50 States of Brunch

Sure, breakfast may be the most-important meal of the day, but brunch is the most-important — and most-anticipated — meal of the week.

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Brunching Without Borders

Whether you’re craving New England seafood Benedicts, Southern biscuits stuffed with shrimp and grits, or eggs smothered in Southwestern chile sauce, here are 50 states’ worth of best brunch bets.

New Haven, Connecticut: Elm City Social

At Elm City Social, guests are encouraged to actually be social by sharing dishes, even at brunch time. The Early Nachos are a great way to start a family-style morning meal. Potato chips made from scratch are fried to order, topped with a homemade triple cheese sauce and seasoned with salt and pepper. The gooey chips are then covered in house-cured bacon and Italian sausage slowly sauteed with onions and red and yellow bell peppers. Sweeten the table with Red Velvet Waffles, which are baked, then topped with fresh berries, whipped cream and creme anglaise. The restaurant serves pitchers of punch as well as the Bloody Marys made with a house mix of San Marzano tomatoes and garnished with a strip of house-cured bacon and a deviled egg.

Go to: Elm City Social

Baltimore: Artifact Coffee and Woodberry Kitchen

Renowned in Baltimore for its farm-to-table commitment, Woodberry Kitchen is a treat at brunch, when the converted factory space is bright with sunshine and packed with diners hungry for wood-fired Morning Flatbread (sausage, ham, potatoes, browned onions, cheddar and farm eggs), the Mobtown Fry (Maryland crab, ham, scrambled eggs and rye toast), Chesapeake oysters and drinks like Counter Culture coffee and day cocktails made with local ingredients and spirits from area distillers. Across the way, sister spot Artifact Coffee offers breakfast all day, every day, including oatmeal and cereals made from locally grown and milled grains and a simple but don’t-miss egg and sausage sandwich served on a griddled English muffin.

Go to: Woodberry Kitchen

Charleston, South Carolina: Poogan's Porch

This sunny spot housed in an 1888 grand Victorian has attracted locals, celebrities and politicians for more than 40 years. The fare here is Low Country cuisine with an innovative approach to classics like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, a pimento cheese BLT and a Low Country omelet with Southern ham. And the name Poogan? It belonged to a neighborhood dog who was once a fixture of the porch. When the restaurant moved in, he was the de facto greeter.

Go to: Poogan's Porch

Madison, Wisconsin: Graze

Cheese is what’s for brunch at Madison’s Graze. That’s not only because the restaurant is located in the heart of Cheesehead country, but also because the cheese here is sourced from local farmers. Start off with the gastropub’s cheese curds made with Hook’s Cheese Company curds that have been coated in a vodka-based batter and flash-fried. The vodka helps the outside stay crisp while the curds become gooey. Next up, there’s the Breakfast Sandwich with “brick” cheese from Widmer’s. Brick is a common cheese in Wisconsin, but the Widmer’s is aged for more punch and flavor — and it’s spreadable. The cheese is generously spread on house-baked bread, layered with ham and bacon sourced from Willow Creek and topped with spinach and fried eggs.

Go to: Graze

Houston: State of Grace

Warm and slathered with cream cheese frosting, State of Grace’s sticky-sweet cinnamon rolls lure fans from all around Houston. Follow them up with Chef Ford Fry’s flaky ham biscuits with prosciutto-peach jam or Southern-inspired takes on locally sourced seafood. Choices include shrimp and grits and the Crawfish Benedict with bacon and crawfish étouffée, cornbread, poached eggs and Creole hollandaise. There are also plenty of local Gulf oysters to round out a Hill Country feast.

