50 States 50 Breakfasts
Food Network Magazine took a cross-country road-trip in search of the ultimate breakfast. Click on the stars to find their top pick in every state.
You won't find Eggs Benedict at this restaurant in historic downtown Mobile, but you will find Eggs Mauvila, Cafe 615's Southern take on the dish. In place of the English muffin: three fried, cheesy grit cakes topped with poached eggs, bacon, hollandaise sauce and handpicked lump crabmeat. Don't balk at the price; considering all the crab you get, it's practically a bargain.
615 Dauphin St.; cafe615mobile.com
GWENNIE'S OLD ALASKA RESTAURANT
Reindeer Sausage Omelet
The Eagley family prides itself on serving Paul Bunyan-worthy breakfasts at its three-story restaurant, and rightly so. The place serves 10 tons of reindeer sausage every year, much of it in orders of this omelet: a five-egger filled with the mild, peppery sausage and blanketed with cheddar cheese sauce. To get the respect of locals, you'll have to clean your plate.
4333 Spenard Rd.; gwenniesrestaurant.com
Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona
"The Over Easy"
A few years ago, chef Aaron May turned an old Phoenix Taco Bell into the first of two sunny breakfast spots and created a dish good enough to bear the restaurant's name: The Over Easy. He tops toasted brioche with a fried egg, sauteed spinach and scallions, then drizzles it with a smoky gravy that soaks into the bread. It's great just like that, but he scatters bacon all over the plate for good measure.
two locations; eatatovereasy.com
Hot Springs, Arkansas
THE PANCAKE SHOP
This family-owned restaurant started serving breakfast — and only breakfast — in 1940, and The Pancake Shop's namesake recipe hasn't changed since. Regulars know to order the banana: Tiny bits of fruit are mixed into the batter, so there's banana in every bite.
216 Central Ave.; 501-624-5720
"Fantastic French Toast"
The signature dish at this Pasadena restaurant involves two morning favorites: breakfast cereal and French toast. Thick slices of sourdough bread are dipped in a cinnamon-sugar egg batter, then dredged in crushed cornflakes mixed with more cinnamon sugar. It's genius construction — the coating stays crunchy even when you smother it with warm syrup and butter.
151 East Walnut St.; marstonsrestaurant.com
Colorado Springs, Colorado
KING'S CHEF DINER
This 13-seat diner looks like a kids' bouncy castle on the outside, but the food isn't child's play: The breakfast burrito is a fiery torpedo loaded with eggs, grilled onions, hash browns and sausage, topped with cheese and served with a side of legendary "habanero-hot" green chili sauce. A fire-breathing dragon on the menu warns patrons to order at their own risk, but few seem deterred.
Two locations; kingschefdiner.com
Bridge and Tunnel Club
"The Portuguese Fisherman"
Kitchen Little is truly itty-bitty — a cute blue waterfront shack on the Mystic River. You'll have to wait for a table on weekends, but put in the time, then try this popular dish: a delicious, slightly fiery scramble of eggs, ground chourico and linguica sausages, and cheese, served with a soft toasted and buttered Portuguese muffin. The only thing you'll need on the side is a mug of coffee.
36 Quarry Rd., Mystic Marina; kitchenlittle.org
"Fried Chicken, Eggs and Waffles"
Talk about politically correct: This D.C. hot spot, just blocks from the White House, serves a breakfast that's as eco-friendly as it is delicious. The chef coats free-range chicken in whole-wheat flour before frying it, then he pairs it with organic eggs, a waffle, and a creamy pepper gravy made from whole-wheat flour and antibiotic-free cream and butter.
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.; wearefoundingfarmers.com
HELEN'S FAMOUS SAUSAGE HOUSE
Truckers love this roadside eatery for its hours — it opens at 4 a.m. — and its snappy pork sausages. They're made by Delaware's famous Kirby and Holloway purveyors and fried each morning using a secret technique handed down for four generations. Each bun gets not one but two juicy, deep-fried links loaded with peppers and onions, or cheese.
