What Do New Yorkers Really Eat for Breakfast?

Bagels, donuts, muffins – what true New Yorkers grab on the go to get them through the morning

Many New Yorkers hit food carts for a morning pick-me-up.

Have you ever wondered what New Yorkers really eat for breakfast? Sometimes it seems as though every corner in the city has a food cart. These venerable pop-up shops have been a tradition for decades, serving hungry, often impatient customers a variety of breakfast items. But what exactly are New Yorkers eating most frequently?

What Do New Yorkers Really Eat for Breakfast?

It should come as no surprise that most New Yorkers start the day with a liquid meal: coffee. But to determine the most popular breakfast food, The Daily Meal sent a team of reporters to hit the streets in search of some literal coffee talk.

During our watch, 649 customers ordered a total of 363 cups of coffee making it by a large margin a New Yorker's premier breakfast on-the-go. For a more substantive breakfast, bagels rang in second with 135 orders. But muffins, croissants, and egg sandwiches held their own with nearly 165 orders combined.  So it seems true that New Yorkers stay loyal to their coffee and bagels.

What New Yorkers Eat for Breakfast

Foods Total Foods Total
Hot Coffee 363 Fried Dumpling 10
Bagel 135 Almond Roll 6
Iced Coffee 105 Bread Roll with Butter 6
Egg Sandwich 63 Soda 6
Muffin 52 Lemon Loaf 5
Croissant 49 Pork Bun 5
Donut 43 Pound Cake 4
Water 33 Sesame Ball 4
Tea 27 Cinnamon Roll 3
Congee 25 Coconut Cream Bun 3
Orange Juice 10 Apple Turnover 2
Bowtie Pastry 18 Hard-Boiled Eggs 2
Pineapple Bun 18 Bacon Scallion Bun 1
Raisin Bun 11    

Customers gravitate to these quick stops to grab breakfast while rushing to catch trains, buses, cabs, and sometimes even pedicabs. Bagels, egg sandwiches, and croissants are some of the usual fare for those looking for a cheap, quick bite. But depending on the neighborhood, breakfast fare ranges drastically, and some locations offer treats some people may have never even heard of before.

From the streets of SoHo to the Upper East Side and beyond here’s the skinny on what Manhattanites are really eating in the morning.

What do New Yorkers eat for breakfast? Photos: Russell Illig, Ciaran Griffin, Medioimages/Photodisc, istockphoto, Photoshop: Jane Bruce