The Best Breakfast Dish in Every State
March 26, 2019
These restaurant dishes will start your day on the right foot
For some, breakfast is nothing more than an opportunity to get a little something in your stomach before starting the day, if it’s eaten at all. But for others, breakfast is the most important (and best) meal of the day: an opportunity to load up on eggs, bacon, French toast, hash browns, pancakes, country gravy, biscuits and all those other insanely delicious breakfast foods we know and love (in moderation, of course). If you’re looking for the absolute best restaurant breakfast dish in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., we’ve tracked it down.
There are obviously a lot of different types of breakfast dishes out there — sweet, savory, healthy, vegetarian, sandwiches, carb-heavy, meat-heavy — and we could have gone in any one of these directions. Instead, we chose the dish that hit one important criterion: satisfaction. Each of these dishes is satisfying on a primal level, and when it’s served you can’t help but think, “Now this is what breakfast looks like.”
To assemble our ranking, we started by scouring online guides and review sites and finding each state’s most beloved breakfast destination, then narrowing it down to the single most popular breakfast dish (though we didn’t consider pastries or anything that couldn’t qualify as a composed dish). We also consulted our own previous rankings of the best breakfast restaurant and the best brunch restaurant in every state.
So read on to learn about the absolute best breakfast dish in every state. One word of warning, though: Don’t read it on an empty stomach!
Alabama: Croque Madame, Alabama Biscuit Co. (Birmingham)
Yelp/ Jared P.
The team behind Alabama Biscuit Co. has set out to reinvent the biscuit, and in the process they’ve created one of the finest biscuits on earth, and the best breakfast dish in Alabama. Their biscuits are made with sprouted, stone-milled spelt and other ancient grains; fat from pasture-raised animals; and other local and organic ingredients — and even though they’re not traditional, they’ve still attracted legions of fans. Go for the croque madame, which partners the biscuit with smoked ham, a pastured egg, high-quality cheddar, lemon herb aioli, and fines herbes.
Alaska: Deadliest Catch, Snow City Café (Anchorage)
Yelp/ Daisy Y.
Snow City Café is a beloved local Anchorage spot, and it’s best known for its creative breakfast dishes. For a true taste of Alaska, order the Deadliest Catch, which pairs up the two most popular Benedicts on the menu: the Ship Creek (with house-made smoked salmon cakes) and the Kodiak (with Alaska red king crab cakes), accompanied, of course, with poached eggs, a toasted English muffin, and house-made hollandaise.
Arizona: B.M.O.C., Vovomeena (Phoenix)
Yelp/ Larry C.
Vovomeena is a true hidden Arizona gem, tucked away in a strip mall. Chef and owner D.J. Fernandes’ menu draws on global influences to create some truly astounding breakfast dishes, none of which is more popular than the B.M.O.C., short for Big Man on Campus. It starts with a fresh-made waffle, atop which is placed a thick smoked and grilled pork chop, two eggs and apple-maple syrup. And just for kicks, it’s also served with a freshly fried Portuguese doughnut.
Arkansas: Breakfast Sampler, At the Corner (Little Rock)
Yelp/ Lawrence D.
A lively diner in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, At the Corner is crafting some spectacular breakfast and lunch dishes with locally grown, seasonal ingredients. For a good idea of what makes this place to great, order the Breakfast Sampler: a straight-ahead platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese grits, hash browns, fresh fruit and a biscuit. It showcases both the high quality of the ingredients and the skill in preparation, and it’s about as satisfying a breakfast as you’ll find anywhere.
California: Hangtown Fry, Brenda’s French Soul Food (San Francisco)
Yelp/ June S.
The Northern California specialty called Hangtown Fry is the Gold Rush’s most enduring culinary contribution. Legend has it that it was created at the Cary House Hotel in the mining town of Placerville, California (then called Hangtown), after a miner who struck it rich walked in and asked for the most expensive dish the kitchen could make. The chef whipped up an omelette of sorts, with eggs (which were delicate); bacon, which was shipped from the East Coast; and oysters, which had to be shipped on ice from San Francisco. San Francisco’s Brenda’s French Soul Food serves an especially delicious version, with high-quality bacon and cornmeal-fried oysters, and even though it commands extremely long lines every weekend it's definitely worth waiting in line for.
