The Best Brunch in Every State
For many of us, there’s no meal more sacred than brunch. Not only is it a celebration of the leisurely weekend afternoon, it’s a time to get together with friends, shake off the events of the night before, and consume far more calories than should be socially acceptable. In honor of the only meal that successfully combines two meals, we tracked down the very best restaurant for brunch in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
For many restaurants, brunch is both an obligation and an afterthought. Eggs are halfheartedly poached, drowned in lukewarm hollandaise, and served with bottomless mimosas and a side of apathy to diners who’ve spent far too long waiting for a table. Brunch isn’t the moneymaker that dinner is, so it’s no surprise that it often doesn’t receive the same culinary care and attention.
Brunch deserves more respect than that, but thankfully there are an increasing number of chefs who are demonstrating some true culinary skill and creative flair on their brunch menus, and their restaurants are joining the ranks of venerable standbys that have been turning out perfectly-cooked brunches for decades, attracting legions of devoted fans in the process.
In order to track down the absolute best restaurant for brunch in every state, we looked for restaurants that don’t just serve spot-on versions of all the breakfast and lunchtime classics (Benedicts, pancakes, burgers, and the like), but instead are eager to venture outside the box into more creative and innovative territory (healthy, gluten-free, and vegan options are also nice). These restaurants pay just as much attention to their brunch menu (or their brunch buffet spread) as their dinner menu (if they’re open for dinner at all), and brunch is served in a lively space with just the right amount of celebratory fanfare. If you live near any of these spectacular brunch spots, you owe it to yourself to set aside a leisurely Sunday afternoon to treat yourself.
Alabama: Big Bad Breakfast (Birmingham)
James Beard Award-winning chef John Currence is the master of the Southern breakfast, and his menu at Birmingham, Alabama’s Big Bad Breakfast (which has another location in Oxford, Mississippi) is chock-full of classic breakfast staples like shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, and flapjacks. And if you’re in the mood for lunch, there are salads; a burger; and sandwiches including The Screamin’ Demon (pickle-brined fried chicken, Duke’s mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, American cheese and comeback sauce). Biscuits and jellies are made from scratch, and the bloody marys are spectacular.
Alaska: Snow City Café (Anchorage)
Going strong in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, for more than 20 years, Snow City Café makes just about all of its menu items from scratch, is devoted to using fresh and local ingredients whenever possible, and offers a variety of vegan and gluten-free options. Breakfast is served all day; on their menu you’ll find seven Benedicts (including one made with Alaska king crab cakes), build-your-own omelets, a breakfast burrito with chorizo and green chile, Mandarin orange cream cheese-stuffed French toast, pancakes and house-made granola. Lunch options include homemade cream of tomato soup; quinoa or kale and beet salad; house-made meatloaf with mac and cheese; and a chicken salad BLT with poached chicken breast tossed with apples and grapes, thick-sliced bacon, lettuce and tomato with house-made herb mayo on toasted walnut multigrain.
Arizona: Hash Kitchen (Scottsdale)
Hash Kitchen is a buzzy, upbeat Southwest-inspired brunchtime destination with two Scottsdale, Arizona, locations. Its menu is loaded with a good mix of both traditional brunchtime favorites and outside-the-box creations; standouts include Benedict fries (topped with ham, bacon, roasted jalapeño, hollandaise and poached eggs); fried-to-order doughnuts filled with cannoli cream; French toast bread pudding; a breakfast burrito with flat iron steak; biscuits and gravy with Italian sausage; carnitas hash with braised pork, cotija, roasted corn, avocado, fried onion and green chile sauce; fried chicken and waffles; cinnamon roll pancakes; chicken tinga frittata; tamale cakes topped with green pork chili, poached eggs and green chile hollandaise; a fried chicken salad sandwich; and five burgers. It also boasts one of the biggest bloody mary bars on Earth, with more than 40 toppings available.
Arkansas: At the Corner (Little Rock)
Located in the heart of downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, At the Corner uses locally seasonal produce and scratch-made diner classics. You’ll find the expected omelets, pancakes, breakfast platters, and biscuits and gravy, but there’s also chicken and waffles, brunch poutine with an egg on top, Arkansas strawberry and cream cheese crêpes, avocado toast, a pimento cheese burger, and Mason jar mimosas.
California: Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford)
Arguably the most renowned resort in California’s Napa Valley, Auberge du Soleil offers no shortage of spectacular dining. In fact, the resort got its start as Napa’s first fine dining restaurant back in 1981, when restaurateur Claude Rouas set out to open a restaurant that resembled the sun-drenched eateries of his native Provence; the inn and spa came later. Visit the restaurant today for its $75 three-course brunch and you’ll see what all the hoopla has been about; it’s spectacular, and a perfect showcase for seasonal ingredients. Appetizers include sunchoke soup with almonds, curry and a crispy oyster; poached wild shrimp with butter lettuce, avocado and orange; onion tartlette with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and watercress; and sauteed foie gras with pineapple pain perdu, cashews and ginger ($15 supplement). For your entree, choose between items like blueberry buttermilk pancakes; Maine lobster omelet with tarragon, leek and ricotta; duck confit hash with slow-cooked farm eggs; Sonoma chicken with hand-foraged wild rice; or mint and lemon risotto with wild shrimp and bacon. The bad news is that it’ll be nearly impossible to decide what to order. The good news is that no matter what you decide on, it’ll be delicious.
Colorado: Sassafras American Eatery (Denver and Golden)
Sassafras American Eatery has locations in Denver and Golden, Colorado, and its menu of classic Southern brunch fare (with a decidedly New Orleans bent) keeps weekend lines long. Beignets, gumbo, barbecue shrimp, eggs Sardou, grillades and grits, six mac and cheeses, fried green tomato Benedict, chicken fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash, pimento cheese fried chicken biscuit, buttermilk pecan pancakes, six different po’boys… just looking at this menu is enough to make you wish it was Saturday morning. Their house-blend coffee is also top-notch (and available in more than a dozen styles), and there’s a massive variety of brunch cocktails.
