50 States, 50 Breakfasts

Food Network travels to 50 states to find the country's best breakfasts.

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Photo By: Carl Schultz

Photo By: Adrian Suarez ©Adrian Suarez

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Eggs Mauvila From Café 615: Mobile, Alabama

You won’t find Eggs Benedict at this restaurant in historic downtown Mobile, but you will find Eggs Mauvila, Café 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

Reindeer Sausage Omelet From Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant: Anchorage, Alaska

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. Multiple locations; gwenniesrestaurant.com

The Over Easy From Over Easy: Arizona

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, sautéed 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. multiple locations; eatatovereasy.com

Banana Pancakes From The Pancake Shop: Hot Springs, Arkansas

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. The huge flapjacks are especially popular during horse-racing season, when jockeys and trainers stop in for a stack before heading to the nearby track. 216 Central Ave.; pancakeshop.com

Fantastic French Toast From Marston’s Restaurant: Pasadena, California

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. multiple locations; marstonsrestaurant.com

Breakfast Burrito From King’s Chef Diner: Colorado Springs, Colorado

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: The owner opened a second location to keep up with demand for the hot stuff. two locations; kingschefdiner.com

The Portuguese Fisherman From Kitchen Little: Mystic, Connecticut

Kitchen Little is truly itty-bitty — it's 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 chouriço and linguiça 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.; kitchenlittle.org

Sausage Sandwich From Helen’s Famous Sausage House: Smyrna, Delaware

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. Most people grab one to go, but if you stay, you get to eat in the kitschy Elvis room. 4866 North Dupont Hwy.; helenssausagehouse.com

Philadelphia Scrapple From Skyway Jack’s: 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. Today, each slice is still fried to order. It’s a meal in itself, but it’s best paired with home fries and eggs. 2795 34th St. South; 727-867-1907

HabersHam and Eggs From B. Matthew’s Eatery: Savannah, Georgia

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. 325 East Bay St.; bmatthewseatery.com

Ahi Steak and Eggs From Eggs ’n Things: Honolulu, Hawaii

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. multiple locations; eggsnthings.com

Oatmeal Soufflé From Red Feather Lounge: Boise, Idaho

Customers clamor for the coveted seats on the outdoor patio here, and they get downright desperate for the oatmeal soufflé. 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. Make sure you show up before 10 a.m. if you want to snag one. 246 North Eighth St.; bcrfl.com

CLOSED- Vegetarian Scrapple from Ina's: Chicago, Illinois

Update: This restaurant is now closed.

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. It’s the perfect vehicle for sopping up runny eggs. 4170 N. Marine Drive, 22F; breakfastqueen.com

Paxton's Potatoes From Village Deli: Bloomington, Indiana

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 From Grove Café: Ames, Iowa

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 From The Chef: Manhattan, Kansas

The Chef, opened in 1943, is a beloved establishment in Manhattan, Kan. 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

CLOSED- French Toast From Lynn’s Paradise Café: Louisville, Kentucky

Update: This restaurant is now closed.

At this colorful café, 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. It’s one big excuse to eat dessert for breakfast. 984 Barret Ave.; lynnsparadisecafe.com

Got Boudin? Omelet From Café Des Amis: Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

In Cajun country, boudin is a no-frills snack that usually comes in the form of a sausage, but at Café 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. The dish is great any morning but especially on Saturdays, when diners dance between the tables to live Creole-influenced zydeco music. The party starts at 7:30 a.m. 140 East Bridge St.; cafedesamis.com

Fresh Buttermilk Pancakes From Boynton-McKay Food Co.: Camden, Maine

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

Shirley’s Affair With Oscar From Miss Shirley’s Café: Baltimore, Maryland

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.; missshirleys.com

Doughnut From Craigie on Main: Cambridge, Massachusetts

UPDATE: This restaurant no longer offers brunch. 