Colorado: Chile Verde Benedict, Snooze (Various Locations)
Yelp/ Nicole G.
Founded by brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel in Denver in 2006, Snooze now has nine Colorado locations. Open daily from 6:30 a.m., Snooze’s menu is divided into five sections: Flavors from the Hen, The Art of Hollandaise, Sammies; Sweet Utopia, and Light as a Feather. For the best breakfast dish on the menu, check under the hollandaise section: the Chile Verde Benedict starts with tortillas topped with melted cheese and green chili, which is topped with your choice of pulled pork or barbacoa, poached eggs, green chile hollandaise, pico de gallo and cotija cheese.
Connecticut: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, The Pantry (New Haven)
Yelp/ Laura M.
Tucked away on a quiet New Haven, Connecticut corner, the diminutive Pantry serves breakfast and lunch dishes in a quaint dining room to in-the-know locals. It does your typical breakfast dishes with uncommon precision, but take a look around and you’ll notice one dish on most of the tables: the cinnamon roll pancakes. These pancakes are loaded with a swirl of cinnamon roll filling, and they’re topped with a spiral of sweet glaze. It’s about as delicious as it gets.
Delaware: Crab Cake Benedict, Drip Café (Hockessin)
Yelp/ Nancy T.
A cute Delaware café and breakfast spot, Drip Café specializes in spectacular house-made pastries and other baked goods, but the sit-down menu is easy to fall in love with as well. Go for the crab Benedict, toasted English muffin halves topped with two pan-seared crab cakes (freshly made with local crab), grilled tomato, arugula, over-easy eggs, and Old Bay-kicked hollandaise. It’s a perfect Mid-Atlantic spin on a classic brunch dish.
Florida: Chicken and Waffle Benedict, The Coop (Winter Park)
Yelp/ Stacy F
A cozy, counter-serve restaurant specializing in classic Southern fare, The Coop is the brainchild of John Winters, the force behind another Florida legend, 4 Rivers Smokehouse. The dish to order here is the Chicken & Waffle Benedict, which has already become a thing of legend around these parts: two Belgian waffles, each topped with a hunk of boneless fried chicken, warm maple bourbon syrup, a poached egg and a slug of hollandaise.
Georgia: Peach Cobbler French Toast, Atlanta Breakfast Club (Atlanta)
Yelp/ Takia L.
Four words: Peach. Cobbler. French. Toast. At Atlanta’s insanely popular Atlanta Breakfast Club, it’s exactly as good as it sounds. Chef Anthony Sanders starts with thick slices of bread, which are dunked in custard and griddled to golden brown. The slices are then topped with house-made peach syrup, peaches, cobbler crumble, vanilla butter and powdered sugar, and the final product has resulted in lots of repeat customers, and the best breakfast dish in Georgia.
Hawaii: Loco Moco, Rainbow Drive-In (Honolulu)
Tiffany A./ Yelp
This Hawaiian invention is one of the heaviest dishes you’ll find anywhere, and makes for a great late breakfast after a morning of surfing. It starts with a foundation of white rice, which is then usually topped with a hamburger patty or two, fried eggs, and brown gravy. It’s open to interpretation, however, and the burger patties can be replaced with anything from bacon and Spam to chili, kalua pork or shrimp. If you need to choose one place to experience this essential Hawaiian dish, make it the Rainbow Drive-In, serving Honolulu for more than 50 years.
Idaho: Smothered Breakfast Burrito, Moe Joe’s Breakfast Eatery (Meridian)
Yelp/ Nina C.
The big, modern Moe Joe’s is a modern diner in Idaho’s fastest-growing city. Every dish is cooked from scratch (there are no microwaves on the premises), and the locals have been turning out in droves. There are plenty of pleasant surprises on the menu (don’t miss the lemon poppy seed pancakes or the Irish Benedict with house-made corned beef), but the smothered breakfast burrito is the dish to order if you’re in the mood for a truly hearty breakfast. It starts with your choice of meat (ham, sausage, bacon, chorizo, chicken, smoked sausage, corned beef, or steak), which is rolled up with potatoes, jack cheese, and eggs before being doused in your choice of house-made sauces (sausage gravy, ranchero, hollandaise, salsa, green tomato gravy, or pork green chili). And if you like, they’ll even deep-fry it for you. The possibilities are endless, but no matter what you choose, it’ll always be delicious.