Connecticut: Engine Room (Mystic)
“Beer, burgers, and bourbon” is the motto of popular Mystic, Connecticut, hangout Engine Room, and its “Proper Boozy Brunch,” served every Sunday, keeps the party going. The menu is heavy on house-smoked meats and is conveniently divided into breakfast and lunch sections: Breakfast standouts include made-to-order cinnamon sugar doughnut holes; slow-smoked brisket Benedict on cornbread with cilantro hollandaise; slow-roasted steak and eggs; sweet potato French toast; house-made bagels and lox; and two egg-topped burgers. Brunch standouts include sweet and spicy mustard-rubbed smoked chicken wings, salads, a veggie burger, slow-smoked pork ribs and a smoked brisket sandwich. There are also some creative brunch cocktails, including a few large-format ones (try the one with bourbon, coffee liqueur, coffee syrup, house cold brew and cream).
Delaware: Deerfield (Newark)
The Sunday brunch served at popular Newark, Delaware, golf club and wedding venue Deerfield is nothing short of spectacular. Served from late September through early May, this 111-foot brunch spread features a seafood station (don’t miss the crab cakes and oysters Rockefeller); made-to-order omelets and eggs Benedict; a carving station with lamb, strip loin and salmon; a pasta station; a vegetarian stir-fry station; soups and salads; bagels and breakfast pastries; a yogurt parfait station; a kids’ buffet with fun foods like chicken tenders, mini pizzas and a “doughnut wall”; and a huge dessert spread. And if you want to make your own mimosas, they’ll be happy to supply a bottle of the good stuff and juice.
Florida: The Circle, The Breakers (Palm Beach)
Yelp/ Matt C.
Palm Beach, Florida’s Italian Renaissance-style Breakers Palm Beach has been one of the country’s premier high-end destinations since tycoon Henry Flagler had it built back in 1896 (the current incarnation was completed in 1926). There’s no shortage of spectacular dining options at this luxurious retreat, but for brunch one option rises head and shoulders above the rest (and above every brunch option in the state): Sunday Brunch in The Circle’s splendid and opulent dining room (think ocean views, 30-foot frescoed ceilings, and oval murals depicting Renaissance-era landscapes) — a tradition for more than 25 years. Alaskan king crab legs, sushi, caviar, smoked fish, lamb chops, carved-to-order ham and beef tenderloin, Belgian waffles, eggs Benedict, fresh-baked pastries and muffins, omelets, cheeses, pâté and more than 30 desserts are all for the taking, with a harpist strolling from table to table to boot. The Champagne, mimosas, and bloody marys are free-flowing. Come hungry, and it’ll be well worth the expense.
Georgia: Buttermilk Kitchen (Atlanta)
At Atlanta, Georgia’s Buttermilk Kitchen, chef and owner Suzanne Vizethann prides herself on making just about everything on her Southern-inspired menu from scratch, and guests at her weekend brunch are the lucky beneficiaries. Bagels with house-cured salmon, buttermilk pancakes, Southern white bread French toast with pure maple syrup, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken biscuits, red pepper jelly and pimento cheese grits, fried chicken and waffles, short rib hash, and a lobster omelet are just a few of the absolutely mouthwatering dishes on offer. They don’t take reservations, so make sure to get there early, and whatever you do, make sure you order some banana pudding for dessert.
Hawaii: Koko Head Café (Honolulu)
You might have spotted chef Lee Anne Wong on Food Network and “Top Chef” (she was a contestant in season 1 and made a brief cameo in season 15), but you might not know that she also happens to run one of the hottest, funkiest brunch destinations in Hawaii, in a quiet Honolulu neighborhood (quiet, that is, until brunch rolls around). Koko Head Café has a huge menu of baked goods, pancakes, egg dishes and skillets, as well as a lovely assortment of Asian- and Hawaiian-inspired dishes including black sesame yuzu muffins; breakfast congee (with bacon, Portuguese sausage, ham, soft-poached egg, and cheddar); omelets filled with miso smoked pork or poke; Wong’s spin on loco moco; and breakfast bibimbap. When brunchtime arrives, Koko Head throws a party that’s always worth attending.
Idaho: Fork (Boise)
“Loyal to local” is the motto at farm-to-table Boise hotspot Fork, run by the husband-and-wife duo of Cameron and Amanda Lumsden. Much of the ingredients are sourced from local Idaho and Northwest farmers, ranchers, bakers, producers, and cheese makers, and the end result is a brunch menu that highlights fresh ingredients from local farmers markets. Start with a trip to the bloody mary bar, and follow that up with a house-baked cinnamon roll, Dungeness crab scramble, braised short rib hash, local corn-crusted trout with poached eggs and polenta, daily tacos on local tortillas, a wide variety of locally-sourced salads, Double R Ranch Prime ribeye sandwich, a Cuban sandwich and a custom-ground burger. Save room for the butter cake!
