, saw a perfect opportunity to celebrate the cuisine of his homeland. Though he eventually sold his part of the business to Stavrou, the menu and decor still heavily reflect his influence in dishes like Eggs Havana served with yuca frita and mojo, corn pancakes, and sides of cheese croquetas and platanos maduros alongside Greek omelets and French toast. There's also a breakfast happy hour from 8-10 a.m. on weekdays with $4 sake bloody marys and tropical mimosas for diners looking to get an early start or late finish to the day.
"Nearly nine years after BBB opened its doors in Oxford, lines still snake out for epic waits at the original location and a second one in Birmingham, Alabama. Diners are happy to cool their heels and get their fill of chef John Currence’s legendary Pel 'Egg' Can Brief (two eggs soft poached on a toasted English muffin with country ham and hollandaise, served with a side of grits or home fries), The Awesome (called The Hospitable in the Bham location—it’s anything on the menu you want, stuffed into an omelet), and other amped-up a.m. plates. For those who can’t hack the lines or swing the drive, the BBB cookbook offers up Currence’s 10 Commandments of Breakfast ('Thou shalt slather with butter.'), and recipes for crawfish cakes, sausage cinnamon rolls, and a life-changing sausage gravy." Read "The Biggest, Baddest, Best Breakfast Chef of 2016"
St. Louis, Missouri
"The Mud House is maybe the first "cool" coffee shop I went to as a teenager. In my suburban mind, it was downtown, in an (at the time) up-and-coming neighborhood. The baristas and cooks had beards and cool glasses and wore gauges in their ears. The coffee was rich and strong and carefully brewed, and when you stayed in to eat breakfast, it just kept coming. With such a "cool" vibe, you'd be forgiven for thinking—like I did—that the food would be lacking. But oh, you'd be wrong. The breakfast sandwiches are hearty; the platters are savory, balanced gut busters; and even the yogurt and granola seems revelatory. And though I haven't put this to the test, I'd imagine the burrito is as good a hangover cure as it was soccer practice fuel."
Las Vegas, Nevada
"The Peppermill is legendary for its ginormous servings: hubcap-sized burgers and four-inch-thick sandwiches. And they don't skimp on their fruit salad, either, a mass of fresh melon, berries, bananas, oranges, seemingly an entire garden's worth of produce on one plate. It's a sight so impressive that foreign tourists have been known to snap photos of it as a prime example of American excess. Did we mention that it comes with a loaf of banana bread? A whole freaking loaf!" Read "10 Las Vegas Breakfasts That Are Sure Bets"
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
There is very little that an all-day breakfast menu can't fix, especially when it comes peppered with eye-rolling, grin-cracking puns like the Doughnut Stop Believin' (a breakfast sandwich on French toasted donuts filled with scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheddar cheese topped with powdered sugar and served with zesty maple sour cream and strawberry habanero jam) and the Can't Bahn Mi Love (a French roll with over easy eggs, smoked salmon, cucumber, garlic aioli, pickled onion slaw, and sriracha glaze). There's also booze. That helps, too.
Montclair, New Jersey
If you’re wondering where to eat breakfast in Montclair, Raymond’s is almost always the answer. Their baristas’ stellar latte art skills are just as charming at the classic luncheonette coffee cups, and the food is even better. From the thick French toast—made with a chewy baguette instead of flimsy bread—to the breakfast BLT (which comes with a hollandaise sauce-smothered poached egg), Raymond’s takes classic Jersey diner dishes up a level with clever twists and super-fresh ingredients.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Breakfast tastes even better if your eyes are allowed to feast as well. At the nearly 40-year-old cafe and gallery, the organic, sustainable, Mexican-influenced menu is best paired with a meditation on the paintings, sculptures, lithographs, cookware, and jewelry on display in the gallery above, as well as the dining room's hand-painted Mexican tiles and murals by painter Leovigildo Martinez.
New York City, New York
Stand in line long enough, and you're gonna need a little nosh. For decades, customers were willing to wait (semi)patiently for a chance to purchase Russ & Daughters' exquisitely smoked fish. Now they have a chance to sit down and sample the appetizing classics in a truly lovely setting away from home. Their top-quality knishes, latkes, caviar, pickles, kugel, herring, and (of course) lox are the stuff of dreams for New Yorkers and tourists the world over.
