The South's Best Breakfast Spots
The Alabama Biscuit Company (Birmingham, Alabama)
The menu items might sound down-home, but owners Meredith and Jonathan Burch are baking some serious biscuits, made with stone-milled grains and locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Their Fried Bologna Biscuit has oven-crisped mortadella, along with house-made pickles and grain mustard. Don’t even get us started on The Alabama’s maple butter sauce.
The Cracked Egg Diner (Daytona Beach Shores, Florida)
In 2008, brothers Chris and Kevin Purucker took over a just-closed restaurant and turned it into a neighborhood favorite. Open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, The Cracked Egg serves breakfast till closing. Regulars swear by the Homemade Apple Fritters (just $3.99 for four), along with about eight different omelets and such griddle favorites as pancakes and Belgian waffles. House specialties include Eggs Chesapeake (two poached eggs on an English muffin, topped with crab cake and Hollandaise sauce and served with hash browns, home fries, or grits). Taking advantage of all that great Florida citrus, the mimosas are made with freshly squeezed OJ.
Datz (Tampa, Florida)
Owners Suzanne and Roger Perry describe their South Tampa brewpub as “a craft beer oasis, a bourbon lover’s paradise, a culinary education center, and a specialty food market all rolled into one.” Offering breakfast weekdays and brunch on the weekend, Datz serves its Egg Sammies on house-baked sourdough, with bacon-infused potatoes among the choice of sides. Some menu items carry the restaurant’s “datz-a-classic!” designation, among them Monkey Bread drizzled with vanilla icing, and Eggs Barbacoa made with pulled pork, corn tortillas, cilantro, onion, and New Mexico red chili sauce. Reservations accepted (and a good idea at peak times).
Café Des Amis (Breaux Bridge, Louisiana)
Located in a cool little town on historic Bayou Teche, this place serves up live music and Cajun dancing for its Saturday morning Zydeco Breakfast, live-streamed on its website’s Zydeco Breakfast Cam. The menu is loaded with such regional favorites as beignets, boudin, Oreille de Cochon (biegnets stuffed with boudin), Eggs Begnaud (a grilled biscuit with crawfish étouffée or au gratin, and two eggs cooked however you like), and Couche Couche (a Cajun cereal of cornmeal and milk with syrup and sugar).
Stanley (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Chef Scott Boswell, previously of Stella!, has opened this all-day eatery on Jackson Square, featuring New Orleans comfort food and some of his favorites. The breakfast and brunch menu, available anytime, includes Eggs Stanley with cornmeal-crusted oysters, poached eggs, Canadian bacon, and Creole Hollandaise on a toasted English muffin; Bananas Foster French Toast; Corned Beef Hash, and more.
Big Bad Breakfast (Oxford, Mississippi)
One of the restaurants in what chef John Currence calls his “Dine-asty,” this college-town establishment serves breakfast all day. The Good Old Boy omelet includes house-made beef chili and Cheddar; The Creola is a skillet breakfast of eggs, crawfish, Andouille, onions, peppers, tomatoes, hash, and Cheddar; and the Pain Perdue spikes French toast with brandy, then adds powdered sugar, whipped cream, and strawberries for good measure. Prices are as student-friendly as the food, with most everything hovering in the $10 range. Big Bad recently opened a second location in Birmingham.
Early Girl Eatery (Asheville, North Carolina)
This popular downtown spot serves breakfast all day. It’s best known for authentic, hearty mountain breakfasts like the Porky Breakfast Bowl—home fries, barbecue pork, scrambled eggs, and local cheese curd, smothered in Benton’s smoky bacon gravy. There are Southern classics like Shrimp and Grits, as well as an inventive Vegan Tofu Scramble with marinated organic tofu, peas, red onions, mushrooms, tomato, and spinach. Slather your homemade biscuit with vegetarian herb cream gravy or Benton’s smoky bacon gravy. Then hop on your treadmill for a while, and come back for lunch.
Sunny Point Café (Asheville, North Carolina)
This small, farm-to-table eatery has its own garden plot and outdoor seating where “well-behaved dogs are welcome.” The owners are happy to serve breakfast for dinner or a dessert for breakfast. The Savory One French Toast is filled with local sausage, cream cheese, and sharp Cheddar. Have Huevos Rancheros or Fucheros—with chorizo sausage or tofu chorizo. There’s a full menu of omelets, along with such griddle favorites as a Sweet Potato Waffle, Organic Carrot Hot Cakes, and Organic Cornmeal Hot Cakes.
Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse (Travelers Rest, South Carolina)
This bike-themed eatery on the Swamp Rabbit Trail offers sweet and savory crepes, as well as waffles. Hearty specialties include The Lumberjack—ham, bacon, eggs, cheese, and béchamel in a cornmeal crepe with maple syrup. You’ll need to pedal fast to work that one off.
Bryant’s Breakfast (Memphis, Tennessee)
This establishment started as a barbecue joint, but the owner was inspired by memories of his mother’s Mississippi biscuits, and added breakfast to the menu. Breakfast specials (daunting platters of traditional morning favorites) share the menu with breakfast bowls, breakfast sandwiches, biscuit sandwiches, omelets, pancakes, French toast, and sweets. The restaurant’s plastic-foam coffee cups are famous for their logo: a stylized pin-up girl proclaiming “Gravy. Sop it up. It’s good.”