Illinois: Bull’s Eye French Toast, Little Goat Diner (Chicago)
Yelp/ Angela P.
Chef Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner is a Chicago, Illinois must-visit, a grown-up diner with some crazily fun and experimental creations on the menu. Case in point? The Bull’s Eye French Toast: thick-cut sweet onion brioche, which is transformed into perfect French toast before being topped with fried chicken, strawberries, and barbecue maple syrup, and served with a side of eggs. It’s not merely the best of both worlds; it’s the best of three or four.
Indiana: Pancake Platter, Lincoln Square Pancake House (Indianapolis)
Yelp/ Giselle H.
An Indianapolis institution that now has 10 locations in Indiana, the family-run Lincoln Square Pancake House has been going strong since 1989. And as the name might imply, the pancakes here are just about perfect. Golden brown from end to end and based on a recipe that’s been perfected over decades, they come with a variety of toppings including fresh fruit, chocolate chips, candied pecans, granola, and honey. We suggest you keep it simple and order the Pancake Platter: Two pancakes, dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon whipped butter; bacon; sausage; and two eggs any style. It’s breakfast perfection.
Iowa: Everything Hashbrowns, Waveland Café (Des Moines)
Yelp/ Clem M.
When a restaurant goes through a whopping 4,000 pounds of potatoes a month on nothing but hash browns, you know it’s on to something good. And that’s exactly the case at Des Moines, Iowa’s Waveland Café. The hash browns here are indeed delicious — shredded and griddled to golden brown perfection — and they’re best enjoyed in the Everything Hashbrowns, in which they’re loaded with ham, green and hot peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, and sausage gravy if you want it. With a couple of eggs on top, it’s a quintessential breakfast dish.
Kansas: Crab Cake Benedict, Doo Dah Diner (Wichita)
Yelp/ Chryz C.
Wichita, Kansas’ cute and charming Doo Dah Diner specializes in scratch-made breakfast and lunch classics. If you’re super-hungry you can order the Triple D (half-orders of banana bread French toast, corned beef hash, and bacon-avocado eggs Benedict), but if you have to narrow it down to one dish, go for the top seller: the crab cake Benedict. To make this dish, crispy hash browns are topped with fresh lump crab cakes, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and bacon crumbles, and a few spears of asparagus tag along so you can say you ate something healthy.
Kentucky: Chevy Chase Special, Josie’s (Lexington)
Yelp/ Kelly P.
Classic breakfasts are just about perfect at Josie’s, a Lexington gathering place that commands long waits every weekend. All the standards are here (and spot-on), but if you want a real taste of Kentucky, order the Chevy Chase Special: two eggs, your choice of meat (bacon, sausage, city ham, turkey sausage, or goetta), fried potatoes or cheesy grit casserole, a biscuit, and sausage gravy. And as for the name? It has nothing to do with the comedian or Maryland town; it’s the name of the Lexington neighborhood where the restaurant’s located.
Louisiana: Eggs Hussarde, Brennan’s (New Orleans)
One of the most famous restaurants in Louisiana, and one of the most influential restaurants in the history of breakfast, Brennan’s has been going strong since 1946, serving a wide variety of classic Creole breakfast and brunch dishes with just the right amount of fanfare, washed down with classic New Orleans cocktails like brandied milk punch and Cajun-style bloody marys. Its breakfast menu offers several (now-legendary) plays on the Benedict format, and if it your first time experiencing its legendary breakfast, you owe it to yourself to try the most famous one of all: Eggs Hussarde, a house-made English muffin topped with coffee-cured Canadian bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise, and red wine-based marchand de vin sauce. It’s the perfect way to start a New Orleans day.
Maine: Corned Beef Hash, Hot Suppa (Portland)
Yelp/ Vanessa V.