Illinois: M. Henry (Chicago)
In Chicago, Illinois, brunch is synonymous with M. Henry. Local and organic ingredients are used whenever possible in its vegetable-heavy menu, and the massive brunch menu really does have something for everyone (and yes, it’s really worth the wait). For those just looking for a bite, you can always order The Intercontinental, a fresh muffin, scone, or baguette with fresh fruit salad, fresh-squeezed juice and coffee or tea. If you want something sweet you can order cinnamon roll French toast, blackberry hotcakes, or lemon-raspberry brioche French toast. Big eaters can opt for the Home Comfort Brunch Plate (two eggs, polenta, hoisin-glazed shredded pork rib, roasted balsamic glazed greens and Brussels sprout hash) or breakfast bread pudding. And vegans have plenty of options, like the Veritable Vegan Epiphany, with tofu scrambled with rapini, sweet onions and a house spice blend, served with tempeh strips or vegan sausage, sliced avocado, and fruit salad or sliced potatoes. There are also quiches, Mexican-inspired options, Benedicts and quite possibly the most delicious-sounding brunch dish in existence: mango blueberry cinnamon roll French toast topped with vanilla crème and crunchy granola. Make sure to drop by the bakery for a pie or flatbread to go, and remember, it’s BYOB.
Indiana: Milktooth (Indianapolis)
This no-reservations Indianapolis, Indiana, gem is a must-visit for brunch. Milktooth’s menu is as delicious as it is creative, and it eschews convention every chance it gets. A Dutch baby pancake is filled with manchego and grapefruit, and topped with shaved Brussels sprouts with a shallot hazelnut sherry vinaigrette. The burger is made with lamb and topped with shiitake, Asiago, cream cheese chive aioli, and pickled onions. The steak and eggs is topped with celeriac mash, Texas chili gravy and fried shallots. And porridge is made with ancient grains and contains coconut milk, plum jam, hemp seeds and pistachio. There’s also a huge variety of creative salads and other vegetable-forward dishes, as well as jaw-droppingly delicious sweet options like pearl sugar and sourdough lemon poppyseed waffle, spiced pear sugar fritter, and a banoffee pie twice-baked croissant. It’s also one of the only places in Indianapolis where you’ll find a kouign amann (pronounced “queen ah-MON”), quite possibly the most delicious French pastry in existence.
Iowa: Americana (Des Moines)
This classic Des Moines, Iowa, restaurant draws crowds during the week for its stellar steaks, share plates, and signature pizza pot pie, but Americana really shines on the weekends, when it unveils its Bombshell Brunch Buffet and offers it until 2:30 p.m. More than 40 items are available for the taking, including all the classic breakfast dishes, classic comfort fare, a grilled cheese station, a mashed potato bar (!), a build-your-own breakfast taco station, a ton of desserts and bottomless bloody marys and mimosas. Plenty of gluten-free items are available as well.
Kansas: Urban Table (Prairie Village)
Yelp/ Chris E.
Fresh, seasonal ingredients are used just outside Kansas City, Kansas, at Urban Table, in the preparation of a stellar and wide-ranging brunch menu. The weekend offerings here are decidedly outside-the-box, and decidedly delicious. Grilled doughnuts with smoked bacon praline syrup, chilaquiles, egg and cheese waffle sliders with sausage, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal pancakes, daily omelets and quiches, Monte Cristo with goat cheese and house-made jam, a quinoa burger, cheesy garlic monkey bread and Texas-style chili with jalapeño corn bread are just a few of the brunchtime possibilities, and many specialties can be done gluten-free. Coffee is provided by St. Louis-based Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co.
Kentucky: Butchertown Grocery (Louisville)
Yelp/ Kelly J.
At night, Louisville, Kentucky’s Butchertown Grocery is one of its hottest cocktail bars. But on the weekends from 11 to 3, the sleek restaurant with cozy banquettes and exposed ceiling beams becomes the best brunch destination in the state. Chef and owner Bobby Benjamin has crafted a creative, fun menu that revolves around fresh local ingredients and is absolutely delicious. Look for dishes like chicken and dumplings with gnocchi; fresh blueberry scones and cinnamon rolls; eggs Benedict with pork belly on a toasted bialy; a prime beef burger with a fried egg, bacon and white cheddar; a bialy with house-smoked salmon; Bourbon barrel-smoked grits with poached eggs and foraged mushrooms; and chicken and waffles with chiles and fried rosemary and leeks. Wash it down with a cold brew Negroni, a creative combination of cold brew, Campari, red vermouth and orange oil.
Louisiana: Arnaud’s (New Orleans)
Yelp/ Carolyn I.
Since 1918, Arnaud’s has been one of the grand dames of Creole cuisine in Louisiana, and its Jazz Brunch is nearly as legendary as the restaurant itself. A Dixieland jazz band plays while diners enjoy traditional Creole items including their famous shrimp remoulade, turtle soup, seafood gumbo, grillades and grits, eggs Sardou (with artichoke, creamed spinach and hollandaise), eggs hussarde (with Canadian bacon and tomato on French bread crostini with hollandaise and marchand de vin sauces), crabmeat cheesecake, Gulf fish meunière, oysters en brochette and chicken Pontalba. For dessert, don’t miss the bananas Foster. Wash it down with a café brûlot, spiced and spiked coffee flamed with brandy. It’s the quintessential Creole New Orleans brunch.
Maine: Bayside American Café (Portland)
Bayside (which was known as Bintliff’s from 1990 until new owners took it over) is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and during that window it’s serving some of the finest breakfast, lunch and brunch dishes you’ll find anywhere. In the breakfast department, you’ll find homemade corned beef hash, Gulf shrimp scampi scramble, custom omelets, a house-smoked salmon platter, Maine blueberry and cinnamon bun pancakes (or one filled with bacon and cheddar), lemon blueberry French toast, and house-made Belgian waffles with chocolate or pecans and caramel. For lunch, there’s a stellar butter-poached lobster roll, a house-braised corned beef Reuben in phyllo, salads, vegetarian specials, burgers, and a killer BLT (which you should definitely add lobster to). And for brunch, there’s fresh crab cakes, huevos rancheros, and seven different Benedicts (including one with Maine lobster and spinach and another with steak and sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic cream sauce. You really can’t go wrong, especially when it’s all washed down with a cup of coffee from local roaster Coffee by Design or a bottle of Maine Root blueberry soda.