New York City, New York
"When you live in New York City and work at a breakfast publication, the question, from visiting friends and family members alike, is bound to posed to you at some point: So, where should I go get breakfast here? New York is, of course, full of breakfast options, from the classic hangover-busting bodega egg and cheese on a roll to the bagel with schmear to upscale brunch spots slinging Brussels sprout hash. But the restaurant I always steer my visitors to is Balthazar, the Keith McNally SoHo brasserie that never fails to dish out that ineffable New York experience." Read "Balthazar Is New York's Classic Brasserie Breakfast"
Phoenicia, New York
In 2016 an Eater headline raised the question "Is Phoenicia Diner the Ultimate Upstate Hickster Restaurant?"—meaning, does it appeal to formerly-urban-dwelling hipsters who were priced out of their neighborhoods and moved upstate. Their verdict was the correct one: The food is so dang good it doesn't matter. It's a smart meld of diner classics (silver dollar pancakes) and modern staples (avocado toast) all made with sustainalocaganivore attention to detail. The hipsters are sometimes on point—but they knew it way before the rest of us did.
Woodside, New York
Love Irish breakfast? Great! Here's the whole dang thing all stuffed into a single omelet that'll bring a greedy grin to your lips as it sends you into an instant coma right there at the table. The signature Stop Inn three-egg omelet has Irish bacon, Irish sausage, tomato, and American cheese in it, plus a side of toast and hash browns or fries. Not feeling especially eggy? They have you covered with the Irish mixed grill with a lamb chop, liver, bacon, sausage, just the one egg, fried tomato, and black or white pudding. Best of luck.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Nestled amidst the exquisite pastries, croissants, cakes, and macarons is a breakfast item so clever and excellent, it's practically weaponized. The Dixie Cannonball is a scallion biscuit loaded with sausage, cheddar, and sausage gravy ready to ooze out at the stab of a fork. Brace yourself for unabashed pleasure.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
"I was blindsided by a biscuit in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. During a morning scroll through Instagram, I discovered a picture of a beautiful biscuit sandwich, taken at a place just a stone’s throw from where I was staying. It was called the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and the next day I headed straight there for breakfast. I don’t think I’m being unkind to call the Sunrise little more than a very well-maintained shack, but when I pulled up and studied the menu, I saw that their house-made biscuits could be filled with country ham, sausage, gravy, a fried egg, or just plain buttered. Then there were the add-ins: Tomato, cheddar, and randomly, kale (which must have mistakenly wandered over from the menu of a juice bar). I went for country ham with egg and cheese. From the first bite, it was an epiphany (I may have moaned a little)." Read "How to Make Biscuits Like a Pro"
Asheville, North Carolina
At far too many places, "farm-to-table" is a confusing buzz term at best. At Early Girl, it's a guiding principle. The menu is a love letter to the local farmers, artisans, and purveyors who provide the restaurant with its meat, eggs, produce, bread, cheese, condiments, and more and if you're ever in doubt as to where some ingredient comes from, just peek around. It's probably written on a board or piece of paper right in front of you.
If you're in Cincinnati, you've gotta get your goetta fix and Tucker's is the place to do that. The classic mom 'n' pop counter joint has kept locals in solid, honest, all-day breakfast and comfort classics since 1946 and when an accidental grease fire shut the place down in 2015, the community rallied to raise funds and get the Tucker family back in business. This restaurant matters that much.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
"Cafe Kacao is an Oklahoma City staple, serving up hearty Latin American dishes for breakfast and lunch. This restaurant is unassuming from the outside, nestled into an old fast food building off North Classen in OKC. But the inside is buzzy, busy, and friendly. Don’t come if you’re looking for a speedy meal—there will likely be a wait, and meals here are enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Expect multiple cups of coffee, courses, and lots of great conversations with your companions." Read "7 Breakfast Dishes in Oklahoma City You Have to Try"
Wait, didn't we mention Fuller's in our round-up of the 51 best coffee shops in America? Sure did, but that's not going to keep it off this list. This Portland institution has stood the test of time—70 years, in fact—precisely because it hasn't varied from its commitment to generous portions, reasonable prices, and well-made American breakfast staples like waffles, pancakes, hash, omelettes, and endless pours of coffee.
Doesn't fried chicken, doughnuts, and coffee sound like the most brilliant breakfast ever? How 'bout if it's crafted by the 2017 winner for the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award? Federal Donuts is just part of Michael Solomonov's expanding empire, but it presents a unique challenge: The restaurant only serves three things, so each of them has to be made absolutely perfectly every time. (They are.) The shops (there's a string of them now) stay open each day until they sell out.
Two words: Wet Judy. It's a massive, sloppy sandwich consisting of sausage or bacon, hash browns, American cheese, and two sunny side up eggs stacked between two thick slices of toast. And you have to go under a bridge near a penitentiary to find it. Two more words: Worth it.
Newport, Rhode Island
West Coast, Irish, and Portuguese cuisines may not sound like the most likely menu companions, but at the Corner Cafe, it just makes sense. Should you happen to have black and white pudding, bangers, chourico, a Portuguese bolo and Irish brown on your plate all at once, no one would look askance—though your neighbor's fork may end up on your place. Not on purpose; the place is just that snug.