Hot Suppa is a classic Southern restaurant way up in Maine. In business since 2006, the restaurant uses high-quality local ingredients to craft quality Southern-inspired fare from scratch. It’s best known for its top-notch breakfast, and the most popular item on the breakfast menu is the corned beef hash. It’s made with house-made corned beef that’s shredded and seared on the flat top along with potatoes, onions, carrots, and toast. Eggs, hash browns, Geechie Boy grits and baby kale cost a couple bucks extra, but we suggest you load up on the add-ons for the full experience.
Maryland: Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict, Miss Shirley’s Café (Annapolis)
Yelp/ Gio H.
Miss Shirley’s has two locations in Baltimore and one in Annapolis (the original), and it’s nothing short of legendary in Maryland. It’s been run by chef Brigitte Bledsoe since opening in 2005, and the menu is super-creative and absolutely massive. This dish to order is the Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict, a name that already has us hungry. Freshly fried green tomatoes are topped with jumbo lump crab cakes and poached eggs, topped with Old Bay hollandaise and served with black-eyed pea succotash and asparagus.
Massachusetts: Todd’s Banana Pancakes, The Farmer’s Daughter (North Easton)
Yelp/ Donald S.
Literally a farmer’s daughter, chef Chandra Goldrup founded The Farmer’s Daughter in 2013 with a goal of serving unique, creative comfort food made with ingredients sourced from local Massachusetts purveyors. Today, her restaurant is a beloved neighborhood fixture, an insanely popular breakfast destination. When you visit, do as the locals do and order Todd’s “Knock Your Pants Off” Banana Pancakes (real name): buttermilk pancakes topped with caramelized bananas, pecan-bourbon-maple syrup, and cinnamon honey butter. It’s exactly as delicious as it sounds.
Michigan: Duck Bop Hash, Dime Store (Detroit)
Yelp/ Laura B.
This insanely popular downtown Detroit, Michigan brunchtime destination has been going strong since a trio of longtime friends opened it up in 2014. You’ll find a spectacular variety of traditional favorites and creative creations on Dime Store’s menu, and just about everything is scratch-made with high-quality ingredients. While everything on the menu looks pretty darn tasty, it’s the Duck Bop Hash you should order: house-confited duck leg, spinach, onion, bulgogi sauce, pickled vegetables, and sriracha all sautéed with breakfast potatoes, served with two over-easy eggs and an English muffin.
Minnesota: Pancakes, Al’s Breakfast (Minneapolis)
Yelp/ John P.
Al’s is one of the narrowest restaurants you’ll ever encounter, and the whole restaurant consists of 14 stools, a counter, and a griddle. That doesn’t stop the crowds from packing the place daily for its classic diner fare, especially its legendary buttermilk pancakes. Not only are they absolutely massive, the seasoned griddle imparts a flavor that just can’t be replicated at home. This place, and its pancakes, are Minnesota institutions.
Mississippi: Shrimp and Grits, Big Bad Breakfast (Oxford)
Yelp/ Leslie F.
James Beard Award-winning chef John Currence is the master of the Southern breakfast, and his menu at Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford, Mississippi is chock-full of classic breakfast staples. His version of shrimp and grits is among the finest on Earth: a big pile of sautéed Gulf brown shrimp, creamy grits, bacon, tomatoes, a fried egg and some red-eye gravy for good measure. It’s the South in a bowl.
Missouri: Mud Slinger, The Mud House (St. Louis)
Yelp/ Johnny L.
The cozy Mud House is a coffee shop that doubles as one of Missouri’s finest breakfast destinations. Settle into a seat, order a lavender latte and a Mud Slinger (roasted potatoes, vegetarian black bean chili, cheddar, red onions, two sunny-side-up eggs, toast, and bacon or ham for an extra few bucks), and while away the morning.
Montana: Corned Beef Hash and Eggs, Steve’s Café (Helena)
Yelp/ John-Paul L.
Steve and Penny Vincelli founded Steve’s Café in Helena, Montana in 2009, and it was recently sold to their son, who’s conveniently also named Steve. It’s a true family restaurant, and many of the recipes have been passed down over generations. The biscuits and gravy and huckleberry pancakes are delicious, but it’s the corned beef hash that’s a must-order. The corned beef is made in house and simply diced up with potatoes, served alongside fried eggs and perfect hash browns.