Maryland: Miss Shirley’s Café (Baltimore and Annapolis)
Miss Shirley’s has three Maryland locations, and it’s nothing short of legendary around these parts. It’s open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch every day of the week. It’s been run by chef Brigitte Bledsoe since opening in 2005, and the menu is super-creative and absolutely massive. You should check it out for yourself, but we’ll list off just a few of the specialties: loaded Southern-fried deviled eggs; monkey bread; benne seed chicken and waffles; shrimp or salmon and grits; crab cake and fried green tomato eggs Benedict; barbecue mac and cheese skillet; loco moco; a fried chicken, biscuits and gravy omelet; Maryland omelet with jumbo lump crab, tomato, Swiss and Old Bay; cinnamon Danish pancakes or waffles; make-your-own salads; pulled pork grilled cheese; seafood sliders; Angus cheeseburger; and some super-creative cocktails like chocolate covered pretzel hot cocoa. This place is an adventure.
Massachusetts: Café Fleuri, The Langham (Boston)
The Langham is one of Massachusetts’ most luxurious hotels, housed in the former Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Their Sunday City Brunch, held at the hotel’s Café Fleuri, is the most elaborate brunch in the city, a buffet held in a sunlit atrium accompanied by the musical stylings of the Robert Rivera Ensemble. Available September through June, the $75 brunch (including a mimosa) is a veritable extravaganza of breakfast dishes, seafood, charcuterie, meats, cheeses and fresh produce, but make sure to save room for the ever-popular chocolate bar.
Michigan: Dime Store (Detroit)
Insanely popular Downtown Detroit, Michigan, brunchtime destination Dime Store 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 the menu, where just about everything is scratch-made with high-quality ingredients. Standouts include Samoa-inspired waffles; a chorizo-spiced burger with cheddar, pico de gallo, and homemade guac; carnitas breakfast nachos; spicy pork belly Benedict on a homemade biscuit; house-made sausage or duck confit hash; brioche French toast with fresh fruit; build-your-own omelets; pork rinds with white truffle oil and Sriracha; some of the city’s best mac and cheese; house-confit duck leg sandwich; Korean barbecue sandwich with shaved steak and pickled vegetables; a killer cheesesteak; and several creative salads. One visit and you’ll be coming back again and again.
Minnesota: Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis)
Yelp/ Jingchen L.
Chef Gavin Kaysen left his gig as executive chef at New York’s renowned Café Boulud to open this rustic-chic French-inspired Spoon and Stable in an old Minneapolis, Minnesota, carriage house, and it quickly rose to prominence as one of the city’s must-visit restaurants. Honestly, even if it only served brunch it still would be one of the hottest restaurants in town, because its brunch menu is upscale and nothing short of spectacular. Start off with a Corpse Reviver (with gin, lemon, Cocchi Americano and a Mexican anise liqueur called Xtabentún) and follow it up with a charcuterie platter; Thai-inspired crab salad; bison tartare with harissa aioli, socca chips and cilantro; red wine poached eggs with wild mushrooms; a perfect croque-madame with house-made ham; sausage and biscuits with bratwurst scallion gravy; or a buttermilk waffle with poached pears and vanilla cream. Make sure you get an order of house-made bacon on the side.
Mississippi: City Grocery (Oxford)
City Grocery opened up in the tight-knit Mississippi town of Oxford in 1992, and not only does it serve the state’s best brunch, it’s among the state’s best restaurants, period. Wait for a table at brunch at you’ll be handsomely rewarded, but good luck trying to figure out what to order: toasted English muffins with house-made cheesy sausage, eggs Sardou, biscuits and gravy, red eye gravy and shaved country ham, fried chicken sandwich, a stellar burger or an open-faced roast beef po’boy? Or you can go upscale and opt for sunburst trout amandine, pan-fried quail, or spot-on shrimp and grits; the choice is yours, and everyone’s a winner.
Missouri: The Corner (Kansas City)
Yelp/ Jason B.
Since 1980, The Corner has been serving breakfast and brunch seven days a week, and it’s only open until 3 p.m. daily. But the crowds line up on the weekends, and it’s become a Kansas City, Missouri, destination. As many products and ingredients as possible are sourced from local suppliers, and chef Benjamin Wood’s menu changes regularly, but expect country-inspired offerings like biscuits with sausage gravy, customizable three-egg scrambles, bacon-cheddar cakes, fried chicken in a biscuit with candied jalapeño cream cheese and a fried egg, scallops and grits, steak and eggs with a goat cheese polenta cake, and creative brunch libations to wash it all down. Whatever you do, don’t miss the croissant-cinnamon roll!
Montana: The Fieldhouse (Billings)
Since 2012, chef Ben Harman has been raising the bar for the Billings, Montana, dining scene at The Fieldhouse, where he’s serving scratch-made dishes using fresh seasonal ingredients. And as for his Saturday and Sunday brunch, it’s simply astounding. The menu is small and may come across as a bit aloof (the Breakfast Special is simply described as “whatever”), but don’t let that fool you: Harman takes his cooking very seriously. Biscuits and gravy are both house-made; the Benedict is a sourdough crumpet topped with ham, egg, fennel and hollandaise; the frittata is filled with crimini mushrooms, arugula, potatoes and greens; and the French toast is made with house-made challah. Make sure you try the new potatoes with brown butter and cashew-Parmesan Brussels sprouts with sundried tomato aioli on the side, as well as whatever the mimosa special is. And as for that “whatever” special? On a recent weekend it was Alaskan king crab Benedict with poached eggs and charcoal sourdough bread. Enough said.