4866 North Dupont Hwy.; helenssausagehouse.com
St. Petersburg, Florida
Scrapple, a fried patty of cornmeal and pork scraps, is a Pennsylvania diner staple, and Florida's transplants from the Northeast aren't about to live without it. This landmark restaurant's late founder, Jack Thomas, added scrapple to the menu in the '70s, after making it for years as a cook in the Navy. It's a meal in itself, but it's best paired with home fries and eggs.
2795 34th St. South; 727-867-1907
B. MATTHEW'S EATERY
"HabersHam and Eggs"
This dish pays tribute to Savannah's Revolutionary War hero Joseph Habersham, and he'd be proud of the ham that bears his name: thick-cut, sugar-cured and smoked at this restaurant's sister barbecue joint. It comes with a biscuit, two eggs and seriously rich gravy made with bacon drippings. Regulars know to ask for fresh local tomatoes on the side in the summer.$7;
325 East Bay St.; bmatthewseatery.com
EGGS N' THINGS
"Ahi Steak and Eggs"
When Eggs 'n Things first opened in the '70s, fishermen would walk into the Waikiki spot with their daily catch for the cooks to prepare. New laws nixed that tradition, but today, the fish is still super fresh. Every morning the kitchen dishes out sautéed local ahi tuna with eggs, a nod to the Japanese custom of eating fish at breakfast. Go traditional and ask for rice on the side.
343 Saratoga Rd.; eggsnthings.com
RED FEATHER LOUNGE
Customers clamor for the coveted seats on the outdoor patio here, and they get downright desperate for the oatmeal souffle: The chef makes only about a dozen on weekend mornings, and they often sell out within an hour or two. The cult favorite is something between a trumped-up bowl of oatmeal and a dressed-down dessert — hearty and light at the same time and just a little sweet.
246 North Eighth St.; 208-343-3119
Chicago chef Ina Pinkney once starred as "The Breakfast Queen" in a Quaker Oats commercial, and fans of her scrapple couldn't agree with the title more. In a city known for hot dogs, she dares to make a meatless version of the classic dish: a rich polenta-like patty packed with corn, black beans and cheddar, sautéed just until crisp on the edges.
1235 West Randolph St.; breakfastqueen.com
Bloomington's Village Deli is easy to spot during football season: Before Indiana University home games, devoted fans — of football and breakfast --form a line that stretches out the door. Most of them order the crowd favorite, Paxton's Potatoes, as a side or the main event. The crisp home fries come "Hoosier style": smothered in sausage gravy and shredded cheddar.
409 East Kirkwood Ave.; villagedeli.biz
"Our Famous Pancake"
Disregard the motto on this diner's wall: "Just Like Home, You Don't Always Get What You Want." When you order the flapjacks here you definitely get what you want. They're big and sweet, like cake for breakfast. You just can't expect them to always look the same. The fluffy pancakes come out looking dark yellow or light orange, depending on who mixed up the top-secret batter that day.
124 Main St.; Grovecafe.com
"Buenos Dias Frittata"
The Chef, opened in 1943, is a beloved establishment in Manhattan, KS. Or at least it was until it closed in 1986. But residents of Kansas' so-called Little Apple never forgot the spot, and they got right back in line when locals reopened it in 2008, serving updated fare like the fluffy Buenos Dias Frittata, packed with spicy chorizo (made on site) and drizzled with sour cream and a chipotle sauce.
111 South Fourth St.; thechefcafe.com
LYNN'S PARADISE CAFE
CLOSED-At this colorful cafe, mannequin legs jut out of the walls and tea bags dangle from the ceiling. So it's no surprise that owner Lynn Winter puts an outrageous spin on the food, too. She makes the French toast with thick slices of cinnamon-swirl bread, then tops it with bourbon-vanilla custard, chocolate syrup, strawberries, pecans and whipped cream.
984 Barret Ave.; lynnsparadisecafe.com
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
CAFE DES AMIS
"Got Boudin? Omelet"
In Cajun country, boudin is a no-frills snack that usually comes in the form of a sausage, but at Cafe Des Amis, the mixture of ground pork and rice is all dressed up for breakfast: The chefs grill patties of peppery boudin, sourced from nearby Charlie-T's Specialty Meats, and add them to omelets.