Nebraska: The Fantasy Island, Leo’s Diner (Omaha)
Yelp/ Jacqueline P.
A casual, old-school breakfast spot in Omaha, Nebraska, Leo’s Diner has been serving classic diner fare for more than 60 years, and it’s still going strong. Visitors can sidle up to the counter or get cozy in a booth and tuck into perfect chicken-fried steak, eggs, pancakes or any of the other classic breakfast fare on offer. But the dish to order is the Fantasy Island, a gut-bomb for the ages: hash browns topped with biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, ham, green peppers, onions and tomato, all topped with two eggs. And afterwards? A well-deserved nap.
Nevada: Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles, Hash House a Go Go (Las Vegas)
Yelp/ Tai L.
Located in the Linq Hotel and Casino, the only 24-hour location of Hash House a Go Go (which now has 12 locations around the country, including six in Nevada) is perhaps the most famous: It’s bold, bright and completely over-the-top, just like Vegas. The most famous dish on its remarkably bonkers menu (which includes five slices of bacon and a huge can of Bud for $12) is Andy’s World Famous Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles: two deep-fried whole chicken breasts served atop three bacon-loaded waffles, drizzled with spicy syrup and garnished with diced veggies, fried leeks, and a whole sprig of rosemary. We suggest you share this one with some friends!
New Hampshire: Pancakes, Polly’s Pancake Parlor (Sugar Hill)
Yelp/ Jessie W.
Picture in your mind’s eye an 80-year-old restaurant called Polly’s Pancake Parlor in a little New Hampshire town called Sugar Hill, and we bet you won’t be too off the mark from reality. It’s a low-slung brown building surrounded by verdant fields and old farmhouses, and the inside is homey and rustic. And, of course, the pancakes (which are smaller than usual at about 3 inches across) are fantastic. Six freshly made batters are available (plain, buckwheat, gingerbread, whole wheat, cornmeal, and oatmeal buttermilk) and you can choose from four add-ins (blueberry, walnuts, coconut and chocolate chip), but there’s really no wrong choice. Buckwheat, whole wheat, and cornmeal flours are organically-grown and milled in-house, and the maple syrup is (of course) pure.
New Jersey: Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese, Tops Diner (East Newark)
Yelp/ Eric N.
The pork roll (also known as Taylor ham) is a thing of pride for New Jerseyans, who know that in the canon of breakfast meats, it’s right up there with bacon. It’s a slightly smoky sausage that resembles bologna, and it’s typically sliced and pan-fried or grilled before being partnered with egg and cheese on a roll, in a crazy-good gut-buster of a sandwich known as the Jersey Breakfast. It's one of a handful of foods that only people from New Jersey know about, and while you can find one at any Jersey diner worth its salt, the quintessential version can be found at the legendary Tops Diner in East Newark.
New Mexico: Breakfast Burrito, The Pantry (Santa Fe)
Yelp/ Don K.
If you’re in Santa Fe and you’re looking for breakfast, The Pantry is the place to go, serving classic regional fare since 1948. New Mexico is all about the green chile, and one of the finest ways to experience it is atop a breakfast burrito. Loaded with eggs, potatoes and cheese before being topped with cheese and broiled, it’s finished with a hefty dose of that famous chile (red, green or “Christmas”) and served alongside perfect breakfast potatoes. Feel free to add on bacon, sausage, ham, chorizo, carne adovada or corned beef.
New York: The Classic, Russ & Daughters (New York City)
Benjamin F/ Yelp
The Lower East Side’s Russ and Daughters is a true New York classic — it’s widely regarded as the best spot in the country for lox, smoked salmon and other Jewish bagel-toppers known as “appetizing” — so you know that if there’s a sandwich on their menu called the Classic, it’s going to be, well, a classic. And it is certainly iconic: A fresh bagel is sliced and topped with house-made Gaspe Nova smoked salmon (thin-sliced by hand, of course), tangy all-natural cream cheese from a California dairy, sliced tomato, onions and a sprinkling of capers. It’s New York in a bite.