Nebraska: Saddle Creek Breakfast Club (Omaha)
Omaha, Nebraska, newcomer Saddle Creek Breakfast Club has burst onto the scene as a must-visit for anyone in town looking for a flawless brunch. Chef Chase Thomsen is serving a fun, accessible and frequently changing menu of elevated diner classics from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, including near-perfect banana pancakes with whipped peanut butter, crushed peanuts and local honey; French toast with Grand Marnier, whipped goat cheese, preserves and maple syrup; a steak and egg burrito with tomatillo salsa; a Benedict with braised short rib and jalapeño jam; a chicken-fried pork tenderloin with chorizo gravy and two eggs (or with pickles and mustard aioli on brioche); and a handful of vegan options like banana bread French toast and tofu rancheros. Unfortunately, the crowds found out about this place quick: The wait stretches to well over an hour on the weekends.
Nevada: Sterling Brunch, BLT Steak (Las Vegas)
The Sterling Brunch is one of the most expensive in Las Vegas, at $120, and is only available on Sundays beginning at 9:30 a.m., but it’s nothing short of a wonder to behold, and has been the city’s finest brunch for more than 30 years running. Held at BLT Steak inside Bally’s, the best way to describe it is to simply list off what’s available: unlimited Perrier-Jouët and Mumm’s Champagne, whole lobsters, Alaskan king crab legs, caviar, filet mignon, truffles, prime rib, rack of lamb, oysters, sushi and made-to-order desserts; small plates like lobster bisque, eggs Benedict, and BLT Steak’s famed chopped salad. It’s the ultimate in luxury, and the best brunch in Nevada.
New Hampshire: Wentworth by the Sea (New Castle)
Wentworth by the Sea has been called the Crown Jewel of Portsmouth, located just off the New Hampshire mainland on New Castle Island. Open since 1888 and one of the East Coast’s premiere resorts during the 20th century, it was saved from the wrecking ball in the 1980s and is today a member of the Historic Hotels of America and is operated by Marriott; a six-year, $30 million renovation added a spa, pool and suites, and today it’s once again one of the East Coast’s finest resorts. But it’s the brunch we’re supposed to be talking about, right? Well, its Sunday brunch is amazing. Unlimited Champagne, live jazz, ice sculptures, fine crystal and china and the elegant environs of the main dining room set the stage for an abundant and luxurious buffet, boasting two carving stations (with prime rib, of course), omelets made to order, pastas, stuffed French toast, cheeses and a wide variety of desserts. You might just never want to leave.
New Jersey: Tops Diner (East Newark)
In New Jersey, a state with no shortage of spectacular diners, legendary East Newark institution Tops Diner has risen to the top of the pack. Open since the 1920s and operated by current owners Jimmy and John Golemis since 1972, Tops opens at 6 a.m. daily and serves a menu that keeps regulars coming back again and again. All the expected diner classics are on offer here, expertly prepared — omelets, pancakes, ham and eggs, French toast, house-made corned beef hash and eggs, Monte Cristo, waffles — but everything’s been elevated to historic levels of greatness. Eggs are local and cage-free, and standouts include Eggs From Heaven (three eggs baked with cheesy grits in a spicy tomato jambalaya sauce with chorizo and toast), Sunrise Burrito (filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, chicken chorizo, cheese, fried potatoes, avocado and peppers and onions and topped with spicy ranchero sauce), steak and eggs with a 12-ounce New York strip, multi-grain buttermilk pancakes topped with cinnamon and fresh fruit, Louisiana Benedict with spicy chorizo, chicken and waffles, and brioche French toast stuffed with peanut butter and spiced bananas. And that’s just breakfast! If you’re more in the mood for lunch, you can’t go wrong with the massive array of salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta dishes and even ribs.
New Mexico: The Pantry (Santa Fe)
In business since 1948, The Pantry is one of New Mexico’s most famous restaurants, and it’s also home to the state’s best brunch. You’ll find everything you could ever possibly want for breakfast here, as well as a bunch of traditional New Mexican specialties and a wide variety of lunch and dinner options as well. Eggs any style with bacon, ham, sausage, chorizo or carne adovada; blue corn cinnamon cakes; thick-cut French toast; huevos rancheros; chile relleno omelet; steak, chicken fried steak or house corned beef and eggs; chili, sandwiches and burgers; enchiladas; brisket tacos; and house-made meatloaf are just a handful of the down-home, scratch-made offerings. This is a Southwestern brunch at its finest.
New York: Balthazar (New York City)
Since opening in 1997, Balthazar has become a quintessential New York restaurant, a bustling brasserie that’s somehow sustained its momentum for more than 20 years, raking in on average more than $20 million annually. One bite of the steak frites in restaurateur Keith McNally’s legendary Parisian-style dining room will show you why it’s been so successful, but you haven’t really experienced Balthazar until you’ve had brunch there, when daylight streams through its front windows and servers deliver warm goat cheese and caramelized onion tarts, caramelized banana and Nutella tartines, decadent scrambled eggs in puff pastry, brioche French toast and eggs Florentine to its stylish, Ramos fizz-lubricated clientele. Plenty of Balthazar classics, like gland shellfish plateaus, French onion soup and the aforementioned steak frites, are still available, along with a variety of fresh-baked pastries. There are a seemingly infinite number of brunch options in New York, but none ace the formula quite as perfectly as Balthazar.
North Carolina: Poole’s Diner (Raleigh)
Yelp/ Elizabeth S.