Go to: State of Grace

Ann Arbor, Michigan: Spencer

What started as a pop-up quickly morphed into a permanent brick-and-mortar addition to Ann Arbor’s culinary scene. Spencer is part wine and cheese shop and part shareable-plates spot, switching gears to brunch mode on weekends. The offerings change frequently and usually tend toward a theme dreamed up by dream co-owner duo Chef Abby Olitzky and Cheesemonger Steve Hall. Nordic day, for example, yielded rye pancakes topped with gravlax, creme fraiche, roasted beets and lots of dill. Inventive creations pop up here and there, like the chocolate babka pancakes. The regular menu includes seasonal rotating quiches, layered and flaky housemade biscuits, scones and little sandwiches for smaller appetites.

Go to: Spencer

New Orleans: Commander's Palace

There is no other city in America that offers the food, architecture and live music of New Orleans — and few other places take advantage of that during brunch quite the way Commander’s Palace does. A city landmark established in 1883, with its unmistakable turquoise-and-white striped facade, the elegant restaurant has focused on haute Creole cuisine in a kitchen presided over by the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, Jamie Shannon and now Tory McPhail. On weekends, Joe Simon’s Jazz Trio parades around the restaurant playing festive music while some diners dive into a three-course brunch and others join the band and march in the “second line.” If you’re too shy to hop along, focus on the food and cocktails like a Bloody Mary spiked tableside with vodka encased in an ice block.

Go to: Commander's Palace

Denver: Denver Biscuit Co.

Florida native Drew Shader runs multiple restaurant concepts under one roof, rotating them at different times of the day. The day begins with brunch-centric Denver Biscuit Co., serving a biscuit recipe that took six months to perfect, perhaps due to Denver’s 5,280-foot elevation. These delicate pillows of pastry (produced with lots and lots of butter, as Shader explains) are baked throughout the day, so there’s not a single one that’s out of the oven for longer than 30 minutes. Favorite biscuit combinations include the Shrimp and Grits — a hollowed-out biscuit filled with the classic New Orleans combo — and the Dahlia, French toast biscuits soaked in egg batter, griddled and fried with butter, then topped with a homemade sausage patty, a fried egg and a good dousing of maple syrup. But the most-popular order is the Franklin: fried chicken, bacon, cheese and sausage gravy, which Shader says he uses by the gallon.

Go to: Denver Biscuit Co.

Anchorage, Alaska: Snow City Café

When you find yourself in Alaska, aka The Last Frontier, head to Anchorage's Snow City Cafe, a breakfast spot that extends its hours on weekends to accommodate late sleepers. Year-round this breakfast-all-day place poaches more than 100 eggs per day, on top of the hundreds of eggs used in their omelets, breakfast plates and sandwiches. Don't miss the ultra-gooey sticky buns. For a true Alaskan breakfast, try the Kodiak Benedict, a local King crab cake lightly breaded with panko breadcrumbs on a toasted English muffin, topped with housemade hollandaise sauce and green onions.

Go to: Snow City Cafe

Wilmington, Delaware: 8th and Union

Take a culinary tour of Vietnam and Thailand at this modern gastropub. Thai summer rolls inspire an omelet of shrimp, avocado and herbs. Chef Brian Ashby’s go-to is pho, a Vietnamese soup he fell in love with and ate every day in Sydney, Australia. Gluten-intolerant, the chef offers plenty of gluten-free options, including the pho and the chicken and waffles: The chicken is dredged in buttermilk, then dipped in a rice-flour batter and fried to order. The drinks, including lychee, passion fruit and mango mimosas, also have a unique Asian flair.

Go to: 8th and Union

Minneapolis: Hola Arepa

After testing Minneapolis’ arepa waters with a food truck, the folks behind Hola Arepa opened a brick-and-mortar location in a former gas station and convenience store in the Kingfield neighborhood. While the Venezuelan corn pancake is the menu’s focus, there are plenty of dishes from other Latin American cuisines to round out a meal. The Brazilian chicken cachapas, a play on American chicken and waffles, marries a sweet corn pancake with a fried egg, mesquite bacon and charred corn and jalapeno, which make it bright and crunchy. For beverages, the housemade horchata morphs from season to season, taking a frozen form in summer and then becoming a take on eggnog, mixed with rum, allspice dram and bitter amaro, in winter.