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 Cowboy Curtis From The Fly Trap: A Finer Diner: Ferndale, Michigan

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 steak 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 & Egg From Be’wiched Deli: Minneapolis, Minnesota

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. multiple locations; bewicheddeli.com

Beignets From Triplett-Day Drug Company Soda Fountain: Gulfport, Mississippi

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. $3.25 for two; 2429 14th St.; 228-863-2363

Rooster Slinger From Rooster: St. Louis, Missouri

Although crêpes dominate the menu at this downtown café, 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, owner David Bailey tweaks the dish for breakfast by replacing the burgers with chunks of andouille sausage and the chili with thick sausage gravy. 1104 Locust St.; roosterstl.com

Haystack From Goode’s Q & Bayou Grill: Great Falls, Montana (Closed)

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 crowns the whole thing with two fried eggs and two strips of bacon before his brother Larry delivers it to the table. How fitting that the restaurant is in a log cabin — this is a meal meant for a lumberjack.

Belgian Waffle From Petrow’s Restaurant: Omaha, Nebraska

This family-owned diner is famous for its ice cream, and fortunately you don’t have to wait until dessert to try it. Omaha regulars often order the Belgian waffles à 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

Cowpoke Quiche From Dish Café: Reno, Nevada

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 Buckwheat Pancakes From The Littleton Diner: Littleton, New Hampshire

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

The Slider From Summit Diner: 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 roll piled 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

Atolé Piñon Hotcakes From Tecolote Café: Santa Fe, New Mexico

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. 1616 St Michaels Dr.; tecolotecafe.com

Poached Eggs With Curried Lentils, Yogurt and Cilantro From The Breslin: New York City

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

Fried Chicken Biscuit From Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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. The place sells out before closing time almost every day. multiple locations; sunrisebiscuits.com

Rancher Skillet From Kroll’s Diner: North Dakota

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. sitdownandeat.com

Cinnamon Rolls From Omega Artisan Baking: Columbus, Ohio

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

Steak and Eggs From Cattlemen’s Steakhouse: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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

Triple Berry Toast From Green Salmon Coffee House: Yachats, Oregon

Update: Menu changes seasonally.

Yachats is a popular vacation spot on the central Oregon coast, and like any good beach town, it has a reliable breakfast spot. Never mind the name of the place, the dish to order here is this sweet one: two thick slabs of sourdough toast slathered with mascarpone cheese and drowned in fresh berries and honey. It’s almost all organic, and it’s crazy delicious. 220 Hwy. 101 North; thegreensalmon.com

Strawberry Hotcakes From Pamela’s P&G Diner: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

There’s a reason these hotcakes sell like, well, you know. They’re extra-thin, lacy at the edges and filled with fresh strawberries, brown sugar and — the kicker — sour cream, which adds just the right bit of tang. The flapjacks here weren’t always this good; co-owner Pam Cohen came up with the now-secret recipe after a waitress slammed her original puffier ones decades ago. $6.75; six locations; pamelasrestaurants.com

Johnnycakes From Jigger’s Diner: East Greenwich, Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, but it’s large enough to have regional twists on a statewide fave: johnnycakes. Unlike the extra-thin johnnycakes east of Narragansett Bay, the cakes at Jigger’s are thick cornmeal patties, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. They’re served with butter and maple syrup, although some purists insist on skipping the latter. 145 Main St.; jiggersdiner.com

Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp With Grits From Marina Variety Store Restaurant: Charleston, South Carolina

On Charleston’s Ashley River, boat captains and their crew members pull up to docks near this waterfront spot and stop in for a bite. Seafarers and landlubbers alike go for the house specialty: fried green tomatoes and shrimp hauled in the night before from nearby Shem Creek, served over creamy grits. The grits have just a hint of cheese; they’re made with Parmesan instead of the usual cheddar. 17 Lockwood Dr.; varietystorerestaurant.com

Buffalo Steak Tips and Eggs From Blue Bell Lodge at Custer State Park Resort: Custer, South Dakota

Update: Menu has changed. 


Tourists often head to South Dakota’s mountainous Custer State Park looking for a quintessential dude-ranch experience, and that includes a stop at this log-cabin lodge for the ultimate South Dakota breakfast: a skillet packed with buffalo tips, eggs, hash browns and toast. It’s enough to keep a rancher full till dinner. 25453 SD Highway 87custerresorts.com

Tennessee “Jack” Egg Sandwich From The Capitol Grille: Nashville, Tennessee

Diners at this fancy restaurant in the 100-year-old Hermitage Hotel can smell bacon before they walk in the door. Ever since chef Tyler Brown built a smoker in the hotel’s parking lot last year, the scent of meat has drifted onto the sidewalk, luring diners in for his Tennessee egg sandwich: an egg, hog-jowl bacon and tomato gravy between two pieces of French toast soaked in Jack Daniel’s, the local drink of choice. 231 Sixth Ave. North; capitolgrillenashville.com