Chef Ashley Christensen has done more to put Raleigh, North Carolina, on the culinary map than just about anybody else, thanks to her stunning restaurants Beasley’s Chicken & Honey, Bridge Club, Chuck’s, Death & Taxes, Fox’s Liquor Bar and Poole’s Diner. Poole’s has actually been in business since 1945, and today it maintains that retro-chic charm with a double horseshoe bar, red leather banquettes, and a large blackboard displaying that day’s menu. The offerings change weekly (and sometimes daily) based on what’s fresh and in-season, but should you go for brunch (which was re-introduced after a hiatus in April 2017) rest assured that whatever you order will be absolutely exceptional. Expect dishes like seasonal hotcakes, biscuits and gravy, the best mac and cheese you’ll ever eat, a Benedict with house-made English muffin and house-cured pork shoulder, Carolina shrimp and grits, croque-madame and cinnamon sugar doughnuts. Coffee is from Counter Culture, and the cocktails are also spectacular.
North Dakota: Kroll’s Diner (Bismarck)
Yelp/ Lana J.
Kroll’s has five North Dakota locations, and has been going strong since 1972. The rich and hearty breakfast menu, served all day, is perfect for a North Dakota morning and sure to warm you up: three- or six-egg omelets (try the one topped with homemade chili and shredded cheddar); 6-ounce steak and eggs; country fried steak; and skillets (the Three Meat Skillet is filled with ham, country sausage, bacon, onions, green peppers, hash browns and American cheese) served with two eggs and your choice of pancakes, toast or a biscuit and gravy. And if you’re feeling more lunchy, there’s a hot roast beef sandwich, fried chicken sandwich and a wide variety of wraps and burgers. The restaurant’s German influence comes through in the knoephla, a thick and creamy, bright yellow chicken and potato soup, as well as in the fleischkuechle (deep-fried pastries filled with your choice of seasoned ground beef; ground beef, sauerkraut, and cheese; or breakfast sausage, American cheese, and eggs), which are served with hash browns and country gravy.
Ohio: Blue Door Café & Bakery (Cuyahoga Falls)
The quaint and charming Blue Door Café & Bakery has been acquiring legions of fans since opening as a bakery in 2009, and since then it’s branched out to serve the best brunch in all of Ohio. Each ingredient is sourced responsibly — flour is unbleached, unbromated, organic, and stone ground; meat is from small producers and never frozen; produce is from small, usually organic farmers — and the end result really is something special. So what’s on the menu? A croque-madame with rosemary ham and cave-aged Gruyère; a Nueske’s bacon and egg croissant; grass-fed hanger steak and eggs with bordelaise and red flannel hash; wild-caught smoked salmon and eggs; fried organic chicken and jalapeño cheddar waffles; nitrate-free corned beef hash; and sweet ricotta crêpes with local honey and blueberries. Also make sure you check out the weekly-changing specials, like wild-caught Gulf shrimp and grits, chocolate and spice pulled Berkshire pork, and a grilled cheese made with chocolate stout and imported double cream Gouda. If you live near Cuyahoga Falls and you haven’t been to this place yet, well, you’re welcome.
Oklahoma: Kitchen No. 234 (Oklahoma City)
Yelp/ Jeanette T.
Located inside one of the Oklahoma City’s most historic buildings, Kitchen No. 324 is a seasonally inspired café that’s about as low-key as it gets. The bakers arrive daily at 4 a.m. to start making doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, danishes, croissants, cookies and kolaches, and guests arrive starting at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Along with baked goods, brunch specialties also include fried green tomato Benedict, a classic French omelet with fines herbes; double-smoked pastrami and eggs, scratch-made biscuits with chorizo gravy, fried chicken pot pie, a smoked cheddar and bacon-onion jam-topped cheeseburger, and one of the finest hand-carved French dip sandwiches on Earth.
Oregon: Tasty n Sons (Portland)
One of Portland, Oregon’s most popular and eclectic restaurants, Tasty n Sons serves brunch daily until 2:30 p.m. and keeps some of the favorites on the menu through dinnertime. The lively restaurant seats everyone at communal tables, where they can bond over chef and owner John Gorham’s spectacular globe-trotting creations like Moroccan chicken hash, shakshuka, patatas bravas, polenta with ragù, house kimchi, and Burmese red pork stew; regional American specialties like chile pork Colorado, Hangtown fry and a Nashville hot chicken sandwich; and other flights of fancy like a roasted apple with bacon lardons and Tillamook cheddar, rice pudding with blueberry compote, and a Dutch baby with lemon curd and raspberry jam. No matter where this culinary voyage takes you, you can rest assured that you’re enjoying the best brunch in the state.
Pennsylvania: Lacroix (Philadelphia)
Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse/Yelp
The Rittenhouse is one of Pennsylvania’s most luxurious hotels, perched in a perfect location overlooking Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. Its Sunday brunch buffet, served at its fine dining gem Lacroix, is nothing short of spectacular, with more than 50 offerings, each of them demonstrating some serious attention to detail and culinary know-how. The expected breakfast dishes are all there, but everything’s kicked up a few notches: scrambled eggs are soft and pillowy, house-made chicken sausage is studded with chunks of apple, bacon is thick-cut and perfectly crisp, and pancakes are delivered to your table on demand. Standouts include foie gras s’mores; branzino crudo with passionfruit, buttermilk and coriander blossom; Spanish octopus with bok choy, pea leaf and fried shallot; gochujang fried chicken bao bun with pickled onion aioli; khachapuri with caramelized onion, goat cheese and quail egg; mini buttermilk biscuits with pork roll, piperade and comte; Oaxacan shakshuka with black bean, tomatillo and queso fresco; and grilled Rhode Island squid with sweet corn and red miso spaetzle. At the carving station you’ll find Scottish salmon with lavender mustard; a grilled sausage made from diver scallops; porchetta with green tomato kimchi; roasted leg of lamb with gooseberry glaze; and a slow-roasted Sichuan-spiced wagyu brisket with broccoli and ginger relish, a dish inspired by beef and broccoli that I was told took more than a year to perfect. And that’s not even including dessert! (Don’t miss the sticky buns and chocolate fountain.) Many of these dishes would be right at home on the menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant, but at Lacroix they’re all just a part of the buffet.