North Carolina: Shoo Mercy Sweet Potato Pancakes, Tupelo Honey (Asheville)
Nicole F/ Yelp
Tupelo Honey has four locations in North Carolina and 10 additional locations in a handful of other states, but the Asheville location is the original and best. It’s putting a fresh take on traditional Southern cuisine, using fresh ingredients to create dishes from scratch that blaze new territory while still staying true to its Southern roots. And nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in its most popular (and most famous) breakfast dish: the Shoo Mercy Sweet Potato Pancakes. A stack of sweet potato-based pancakes are topped with buttermilk fried chicken, cider-glazed bacon, spiced pecans, grilled seasonal fruit, pickled blueberries and two sunny-side-up eggs, and as you might imagine, it’s an absolute flavor bomb.
North Dakota: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, Darcy’s Café (Grand Forks)
Yelp/ Ra S.
Step inside Grand Forks, North Dakota’s unpretentious, old-school Darcy’s Café and you’ll find a U-shaped counter and a handful of booths, all occupied by people chowing down on no-frills dishes like pot roast, meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, Tater Tot hotdish, and some of the finest pancakes in America. Dubbed Grandma Knudson’s Buttermilk Pancakes, these are based on an old family recipe, and they approach stratospheric levels of deliciousness when the batter gets a hit of cinnamon and the top is swirled with cinnamon roll icing.
Ohio: Strawberry Blintzes, Blue Door Café (Cuyahoga Falls)
Yelp/ Carol L.
The cute and charming Blue Door Café is an absolutely beloved Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio institution, and one look at the menu can explain why. Dishes like corned beef hash, steak and eggs, and chicken and waffles are made from scratch with high-quality ingredients, and pastries including croissants are also top-notch. But it’s the strawberry blintzes that are the true dark horse of the menu: perfect crepes are rolled up with whipped lemon cheese and topped with strawberry compote, and they’re light and crave-worthy.
Oklahoma: Breakfast Bowl, Kitchen No. 234 (Oklahoma City)
Yelp/ Mike W.
Kitchen No. 234 is a charming, sun-filled Oklahoma City café serving a wide selection of high-quality baked goods and farm-fresh dishes made with organic, local ingredients. These ingredients are on serious display in the Breakfast Bowl, an artfully arranged collection of Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato, McCabe’s bacon, kale pesto, avocado and two sunny-side-up eggs. After eating a breakfast like this, you’ll definitely be ready to face the day.
Oregon: Reggie Deluxe, Pine State Biscuits (Portland)
Yelp/ Nicky L.
Pine State Biscuits is a Portland, Oregon legend, with four locations in town (and another coming soon) plus one in Reno, Nevada. The three founders grew up in North Carolina, and they spent months perfecting their biscuit recipe before beginning to sell them at the Portland Farmers Market in 2006; it didn’t take long before lines stretched 30 deep. You can have your biscuit just about any way you want it, but if you’re feeling especially extra we highly recommend the gut-busting Reggie Deluxe: a biscuit sandwich loaded with a slab of boneless fried chicken, bacon, cheese and a fried egg, topped with sausage gravy.
Pennsylvania: Apple Dumpling, Dutch Eating Place (Philadelphia)
Yelp/ Julia M.
The Dutch Eating Place is a legendary stall inside Philadelphia’s even-more-legendary Reading Terminal market, home to such additional legends as DiNic’s (home to a roast pork sandwich that’s the best in the state) and Beiler’s Doughnuts (did we mention this place is legendary?). Take a seat at the counter and dig into authentic Pennsylvania Dutch fare, homestyle dishes including apple cinnamon French toast, scrapple, and chicken pot pie. But one bite of their apple dumpling — a whole peeled and cored apple, spiced and wrapped in scratch-made pastry, baked until soft and yielding and served warm in a bowl with a splash of high-quality heavy cream — will quite possibly change your life. It’s a dish that everyone needs to experience at least once.
Rhode Island: Brioche French Toast, Nick’s on Broadway (Providence)
Yelp/ Chuck N.