140 East Bridge St.; cafedesamis.com
BOYNTON-MCKAY FOOD CO.
"Fresh Buttermilk Pancakes"
During the summer, Boynton-McKay's owner, Phil McElhaney, stockpiles blueberries from nearby Beth's Farm Market and freezes them so diners can get real-deal blueberry pancakes year-round. Of course, the lines are longest when the berries are just picked; it's the same time of year tourists take over this harbor town and flock to the quaint former pharmacy for breakfast.
30 Main St.; boynton-mckay.com
MISS SHIRLEY'S CAFE
"Shirley's Affair with Oscar"
In Maryland it's never too early in the day for crab, and Miss Shirley's is a case in point: Fresh jumbo lump crabmeat shows up all over the breakfast menu. For this take on veal Oscar, the chef tops fried green tomatoes with crab, two fillets of grilled beef, asparagus and hollandaise, and rounds out the plate with a side of creamy mascarpone grits.
513 West Cold Spring La.; missshirleyscafe.com
CRAIGIE ON MAIN
Doughnut lovers will never agree on yeast versus cake, but they can all appreciate a well-made specimen like the one at Craigie on Main. Chef Tony Maws makes his airy cake doughnuts by folding a sabayon (fluffy egg custard) into the batter; he fries them to order and finishes them with cinnamon sugar and caramel sauce. They're good enough to eat daily, but alas, he only makes them on Sundays.
853 Main St.; craigieonmain.com
THE FLY TRAP
"The Cowboy Curtis"
The Fly Trap is not your granddaddy's diner: The inside is sleek, the soundtrack is ska and reggae, and the breakfast is…well, it's called "blunch": hearty entrees with a breakfast twist. One prime example is the Cowboy Curtis, a hefty cut of boneless rib-eye served with two fried eggs, garlic potatoes and toast. Thick "Wildwest" sauce (it's like ketchup with a kick) ties it all together.
22950 Woodward Ave.; theflytrapferndale.com
"Pastrami and Egg"
At their high-end deli, chefs Matthew Bickford and Michael Ryan have elevated the egg sandwich. Kaiser rolls and American cheese are out; rosemary focaccia and havarti are in — along with pastrami, roasted peppers and harissa, a chili sauce. The sandwich isn't on the menu, but regulars know to ask for it, and early: After 11 a.m., it costs $1 more.$6.50;
800 Washington Ave. North; bewicheddeli.com
TRIPLETT-DAY DRUG COMPANY SODA FOUNTAIN
Beignet enthusiasts usually make a beeline for New Orleans, but they'd be wise to cross the Mississippi border for these extra-fluffy numbers, served at a 1950s-era soda fountain. The secret: They're made from the same buttermilk dough as Triplett-Day's famous biscuits. The only thing more popular than these sweets is co-owner Jim Day, who's been the pharmacist here since 1955.
2429 14th St.; 228-863-2363
ST. LOUIS, Missouri
One of Rooster's best sellers is its version of a St. Louis late-night staple called a "slinger" — two burger patties, hash browns and a couple of eggs (any style) covered with chili and served with toast. Here, the dish is tweaked by replacing the burgers with chunks of andouille sausage and the chili with thick sausage gravy.
1104 Locust St.; roosterstl.com
Great Falls, Montana
GOODE'S Q & BAYOU GRILL
Like a good outfit, the Haystack breakfast is all about smart layering. Chef Harold Goode piles a plate with hash browns, two open-face buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, then he crowns the whole thing with two fried eggs and two strips of bacon before his brother Larry delivers it to the table.
2500 10th Ave. South; goodesqandbayougrill.com
Omaha regulars often order the Belgian waffles a la mode. The dish gets better with every bite as the ice cream melts into the waffle's nooks and mixes with the warm maple syrup. Vanilla seems like the obvious flavor choice, but black walnut is an even better pick — and more fitting, too: Nebraska is covered with black walnut trees.