Go to: Hola Arepa

Raleigh, North Carolina: Beasley's Chicken + Honey

At celebrated Southern chef Ashley Christensen’s Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, the menu is brimming with childhood favorites. Christensen’s signature dish pays tribute to her mom’s recipe, with a drizzle of honey that nods to her father, who was a hobbyist beekeeper. The bird is brined, dipped in buttermilk, then dredged in flour and cooked in a pressure fryer. At brunch, it’s paired with waffles and also featured in The Reunion sandwich, stacked inside a buttermilk biscuit that’s topped with a fried egg, cheese and Tabasco sauce. Pair the sandwich with the Benton’s Old Fashioned: bacon-fat-washed bourbon (made in-house) with maple syrup and bitters.

Go to: Beasley's Chicken + Honey

Indianapolis: Milktooth

Milktooth knows a bit about brunch: Brunch is its sole focus — six days a week — and it’s become a national phenomenon. Chef-Owner Jonathan Brooks’ menu spans the continents. He recommends starting with Japan’s morning staple, a Spicy Miso Soup with pickled kombu, beech mushrooms and soft tofu. It is the very first dish Brooks wanted to serve, even before the restaurant officially opened. He likes that the soup represents international comfort food beyond typical American dishes. Brooks elevates the classic New York bagel and cream cheese by toasting a housemade bialy, slathering it with whipped cream cheese and confit of bluefin tuna that’s been cured overnight, poached in olive oil and then lightly tossed with aioli, celery and sweet onions, and topping it all with fried capers. Those looking for "hair of the dog" should go for the Cure for Jerks, a sherry-and-whiskey-based cocktail that should straighten them out.

Go to: Milktooth

Manhattan Beach, California: Love & Salt

Brunch at Manhattan Beach's Love & Salt is worth fighting LA traffic. Why? New York-born chef-turned-SoCal resident Michael Fiorelli serves what are arguably the most-memorable buttermilk English muffins in the country. These pillowy starters come with a slab of house-cultured butter sprinkled with a dusting of sea salt and fried rosemary sprigs. That's not the only dish worth the freeway snarl: The Smoked Salmon Everything Bagel with whipped cream cheese, Wood Oven Baked Eggs, Chicken Sausage & Egg Sandwich, Ricotta Pancakes and Warm Italian Donuts (a creation of pastry chef Rebecca Merhej) are near-mandatory follow-ups. Those in the mood for something lunch-y should opt for the Downlow Burger, an ode to the iconic In-N-Out Double-Double. The bar's well-crafted daytime cocktails and bottomless brunch offerings — including a light Strawberry Spritz — only enhance the enjoyment. After the meal, stroll down the hill and walk along the Pacific Ocean.

Go to: Love & Salt

Washington, D.C.: Alta Strada

Two food classics unite at Executive Chef-Owner Michael Schlow's Italian restaurant, Alta Strada. The Everything Bagel Pizza, a hybrid of two iconic dishes, satisfies breakfast and lunch needs in one fell, carb-loaded swoop. Egg-washed dough gets a sprinkle of housemade everything spice — a classic combination of black and white sesame, poppy and caraway seeds mixed with dried onion and garlic flakes. The pizza is baked with ricotta and fontina cheeses, then, once out of the oven, it’s topped with smoked salmon, mascarpone cheese, capers, shaved red onion, cherry tomatoes and dill.

Go to: Alta Strada

Portland, Maine: Union at the Press Hotel

Set inside the award-winning Press Hotel — named for its former use a newspaper factory— Union Restaurant lures tourists and locals alike with regional ingredients in comforting preparations. In lieu of a bagel and lox, try the smoked salmon tartine on pumpernickel bread, topped with shaved hard-boiled eggs, pickled onions, caperberries and everything-bagel spice, as well as local Maine salmon. There’s also a lobster roll perked up with lemony mayonnaise. Order a side of Brussels sprouts, which are crisped and served with a walnut aioli and charred-lemon olive oil.