Charleston, South Carolina
"This is Lowcountry grub, classic and delicious, and weekend brunch here is an absolute must. The chef, Robert Stehling, won a James Beard Award and the shrimp and grits are worth writing home about. And yeah, you’ll wait in line. Just remember, there’s a Big Nasty (a.k.a. a fried chicken sandwich on a biscuit) waiting for you inside." Read "The 14 Longest Brunch Lines in America"
A couple pieces of advice for visiting Bryant's: Come hungry and bring cash. Your credit cards are no good here, and biscuits are just omnipresent in breakfast sandwich form, or as part of the massive platters; they come with three on the side. Can't make up your mind? Go for the sampler which includes three eggs, any style, along with a smaller serving of bacon, sausage, country ham, and pork tenderloin as well as three homemade biscuits, country gravy, a potato patty, and grits.
"Pile on Nashville-style hot chicken, mustard, pickles, and honey with the Princess. Slather it with sage-flecked sausage gravy, made daily with pork from the 'Biscuit Pigs' that the restaurant sources locally from Bear Creek Farm. Let your BLT mind be blown with the biscuit version that stacks slices of sweet and spicy thick-cut bacon with tomato jam and lettuce. And if your love affairs lean Francophile, the biscuit French toast with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote will have you stocking a boudoir worth of syrup." Read "The Best Biscuits in Nashville"
"I’ve probably been to Mi Madre’s fifty times and can enthusiastically recommend any of their breakfast offerings, but the most representative breakfast taco on the menu is the #0: bacon, egg, potato, and cheese. Individually, each ingredient is noteworthy: the eggs are fluffy and fresh, the Idaho potatoes are soft and smashed, the grated cheddar-jack cheese is melty and piquant, the spirals of bacon generous and crispy, the flour tortilla powdery and thick. In concert, they unify into a flavor experience that is jarringly pleasurable. Together, the bacon is a sustained undertone anchoring the airy eggs, a crisp note in a chewy symphony." Read "The Best Breakfast Taco in Austin"
Nope, that's not a typo. Breakfast Klub owner Marcus Davis is, per his bio, "best known for his charismatic personality, authentic kustomer appreciation, and his tireless kommitment to the kommunities he serves" and the "k" is deployed so guests will ask about it and remember the place. That's stacking the deck, though—no one is about to forget their hearty, happy-making meal of pork chops and eggs, catfish and grits, or green eggs and ham, all served with an infectious smile and a bottomless kup of koffee.
Love nachos but can't quite make the leap in the pre-noon hours? This Vermont stalwart has your back in the form of the "Bucket-o-Spuds"—a mountain of home fries laden with melted cheese, salsa, sour cream, and green onions. The plate menu is a breakfasty trip around the world in the form of huevos rancheros or verdes, a zydeco breakfast with andouille and beans, an Italian-influenced polenta and eggs, and a Brit-themed plate with ham or sausage, baked beans, a griddled tomato, and marinated mushrooms.
When there's a whole section of the menu devoted to hashes and potato dishes, you know you're in the hands of some hardcore breakfast chefs. There are multiple Benedict options, too, as well of sides of hollandaise available for non-Benedict dishes and you might as well just cozy in for a while. It's a teeny enough place that a hungry waiting patron might end up using you as a makeshift table, but all's fair in war and breakfast.
David Guas' Louisiana-inflected sweets and savory dishes have found a devoted following in the D.C.-adjacent Arlington, Virginia. It's a celebration of biscuit sandwiches (definitely pay the extra fee for a slather of pimento cheese), beignets, and killer breakfast pastries that are buy-one-get-one-free if you can hold off and stop by between 5-7 p.m. But who can wait that long?
Fairmont, West Virginia
"Born out of necessity and straight from the coalfields, the pepperoni roll has a rich immigrant history. Created by an Italian immigrant miner, Giuseppe 'Joseph' Agiro at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia, the pepperoni roll was designed to be a portable miner’s lunch, one that could easily be popped into one’s pants pocket or carried unrefrigerated in a lunch pail. While the state’s coal mining industry has struggled, the pepperoni roll has, in turn, continued on, and in my opinion, the best pepperoni rolls in West Virginia come from the original source, Country Club Bakery." Read "The Best Pepperoni Roll in West Virginia"
It's a 24/7 dive bar that serves breakfast all the time, bolstered by a morning food and booze happy hour from 6-9 a.m. Their motto is "Alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929." What could possibly go wrong?
Sister Bay, Wisconsin
Yes, there are live goats grazing on the roof above your head. Tuck into your Swedish pancakes with lingonberry syrup or Swedish pytt i panna hash with that knowledge in your heart.