Reggie’s Weekend Special From Torres Taco Haven: San Antonio, Texas

This huge meal started as a weekend special, until customers at the bustling family-friendly restaurant demanded it become a daily item. It’s a heap of the Texas specialty barbacoa (shredded slow-cooked beef) served with chile-pepper potatoes, salsa, eggs and mashed refried beans — plus homemade corn tortillas and two mini quesadillas. two locations; tacohaven.info

Sill’s Famous Scone From Sill’s Café: Layton, Utah

In most parts of the country, a scone is a triangular biscuit-like pastry. But in Utah it’s a patty of deep-fried dough, like a flat, hole-less doughnut, and Sill’s is the place to try one, smeared with delicious honey butter. The restaurant, founded by the town’s former mayor, changed locations, but its devoted customers happily followed. 35 East Gentile St.; 801-544-7438

Penny Cluse From Penny Cluse Café: Burlington, Vermont

Green isn’t exactly a standard color for gravy, but customers are happy to get their biscuits covered with chef Maura O’Sullivan’s special sauce — it’s tinted by spinach, basil and parsley. The dish, named after co-owner Holly Cluse’s childhood dog, comes with two eggs, any style, and a mound of O’Sullivan’s home fries. Regulars at the always-packed spot are known to order it more than once a week. 169 Cherry St.; pennycluse.com

California Huevos Rancheros From Kuba Kuba: Richmond, Virginia

When chef Manny Méndez was little, his father turned the family living room into a bodega, selling hard-to-find Cuban foods to fellow immigrants in Richmond. Méndez followed in his dad’s footsteps at Kuba Kuba, selling groceries alongside dishes like his popular huevos rancheros: two eggs over red beans and crusty Cuban bread, topped with cheese, avocado and a lime-garlic sour cream. 1601 Park Ave.; kubakuba.info

Corned Beef Mash From The Braeburn Restaurant: Langley, Washington

Quaint Whidbey Island, in Puget Sound, is a perfect one-day getaway from Seattle, particularly when the day starts here, with juice served in a mason jar and this killer breakfast. The Mash is a delicious mess of corned beef, garlic mashed potatoes and Irish cheese topped off with three eggs. The dish has a heavy Irish influence, but the ingredients aren’t far-flung: They all come from the island or the Pacific Northwest. 197 Second St.; braeburnlangley.com

Fried Chicken, Eggs and Waffles From Founding Farmers: Washington, D.C.

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. multiple locations; wearefoundingfarmers.com

He-Man Breakfast From The Poky Dot Diner: Fairmont, West Virginia

The He-Man Breakfast at this quirky diner comes on top of a garbage-pail lid (a clean one, of course), and you’ll have to do your best garbage-disposal imitation to polish off the goods: four eggs, four strips of bacon, two sausage links, two sausage patties, four pancakes, two large biscuits with sausage gravy, plus home fries, toast and a slice of ham. The dish is sold all day and yes, it’s meant to be conquered solo. 1111 Fairmont Ave.; thepokydot.com

Swedish Pancakes From Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik: Sister Bay, Wisconsin

This place doesn’t just nod to Wisconsin’s Scandinavian heritage, it full-on embraces it. Real goats graze on the grass-lined roof, just as livestock do on mountainside homes in Scandinavia. The specialty of the house: Swedish pancakes, of course, extra thin (they’re made without any leavening agent) and topped with Wisconsin butter and tart lingonberries. You can get bacon on the side, but Swedish meatballs seem like the more fitting choice. 10698 North Bay Shore Dr.; aljohnsons.com

Chicken-Fried Steak, Eggs and Potatoes From Sherrie’s Place: Casper, Wyoming

Chicken-fried steak is a Wyoming staple, but no one has mastered the classic dish quite like Sherrie Lopez, the owner of this homey restaurant. She coats tender medallions of beef in panko breadcrumbs to get an extra-crunchy crust, and she smothers the finished steak with a thick, chunky gravy loaded with crumbles of breakfast sausage. 310 West Yellowstone Hwy.; 307-235-3513

This list originally appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine. It is fact-checked annually. Please contact our customer support team with any issues. 

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