Rhode Island: Nick’s on Broadway (Providence)
Nick’s on Broadway focuses on seasonal, local ingredients, and has forged relationships with plenty of local producers, like the Johnston, Rhode Island-based Baffoni’s Poultry Farm, from which the restaurant sources all of its eggs and chicken. The brunch menu here changes weekly and is divided into five categories: savory small plates, sides and snacks, brunch entrees, classics, and sweets and pastries. Expect to find dishes like chicken-chili rillettes; rutabaga, white bean and onion soup; house-made pickled vegetables; barbecue pulled Blackbird Farm pork with fried eggs, buttermilk biscuits, greens and Vermont cheddar; roasted local mushroom cakes with poached eggs and herb hollandaise; heirloom cornmeal with Vermont cheddar, fried eggs, local tomatoes, pea greens and Narragansett ricotta; and buttermilk hotcakes with Vermont maple syrup and seasonal toppings. One visit to this place and you’ll fall in love.
South Carolina: Magnolias (Charleston)
Magnolias has been a standard-bearer for true Lowcountry cuisine in Charleston, South Carolina, since 1990 (it played a large role in igniting the city’s still-burgeoning culinary renaissance), and it’s one of the city’s most acclaimed Sunday brunch destinations. The brunch menu is full of down-home country dishes like house-made pimento cheese, ham crackling biscuits, she-crab bisque, shrimp and scallops over grits with lobster butter sauce, crab cake with hoppin’ John risotto, country fried steak and house-made biscuit with sausage gravy; but it’s also not afraid to think outside of the box: Just look at the apple fritter poppers with cinnamon cream cheese mousse, a duck confit omelet with roasted mushrooms and goat cheese, huevos rancheros with braised short ribs, and banana pudding-stuffed French toast with peanut butter syrup and bacon. This is one of those places where no matter what you order, it’s bound to be delicious.
South Dakota: Phillips Avenue Diner (Sioux Falls)
The retro Phillips Avenue Diner may have that old-fashioned malt shop vibe, but the food served here is no gimmick. Crowds flock to this Downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota destination on a daily basis, but the wait for a table gets especially long on the weekends. Arrive before 11 and you’ll be able to select from a wide variety of breakfast specials including house-made corned beef hash, berry-topped Belgian waffles, banana bread French toast, a huevos rancheros burrito, house-made biscuits and gravy and breakfast poutine (fried potatoes topped with cheese curds, bacon, tomatoes, gravy and a fried egg). And after 11 the entire lunch and dinner menu becomes available (along with plenty of breakfast favorites), opening up possibilities like fried cheese curds, pork wings (made with the shank), salads, pot roast dip sandwich, hot mashed potato and fried chicken wrap, seven burgers, meatloaf, chicken and waffles, and a tater tot hotdish. Diners don’t get much better than this, folks.
Tennessee: Loveless Cafe (Nashville)
In business since 1951, this legendary Nashville, Tennessee, restaurant serves what very well might be the best biscuits in the world (not even exaggerating), based on a recipe created by founder Anne Loveless herself and closely guarded to this day. And best of all, every breakfast plate comes with a side of them. But a great brunch needs more than just great biscuits, and Loveless Cafe delivers on all fronts. Country ham with red-eye gravy, pit-cooked barbecue pork, fried pork chops and country-fried steak all benefit from a couple fried eggs; three-egg omelets are available with a wide variety of fillings; and other spot-on breakfast favorites include French toast, sausage or country ham on a biscuit, hash brown casserole and (of course) biscuits and gravy. Breakfast is served all day, but at 11 o’clock, lunch and dinner options like a pimento cheese and bacon burger, fried chicken, fried catfish and meatloaf join the party. Family-style breakfast and supper is also available for parties of four or more.
Texas: Arlo Grey (Austin)
The debut restaurant from “Top Chef” winner Kristen Kish is an Austin favorite, and its brunch menu is a Texas masterpiece. Arlo Grey’s brunch really offers something for everyone, from the super-healthy (a wild rice and quinoa bowl with fermented baby vegetables, miso and a soft-cooked egg; roasted squash and ricotta with green salad, hazelnuts and dried grapes) to the decidedly decadent (ricotta beignets with bacon jam, sour cream and tarragon; croissant bread pudding with pomegranate seeds and candied citrus). Rounding out the offerings are smaller plates like fried broccoli and chickpea fries; Texas classics like house-made smoked chorizo with braised greens; a stellar burger; and a full-on breakfast platter of eggs, meat, hash browns, toast, juice and coffee. It also happens to be a simply stunning-looking restaurant, with huge amounts of natural light streaming in and unobstructed views of the Colorado River.
Utah: The Park Café (Salt Lake City)
A quintessential Utah brunchtime destination since 1984, The Park Café serves a brunch menu that’s simple and essentially perfect. Three-egg omelets with a wide and creative variety of fillings; steak or pork chops and eggs; its signature pork potatoes scrambled with eggs, cheddar, sausage, mushrooms, onions and peppers; French toast; pancakes: biscuits and gravy; cheeseburgers; deli sandwiches; homemade soup and chili… Nothing here really jumps out as blazing any new ground, but that’s exactly what makes The Park Café so good: It sticks to the classics, and it does them really, really well.
Vermont: Penny Cluse Café (Burlington)
Yelp/ Chris R.