Go to: Union at the Press Hotel

Honolulu: Koko Head Cafe

Surfers work up big appetites catching morning swells, and on Oahu, many of them head straight for Koko Head Cafe. At the strictly breakfast-and-brunch spot, celebrity chef Lee Anne Wong designs her dishes around produce and proteins she sources direct from the islands, for creative spins on local favorites. There are sweet and savory options. Cornflake French Toast is composed of two pieces of local Punalu'u sweet bread dredged in coconut custard and then rolled in cornflakes, fried until crispy and topped off with a creamy black pepper-maple syrup. The Koko Moco, a take on local comfort food loco moco, is served on a bed of crisp-bottom garlic rice with a grass-fed local beef patty, homemade mushroom gravy, a sunny-side-up egg from local farm Kalei, tempura-fried kimchi, togarashi, sesame seeds and scallions.

Go to: Koko Head Cafe

Leawood, Kansas: Tavern at Mission Farms

Housed in a sprawling brick building, Tavern at Mission Farms is the place to go in greater Kansas City for a celebratory brunch. It offers an array of lunch-y and brunch-y items like the cinnamon-sugar quinoa, which is a hot cereal with toasted almonds, dried apricots, vanilla yogurt, fresh berries and rosemary honey, and a savory, hearty short rib hash with sauteed potatoes, onion, peppers and tender pulled beef short rib, topped with poached eggs and a zesty chimichurri sauce.

Go to: Tavern at Mission Farms

Cleveland: The Greenhouse Tavern

Anyone who says french fries aren’t a morning food should swing by The Greenhouse Tavern for No Name Frites. Composed of twice-fried Belgian-style frites topped with melted mozzarella curds, bacon lardons, black pepper gravy, fried eggs and mustard seeds, the hearty poutine is brunch perfection. Pair it with a side of chicken wings, which are confited for eight hours, air-dried for 24 hours, deep-fried until golden brown, then tossed with fresh lemon, roasted jalapeno and green onions.

Go to: The Greenhouse Tavern

Philadelphia: Wm. Mulherin's Sons

A rustic Italian restaurant, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons serves weekend fare that includes Eggs on a Volcano (a take on Israeli shakshouka), family-style Steak and Eggs, and a sweet-and-savory doughnut sandwich. The doughnut was added to the menu as an homage to breakfasts of one’s youth, with the hopes it would have the additional benefit of helping to cure guests’ hangovers. A hybrid of two morning classics, the dish piles smoked ham, fried eggs and Fontina cheese between halves of a squishy, freshly baked glazed doughnut, all served beside fried potatoes and caramelized onions.

Go to: Wm. Mulherin's Sons

Asbury Park, New Jersey: Porta

Asbury Park brings to mind the Stone Pony, where Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band got their start. But those who make a Boss-inspired pilgrimage should also stop in at Porta. The restaurant’s focus is authentic Neapolitan pizza, which is offered alongside dishes like Eggs in Purgatory, eggs poached in bubbling San Marzano tomato sauce with lashes of ricotta salata. The closest thing to a bacon, egg and cheese in pizza form is the Carbonara: guanciale, Parmigiano Reggiano, egg, parsley, black pepper and olive oil. While you won’t find Bruce playing, there’s live jazz and lines out the door — people waiting for the $5 mimosa carafes available at the bar.