Nick’s on Broadway is a New American Bistro focused on serving seasonal, locally sourced fare with a high-end approach. Brunch is served Wednesday through Sunday, and the menu changes on a near-daily basis. But there’s always a brioche French toast on the menu, and that’s the dish you should order. The toppings change regularly — one week it might be house-made peach preserves, cinnamon, butter and Vermont maple syrup, and the next it might be fresh local blueberries, fresh whipped cream and honey — but no matter what, it’s worth ordering, and the best breakfast dish in Rhode Island.
South Carolina: Charleston Nasty Biscuit, Hominy Grill (Charleston)
Michelle R./Yelp; Right: Robert Stehling
At Charleston’s Hominy Grill, chef and owner Robert Stehling has landed upon the perfect formula: comforting South Carolina Lowcountry cuisine made with the highest-quality ingredients. The perfect expression of that philosophy is the Charleston Nasty Biscuit (formerly known as the Big Nasty): a light and flaky high-rise biscuit, cut in half and filled with a huge piece of golden-brown fried chicken breast, topped with melted cheese and a giant ladle of creamy sausage gravy. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime sandwich, but if you have the opportunity to eat it even once, you’ll be very fortunate.
South Dakota: Pancakes, Tally’s Silver Spoon (Rapid City)
Yelp/ Kristopher P.
Rapid City, South Dakota’s Tally’s Silver Spoon can trace its origins back to the 1930s, but today it’s a creative and modern restaurant serving unique locally sourced dishes devised by chef Benjamin Kinkel. The breakfast offerings are fairly straight-ahead, however, which is great news for pancake lovers. The pancake recipe (which hasn’t changed since the ‘30s) results in perfectly light and fluffy golden-brown pancakes, which can be smothered in bananas, blueberries or strawberries; stuffed with blueberries or chocolate chips; or served with eggs and bacon, ham or sausage. However you take them, they’re going to be pretty much perfect.
Tennessee: Biscuits and Gravy, Loveless Café (Nashville)
In business since 1951, Nashville, Tennessee’s legendary Loveless Cafe serves what very well might be the best biscuits in the world (not even exaggerating), based on a recipe created by founder Annie Loveless herself and closely guarded to this day. If it’s possible to improve on perfection, it’s done by serving the biscuits alongside rich and creamy gravy. Thankfully, every breakfast plate is served with biscuits, so you don’t have to miss out no matter what you order.
Texas: Don Juan, Juan in a Million (Austin)
Yelp/ Lauren W.
Serving legendary Mexican breakfasts and lunches since 1980, Juan in a Million was founded by Juan and Myrna Meza and is today run by their children, Juan Jr. and Christina. Each dish is made from scratch based on family recipes, and the most famous (and delicious) dish on the menu, the Don Juan, has been offered since day one. It’s potato, egg, bacon and cheese served in a flour tortilla, and while it may sound simple, there’s something about the preparation here that makes it one of the most astoundingly delicious breakfast dishes you’ll find anywhere. It’s the quintessential Texas breakfast dish.
Utah: Smothered Burrito, Penny Ann’s Café (Salt Lake City)
Yelp/ Penny Ann’s Café
A Salt Lake City, Utah breakfast destination, Penny Ann’s dubs itself the “home of the heavenly hot cakes,” and their sour cream pancakes (as well as their waffles, scones, and French toast) are indeed spectacular, especially when topped with cinnamon cream cheese, fresh berries and whipped cream, or fire-roasted caramel apples. But the menu here is enormous, and if it’s your first time, you’re going to want to try the famed smothered burrito: two eggs, tomato, onions, green peppers, potatoes and your choice of bacon, ham or sausage, all rolled up in a flour tortilla, topped with melted cheddar, smothered with house-made pork chile verde sauce, and then topped with sour cream and more cheddar.
Vermont: Pancakes, Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice (Mendon)
Yelp/ Jenny P.
Sure, this place may be a little touristy, but when an authentic, working sugar house in Vermont is making pancakes, it’s all but guaranteed that these flapjacks are going to be good. And at Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice, located a stone’s throw from Killington’s legendary slopes, they definitely are. They’re available in a variety of styles, including blueberry, sugar and spice (with cinnamon and maple sugar in the batter), maple walnut, chocolate chip and the super-popular pumpkin. All pancakes come with pure maple syrup, and in one of the great “only in Vermont” moves, if you want artificial syrup, it’ll cost you extra.