Burlington, Vermont’s popular Penny Cluse Café, which was founded by Charles Reeves and Holly Cluse (and named after Holly’s dog, Penny) in 1998, opens at 8 a.m. on weekends, when you’re going to want to get there early to avoid the massive lines for a table. This is the kind of place where just about everything on the menu looks delicious: buttermilk, buckwheat or gingerbread pancakes served with Vermont maple syrup; biscuits and gravy; house-made banana bread; eggs with grilled polenta, black beans and salsa ranchero; a full English breakfast (minus the black and white pudding); chorizo and egg tacos; sourdough French toast; and home fries with melted cheese, salsa, sour cream, green onions and eggs. And for the vegans, all eggs can be replaced with tofu scramble. And if you’re more in the mood for lunch, opt for chicken and biscuits, posole, braised beef tacos or sandwich, roast pork shoulder with corn muffins and salsa verde, turkey Cobb salad, or an Orb Weaver Vermont farmhouse cheese sandwich. Make sure you order a glass of fresh Vermont apple cider.
Virginia: Trummer’s on Main (Clifton)
This bright and charming Clifton, Virginia, destination (about an hour’s drive from D.C.) is an upscale and elegant retreat run by the husband-and-wife duo of Stefan and Victoria Trummer. Executive chef Jon Cropf’s innovative tasting menus (and the largest wine cellar in the Mid-Atlantic) keep the dining room crowded at night, but the lesser-known Sunday brunch menu is easily worth the trip from the capital. Trummer’s on Main’s menu changes seasonally, but standouts include a fresh-baked pastry basket, cinnamon-sugar beignets, local oysters, pulled pork omelet with mac and cheese and baby kale, shrimp and grits with tasso ham and lobster cream sauce, French toast with strawberries and Nutella whipped cream, hanger steak and eggs, and duck confit Benedict. Make sure you save room for a slice of red velvet cake!
Washington: The Lakehouse (Bellevue)
James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson’s fine dining Northwest farmhouse concept spotlights produce from local growers and farmers, local seafood and meat, and handmade pasta. So it’s not too difficult to extrapolate that out to one of the most stunning and forward-looking weekend brunches in the country. Ancient grain porridge with almond milk and fruit; vanilla brioche French toast; cocoa coffee flour pancakes with blueberries and yogurt; rigatoni with roasted peppers, octopus, local clams and beans; grilled ahi tuna and quinoa bowl with baby potatoes, soft-cooked egg, Moroccan-spiced carrots and fennel; Dungeness crab and avocado Benedict; house-made pasta with foraged mushrooms, Reggiano, soft-cooked egg and green garlic pesto; and a wagyu burger topped with mushroom conserva, kale pesto and white cheddar make this brunch menu one of the most “cheffed-up” you’ll ever encounter, but the kitchen also has no problem cooking a plate of two eggs any style with chicken sausage, bacon, fried potatoes and local spinach. Be sure you order a side of goats’ milk yogurt; you’ll never think of yogurt the same way again.
Washington, DC: Seasons, Four Seasons Hotel (Georgetown)
Yelp/ Cinthia K.
The super-luxe Four Seasons Georgetown is home to Seasons Restaurant, where power brokers rub shoulders with regular folks in search of Washington, D.C.’s finest brunch buffet. For $85, diners can enjoy a selection of meat, fish and game (grilled lamb chops, braised short ribs, Maryland crab cakes, seafood gumbo); seafood (shrimp cocktail, oysters, crab claws, house-smoked salmon, grilled octopus poke, blackened tuna, scallops, lobster salad, ceviche); salads (grilled endive, Cobb, escarole with caramelized pear, baby kale and Brussels sprouts); omelets with fillings including shiitake mushrooms and jumbo lump crab; a wide variety of sides; assorted cheeses and charcuterie; Mexican street tacos; a Reuben sandwich station; and an astounding array of house-made desserts. Bring your appetite!
West Virginia: Bluegrass Kitchen (Charleston)
This popular farm-to-table comfort food spot has a relaxed, 1920’s-era vibe, and its veg-focused menu is primarily sourced from farmers in West Virginia and Appalachia. Bluegrass Kitchen’s brunchtime is all about the comfort food, though: potato skins filled with scrambled local eggs, Vermont cheddar, local bacon and scallions; fresh-made bagel and lox, house-cured, grass-fed corned beef atop a potato cake with peppers, onions and gravy; eggs Benedict with local ham; shrimp and grits; homemade biscuits and gravy; and a breakfast burger topped with local bacon and eggs . Any dish you choose will help start your day on the right foot, especially alongside a $12 carafe of mimosa.
Wisconsin: Mimosa (Franklin)
Yelp/ Ron G.
When a restaurant is called Mimosa, it had better have a killer brunch menu. Thankfully, this Franklin, Wisconsin, hotspot (located just south of Milwaukee) hits it right on the head. Steak and eggs (with shrimp if you like), house-made corned beef hash, blueberry pancakes, chicken and waffles, crêpes, French toast oatmeal, omelets, creative skillets, biscuits and gravy, several creative Benedicts, sandwiches, salads, burgers… This place has all the bases covered, and they do it right.
Wyoming: Café Genevieve (Jackson)
This adorable log cabin located in downtown Jackson, Wyoming, is a fairy tale of brunch come to life (if such a thing exists). In business since 2010, Café Genevieve’s menu focuses on classic home cooking with an eye for the eclectic, and chef Joshua Governale makes plenty of room for wild creativity. Snake River Farms corned beef hash, Cajun eggs Benedict with house-made boudin sausage, huevos con chile verde, grits and eggs, and Belgian waffles are standouts on the breakfast menu, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., additional offerings include a variety of salads, pappardelle with Snake River Farms pork neck ragù and a locally sourced burger and fries. And if you like to have a cocktail or three with your brunch, you can track down the very best bottomless brunch deal in every state.
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