Go to: Porta

New York City: Russ & Daughters Cafe

Sunday in New York has always been about bagels and lox. For the last century, the bagels have ideally been dressed with silky-smooth smoked fish from Russ & Daughters on Houston Street. In 2014, the fourth generation of the Russ family opened a sit-down restaurant, Russ & Daughters Cafe, where devotees can dine on platters of smoked fish and other traditional Jewish foods. A way to get a little nosh of everything is to order the Hattie Platter, composed of an assortment of traditional smoked fish — whitefish, kippered (baked) salmon, Gaspe Nova smoked salmon, sable — and presented with accoutrements including plain and scallion cream cheese, tomatoes, onions, capers, pickles (direct from the barrel) and pickled vegetables. It’s served with the house breadbasket, which is brimming with bagels, bialys, rye bread, pumpernickel bread and challah that’s baked at Russ & Daughters Bagels & Bakery. With a second cafe at the Jewish Museum on New York’s Fifth Avenue, Russ & Daughters offers two chances to nab a seat on a Sunday.

Go to: Russ & Daughters Cafe

Iowa City, Iowa: Pullman Bar & Diner

Pullman Bar & Diner's owner, Cory Kent, serves only local, organic eggs at this downtown Iowa City favorite. A menu staple that showcases the egg in all its grandeur is the Croque Madame. With bread sourced from the Bread Garden in Iowa City, the sandwich is stuffed with thinly sliced ham drenched in a cheesy Mornay sauce and crowned with a sunny-side-up egg. The granola-crusted brioche French toast’s crispy outer crust is softened with a dollop of maple butter, and the toast has a filling of house preserves. For a local spirit, try the Tipsy Pig, an old-fashioned maple-walnut cocktail that’s made with local whiskey and that includes house-cured bacon and an orange garnish.

Go to: Pullman Bar & Diner

Phoenix: Matt's Big Breakfast

When connecting through the Phoenix airport, make your way to Matt's Big Breakfast in Terminal 4. But if you’re lucky enough to have a weekend in the Valley of the Sun, head to the original Matt's, where the team’s been slinging morning favorites for over a decade. As the name indicates, breakfast is the theme, and it’s served all day, every day. Owner Matt Pool seeks out ingredients from quality purveyors around the country, for dishes like Salami and Eggs with soppressata flown in from San Francisco’s world-famous Molinari. If you're down for some more pork with your eggs, go for The Chop & Chick: two eggs, a pesto-marinated, skillet-seared Iowa pork rib chop, toast and your choice of potatoes. Served on the bone, this meaty and juicy chop is fit for a caveman.

Go to: Matt's Big Breakfast

Manchester, New Hampshire: The Local Moose

With beans sourced from a roaster in nearby Amherst, The Local Moose makes great coffee. Pair some with the Free Ranger Egg Sandwich. Served since late 2015, the beloved sandwich has already gained a large following. This egg sandwich is dressed up with Vermont cheddar and served on a house-baked brioche bun made with locally sourced honey. Customers can add locally smoked, nitrate-free bacon or ham, local greens, avocado or tomato (when in season). Variations on the Free Ranger are added to the menu each month, such as the Apple Free Ranger (local apples sauteed with brown sugar, local butter, apple pie spices, an egg and cheddar), the Butternut Squash Free Ranger (a Swiss-topped spread of egg and roasted squash) and the Kale Free Ranger (sauteed kale with chile-maple pecans, an egg and more of that tangy Vermont cheddar). New to the roster: beer-inspired doughnuts, a collaboration with a local brewery that’s yielded sweets such as the peanut butter chocolate milk stout topped with roasted peanuts.

Go to: The Local Moose

Portland, Oregon: Tasty n Alder

In all likelihood, the line of customers eager to get into Tasty n Alder will stretch down the sidewalk before the doors even open. Insiders know to gear up for a wait in line by ordering a chocolate potato doughnut with creme anglaise from the bartender to curb hunger. Once seated, go for Tasty Steak & Cheddar Eggs or Korean Fried Chicken. The grilled Creekstone Farms hanger steak is served in a hot cast-iron skillet alongside a savory cornmeal pancake, cheesy scrambled eggs and a jalapeno butter melting over all of it. The Korean Fried Chicken yields battered boneless chicken in a sweet-and-spicy orange glaze made with fermented chile paste and ginger. It’s served over short-grain rice with housemade kimchi, marinated cucumbers and both a sunny-side-up egg and a pickled six-minute egg.