5914 Center St.; petrows.com
When owner Nancy Horn opened this restaurant almost eight years ago, the first thing she served was quiche, and it's still the star of the menu – specifically her "Cowpoke" version, filled with goat cheese and Black Angus tri-tip grilled right outside the restaurant. The extra-fresh eggs are the real secret to the dish: They come from local chickens who feed on scraps from the restaurant.
855 Mill St.; dishcafecatering.com
Littleton, New Hampshire
THE LITTLETON DINER
"Littleton Buckwheat Pancakes"
This 80-year-old diner, a regular campaign stop during presidential races, is almost as famous for stump speeches as it is for flapjacks. But not quite. The buckwheat pancakes are a real local specialty: They're made with flour that's stone-ground just yards away at the historic Littleton Grist Mill and are served with (sorry, Vermont) strictly New Hampshire maple syrup.
145 Main St.; littletondiner.com
Summit, New Jersey
New Jersey has more diners than any other state in the country, and Summit Diner, set in a 1930s railroad car, is one you can't miss. It's home to the state's gold-standard egg sandwich: a locally baked kaiser rollpiled with eggs, American cheese and Jersey's own Taylor ham, a salty, spiced, salami-like meat, also known as pork roll.
1 Union Pl.; 908-277-3256
Santa Fe, New Mexico
"Atole Pinon Hotcakes"
Evergreens thrive at Santa Fe's 7,000-foot elevation, and the Jennison family makes good use of the trees' plentiful pine nuts: They add them to the crunchy blue-cornmeal hotcakes at their avian-themed restaurant (tecolote means "owl" in the Aztec language Nahuatl). They roast the rich nuts and then sprinkle them into each pancake while it's cooking.
1203 Cerrillos Rd.; tecolotecafe.com
New York, New York
"Poached Eggs with Curried Lentils, Yoghurt and Cilantro"
At this gastro pub inside New York's trendy Ace Hotel, chef April Bloomfield makes you wonder why people poke fun at British food. The best bet on her breakfast menu is a British- Indian dish of two perfectly poached eggs with curried lentils and yogurt, and grilled bread for sopping it all up. Get one of her insanely light, warm scones for dessert: It puts the dense ones we usually eat to shame.
16 West 29th St.; thebreslin.com
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
SUNRISE BISCUIT KITCHEN
"Fried Chicken Biscuit"
Cars are already lined up at this drive-through-only shack when employees arrive at 4:30 a.m., but the place doesn't start serving its famous fried chicken biscuits till 6:00. A staff of seven makes 1,500 biscuits a week for this sandwich, topping each one with butter as it comes out of the oven and stuffing it with a piece of crunchy fried chicken.
1305 East Franklin St.; 919-933-1324
This '50s-style diner draws crowds for its big meals and even bigger personalities: Everyone knows the Kroll's Girls, the chain's grandmotherly spokeswomen, whose motto is "sit down and eat!" Many of the regulars dive into this favorite: a sizzling skillet filled with eggs, ham, onions and peppers, and a hefty portion of fried potatoes.
multiple locations, sitdownandeat.com
OMEGA ARTISAN BAKING
It's the old food-court trick: Most mornings the smell of butter, sugar and cinnamon wafts through Columbus' North Market, drawing shoppers to Amy Lozier's bakery to get her famous cinnamon rolls hot from the oven. Unlike rival buns, Lozier's are more about the cinnamon than the icing; there's just a drizzle of the latter, so the buns aren't too sweet.
59 Spruce St.; northmarket.com
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
"Steak and Eggs"
Hungry cowboys have sauntered into Cattlemen's for steak and eggs since 1910, and the meat is still butchered and aged on site for this breakfast favorite: a five-ounce grilled sirloin with two eggs, hash browns and a biscuit. Don't be surprised if you see regulars ordering a cold one instead of coffee: Cattlemen's starts serving beer at 6 a.m.
1309 South Agnew Ave.; cattlemensrestaurant.com
GREEN SALMON COFFEE HOU
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