The 15 Best Breakfast Spots in the US

Start your day at one of these restaurants, from New York to New Orleans.

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Photo: J Pollack Photography

Bacon. Scrambled eggs with hot buttered toast. Cereal swimming in pools of milk. Breakfast instantly evokes memories of mornings spent dressing stacks of pancakes with maple syrup or heating up a skillet, waiting for that pat of butter to bubble. 

There's nothing quite like breakfast — people around the world echo the sentiment that it's the most important meal of the day. But there's more to breakfast than just its eminence. It’s not only nourishing, but also a gateway to nostalgia (reminiscent of leisurely mornings, of mini marshmallows floating in hot chocolate) and the good old-fashioned Americana of greasy spoons. 

The United States is rife with breakfast options. You'll find a pancake paradise off I-93 in New Hampshire, where grains are stone-ground right on site. And in Indianapolis, you can dine at a brunch-only restaurant, home to inventive pastries and wildly imaginative riffs on the beloved classics. 

We invite you to discover America, one French toast stack at a time. We’ve compiled the best breakfast spots — from diners to cafes to bagel counters — across the United States. So pull up a chair and start nursing that cup of coffee — it's time to breakfast. 

01 of 15

Russ & Daughters Cafe: New York City, NY

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Russ & Daughters

Mornings in New York City simply aren't complete without a bagel swiped with a thick layer of cream cheese and towering sheaths of pink lox. The famed Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side has remained a New York institution for smoked salmon and whitefish since 1914. And, in 2014 the store opened a cafe just around the corner. Here, you can build your own bagel sandwich with smoked fish, cream cheese, tomatoes, and capers, or opt for other appetizing Jewish specialties like chocolate-babka French toast and latkes crowned with applesauce and sour cream.

02 of 15

Phoenicia Diner: Phoenicia, NY

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Kevin Trageser/Courtesy of Phoenicia Diner

Just off Route 28, the Phoenicia Diner remains a breakfast destination for Catskill skiers looking to fuel up before hitting the slopes and summertime tourists traveling throughout upstate New York. Elevated twists on classic diner fare zoom out of the kitchen: French toast slices covered in fresh fruit and drizzled with local maple syrup, and personal-sized skillets brimming with ingredients like house-cured grass-fed brisket, pimento cheese grits, and locally smoked trout, all topped with the requisite runny egg.

03 of 15

Willa Jean: New Orleans, LA

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Willa Jean

At Willa Jean, you're here for the biscuits. Chef Kelly Fields expertly laminates the dough with thick sheets of butter, crafting flaky biscuits often likened to croissants. These tremendous square biscuits might be flecked with pimento cheese, covered in Tabasco honey — this is Louisiana after all — or showered with sausage gravy. Order at least one for the table (although you'll undoubtedly ask for seconds), then dive into a bowl of shrimp and grits or a crawfish omelette. On your way out, stop at the counter to load up on squat banana bread loaves, monkey bread, and chocolate chip cookies.

04 of 15

Kihei Caffe: Maui, HI

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Kihei Caffe

There are far too many worthy options to choose from at Kihei Caffe, a casual breakfast and lunch spot not too far from Kalama Park on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. Here, stacks of buttermilk pancakes are freckled with macadamia nuts, pineapple, coconut, or chocolate chips. The breakfast burrito wobbles with eggs, cheese, home fries, salsa, and guacamole. And the pork fried rice is flush with a slew of ingredients — Portuguese sausage! Ham! Bacon! — and crowned with two eggs made however you like. You'd be remiss not to order one cinnamon roll for the table: flaky pastry dough lined with cinnamon and sugar and capped off with sweet cream icing.

05 of 15

Plow: San Francisco, CA

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Plow

You may be slapped with an hour and a half wait at Plow, Potrero Hill's breakfast gem, but this farm-to-table American restaurant is worth camping out for. There are the beloved lemon ricotta pancakes, for one, and custard French toast, piled with pillows of vanilla mascarpone cream. For those looking for something a little less sweet, try the Plow, which gives you the best of the kitchen: two eggs, coins of lemon ricotta pancakes, spice-flecked potatoes, and your choice of pork sausage patties, bacon, or chicken-apple sausage links.

06 of 15

Paperboy: Austin, TX

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Paper Boy

The only thing served at East Austin's Paperboy is brunch — and that's a good thing. You can opt for something small like toast swiped with mascarpone and a dusting of walnut streusel, or try something more substantial, like the Texas Hash (roasted pork, sweet potato, onion, kale, poached egg, and pecan mole) or the migas (eggs, pico de gallo, cotija, serrano hot sauce, and grilled tortillas with optional pork carnitas). The place also comes equipped with impressive menus of pastries and breakfast cocktails.

07 of 15

Palace Diner: Biddeford, ME

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Greta Rybus/Courtesy of Palace Diner

The teeny Palace Diner is housed in a vintage boxcar that was built in 1927. Although the Pollard car itself has been around for nearly 100 years, the diner squeezed inside is a relatively new haven for elevated diner fare. Grab a seat at one of the 15 swiveling bar stools, then order corned beef hash, slabs of brown-butter banana bread, or the Lumberjack Breakfast (silver dollar flapjacks, two eggs, breakfast meat, and Palace potatoes). You'd be remiss not to ask for another side of the famed Palace potatoes, which have generated quite the reputation in Biddeford; this beloved snack is first blanched, smashed, and then fried.