Virginia: Big Hot Mess, Heritage (Richmond)
Yelp/ Jeff P.
Richmond, Virginia’s Heritage is a contemporary, modern New American restaurant helmed by the husband-and-wife duo of Joe and Emilia Sparatta. Their dinner menu is forward-thinking and seasonal, but come in for Sunday brunch and you’ll have the opportunity to try the state’s best breakfast dish, appropriately dubbed the Big Hot Mess. It’s a big platter of perfectly crisp fried potatoes topped with pulled pork, cheddar, a poached egg, smoked cream cheese, and tomato aioli. This isn’t just a slapdash bunch of breakfast stuff on a plate; the cream cheese and aioli really tie it all together. A vegan version is also available, with seasonal vegetables.
Washington: Egg Bake Alla Boscaiola, The Fat Hen (Seattle)
Yelp/ Malissa T.
Seattle, Washington’s beloved Fat Hen seats only 25 people and it doesn’t take reservations, so it goes without saying that this place gets pretty packed, especially considering the fact that it’s only open until 2:30 during the week and 3 on weekends. Thankfully, the wait is always worth it. The menu is pretty simple — charcuterie, house-made granola, salads, Benedicts and the like — but it’s the “egg bakes” that really stand out. Three are available — one has eggs, tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella, and another has ham and smoked mozzarella — but it’s the Alla Boscaiola that’s become the most popular: two eggs submerged in a house-made tomato sauce, baked along with sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella, and served with a sliced baguette. It’ll warm up even the dreariest Seattle morning.
Washington, D.C.: Steak and Eggs, Ted’s Bulletin
Yelp/ Ted’s Bulletin
Ted’s Bulletin has five locations in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area, with another in the works. Some reasons for its success? A comfortable, family-friendly vibe, a wide-ranging menu, and high-quality ingredients cooked with care. Case in point: steak and eggs, the highlight of the breakfast menu. It starts with an 8-ounce filet mignon, cooked to medium-rare and topped with a zippy chimichurri sauce, which is served alongside two eggs and a heaping scoop of creamy, cheesy grits. If there’s a better way to start your day in D.C., we’ve yet to see it.
West Virginia: Gravy Platter, Tudor’s Biscuit World (Various Locations)
Yelp/ Dawn O.
In West Virginia, Tudor’s Biscuit World isn’t just a chain restaurant, it’s a religion. With locations all around the state, it’s become the de rigueur destination for biscuits, and they do not disappoint. You can order them plain, as sandwiches, or as part of breakfast and dinner platters, but they’re best experienced smothered with sausage gravy.
Wisconsin: Country Style Stuffed Hash Browns, The Pancake Place (Green Bay)
Yelp/ Betsy K.
Sure, The Pancake Place may serve some absolutely delicious pancakes in a wide variety of styles, but this popular family restaurant’s menu also has another section that’s even more worthy of exploration: Stuffed Hash Browns. Big piles of crisp shredded hash browns are loaded with a variety of meats, veggies and cheeses, and toppings like chili and cheese, hollandaise, and gyro meat and feta are even offered. But it’s the Country Style Stuffed Hash Browns you’re going to want to order if you really want to start your Wisconsin day, well, country-style: two eggs any style, melted cheddar, sausage chunks, hash browns, and a big ladle of country sausage gravy on top.
Wyoming: Caboose, Luxury Diner (Cheyenne)
Wyoming is a meat-eater’s state, and there’s no shortage of options when it comes to big slabs of beef and its countrified cousin, chicken-fried steak. The best place to try this country classic, one of Wyoming’s most beloved dishes, is at Cheyenne’s Luxury Diner, which got its start as a trolley car diner in 1926 and hasn’t changed much since then. Chicken-fried steak (dubbed the Caboose) is the signature dish here: a fresh steak, pounded thin, breaded, deep-fried to golden-brown perfection, and doused in a thick and hearty country gravy that has a recipe daying back 30 years. If you're feeling inspired, why not cook up one of the most iconic breakfast dishes in America?
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