08 of 15

Half & Half: St. Louis, MO

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
J Pollack Photography

Anything sweet is the move at Half & Half, the Clayton breakfast hotspot backed by husband-and-wife team Liz and Mike Randolph. It's hard to say no to warm cinnamon doughnuts, accompanied with their own pot of melted chocolate, and Clara Cakes, golden-brown pancakes smeared with raspberries, mascarpone, and granola. The big attraction, though, is the kitchen's thick-cut, soaring stacks of French toast, which can come doused in melted white chocolate and blackberry compote, and finished off with a showering of graham cracker crumbles.

09 of 15

Milktooth: Indianapolis, IN

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Milktooth

There's something charmingly seductive about a restaurant that knows exactly what you want. That's the case at Milktooth, Indianapolis' breakfast paradise. The restaurant, housed in a former garage, is open four days a week and solely serves brunch. The menu changes frequently, but you can almost always count on a few stellar sweet options (one recent example: an "Elvis waffle" with peanut crumble and bruleed bananas) as well as savory treats like inventive breakfast sandwiches. Plus, there are the divine pastries — think spinach and feta croissants, lemon cardamom morning buns, and chiffon cake — which can be ordered at the table or picked up at the pastry counter on your way out.

10 of 15

Bread Furst Bakery: Washington, D.C.

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Bread Furst

Open the doors of D.C.'s Bread Furst Bakery and you'll be rewarded with a whoosh of the most wonderful smell: fresh bread being baked. The American bakery is home to a slew of breads, from fruit and nut bread to crackly baguettes, and pastries like monkey bread and flaky croissants, so picture-perfect they should be exhibited across town at the National Gallery of Art. Come weekends, pair warm pastries with brunch items like vegetable frittatas and a messy egg and cheese sandwich bookended by an English muffin.

11 of 15

Onefold: Denver, CO

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Onefold

Breakfast at Onefold is kissed with Asian and Mexican flair. There's a mountain of bacon fried rice, after all, perched beneath two duck-fat fried eggs, and breakfast burritos swell with eggs, fried potatoes, asadero cheese, and meat. It's hard to go wrong at this restaurant's two Denver outposts if you choose anything boasting eggs, which can be prepared in just about every way, from poached in congee to scrambled atop house-made taco shells.

12 of 15

Polly's Pancake Parlor: Sugar Hill, NH

Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S.
Courtesy of Polly's Pancake Parlor

There's nothing quite like slicing into fat stacks of pancakes in a circa-1830 building as you gaze up at the New Hampshire mountains. Polly's Pancake Parlor, though largely unassuming, is home to some of the best buckwheat, whole wheat, and cornmeal pancakes you'll find in New England, made from flours that are stoneground in-house. Drizzle them liberally with maple syrup (also crafted in house) found in sticky glass servers atop each table. If pancakes aren't your thing — though how could they not be, especially at Polly's — stick with the grass-fed steak and eggs and be sure to order a side of locally smoked bacon.

13 of 15

Little Griddle: Portland, OR

Close up of Eggs Benedict with liquid egg yolk and bechamel sauce, served with potato - stock photo

Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Don’t let the name fool you: the menu at this breakfast haven is anything but small. Launched in 2017, this eatery now has locations in Beaumont and Hawthorne, and it nourishes locals and tourists alike with its myriad, decadent fare. Benedicts come heaped with pork shoulder, cured ham, or braised-shredded chicken thigh and collard greens. Little Griddle offers elevated breakfast classics like a bacon, egg, and cheese covered in roasted red pepper jam and served on a house biscuit, or a chicken biscuit with chipotle cabbage slaw, pickles, and sweet hot mustard. As you’d expect, there are also pancake and French toast dishes with toppings like chocolate chips, blueberry compote, and maple syrup. And if you really want a treat, there are bloody marys, micheladas, spiked coffees, and a tidy list of cocktails.

14 of 15

Sunny Point Café: Asheville, NC

Sunny Point Cafe Breakfast - Asheville NC

Alice io Oglesby

Take a seat on Sunny Point Café’s covered patio and tuck into a decadent plate of chicken and waffles. This family-owned, independent Asheville breakfast spot is known for its all-day comfort meals made with local ingredients and a farm-to-table approach. You’re in North Carolina, so you can’t go wrong with the shrimp and grits, the pecan-crusted fried green tomato sandwich (served with goat cheese and red pepper aioli), or a round of house-made biscuits for the table. But, don’t be afraid to stray from the classics and try the chipotle cheddar cheese grits or the carrot hotcakes topped with sweet cardamom cream cheese and maple syrup. The coffee is bottomless and the bloody mary is spicy, and be sure to grab a slice of peach pound cake before you go.  

15 of 15

Muchacho: Atlanta, GA

Muchacho Atlanta Breakfast

Gabriella LePage/Courtesy of Muchacho

Muchacho in Atlanta’s Reynoldstown neighborhood is the perfect cocktail of buzzy atmosphere, yummy food, and delightful beverages. The daily breakfast menu includes inventive options like the Johnny Utah burrito (eggs, bacon, cheese, potatoes, and spicy cilantro sauce) and a BEC taco, alongside slices of toasted sourdough loaded with toppings like avocado, house smoked salmon, or lemony ricotta and jam. Pair your breakfast taco with their signature rosemary latte or a blue matcha latte. And, come back later in the day to try a Vibe Check (tequila, mezcal, chamoy, lime, and ginger) or a frozen cocktail with an al pastor taco or sandwich.  

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