Go to: Tasty n Alder

Oklahoma City: Packard's

Named for its setting inside a historic Packard car dealership, Packard's is far from an old-school restaurant. Start with the raspberry chocolate chip muffins or savory crab beignets. Wherever possible, the restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients, including the honey in the butter that’s spread on the flapjacks, and coffee from local purveyors. The Fried Chicken Biscuit, slathered with pimento cheese, uses free-range chicken and eggs from Fisher Eggs in Bristow.

Go to: Packard's

Seattle: Tilikum Place Café

Tilikum Place Café is known for its many iterations of the Dutch baby. The giant baked pancake starts with a batter similar to that of a popover — a blend of flour, milk, eggs and salt, but no leavening agent. A Northwest classic, it is believed to have originated with European and Scandinavian immigrants adapting to American cooking styles. Chef-Owner Ba Culbert learned about them from an old family friend and became something of a Dutch-baby whisperer, experimenting with ingredients and flavors, and persevering despite occasional failures. Dishes rotate on and off the menu, but typically include savories like a bacon-broccoli-cheddar; the Classic lemon with powdered sugar is always available. For bigger brunch appetites, in advance of ordering a Dutch Baby, tuck into the Tilikum Fry Up or Baked Eggs with asparagus, pancetta, Parmesan-peppercorn cream, dusted with bread crumbs for texture.

Go to: Tilikum Place Café

St. Louis: Half & Half

If s’mores French toast, cinnamon-sugar doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce, warm oven-baked oatmeal or raspberry-granola-and-mascarpone-stuffed pancakes appeal to you for brunch, then Half & Half shouldn’t disappoint. Husband-and-wife chef-owners Liz and Mike Randolph have served these and many other decadent dishes to their Clayton neighborhood for several years. The menu, overseen by Executive Chef Dale Beauchamp, also includes Mexican- and Asian-inspired dishes like Breakfast Fried Rice, scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, jalapeno and onions, and a chorizo-guacamole eggs Benedict. Half & Half is also a great place for morning coffee: The Randolphs have worked closely with local roaster Blueprint Coffee to develop their own custom blends; they also feature a rotating guest roaster each month.

Go to: Half & Half

Omaha, Nebraska: Petrow's

The oldest restaurant in the Cornhusker State, Petrow's is a famed family diner that began as a candy and ice cream store. Now run by the third generation of the Petrow family, the restaurant serves a full menu, including excellent morning options. Of the classics, the highest ranking is the Omaha Potato Casserole, a savory combination of sausage, eggs, hash browns, onions and peppers. Regulars also love the chicken-fried steak and eggs, and the waffles topped with housemade ice cream — chocolate, strawberry and black walnut — and drizzled with maple syrup and crushed English walnuts.

Go to: Petrow's

Mandan, North Dakota: Frieds Family Restaurant

Not to be confused with the cinnamon roll, sticky bun or any other swirled morning pastry, the caramel roll is a staple of weekend mornings in North Dakota. At Frieds Family Restaurant, outside Bismarck, the staff has served this sticky goodie for more than 60 years. Doughy, golden and lacquered with a syrupy brown-sugar glaze, the delicacy is best devoured after chowing down on the Rancher's Special — hash browns, diced onion, peppers, ham and melted American cheese, all sitting beside two eggs and your choice of toast or pancakes.

Go to: Frieds Family Restaurant

Rapid City, South Dakota: Tally's Silver Spoon

For 60 years this Rapid City restaurant has been a destination for breakfast, lunch and brunch. According to current chef-owner Benjamin Klinkel, it was a staple meeting spot for the downtown workers. Back then, Tally’s belonged to Tally Winter. Rather than change the name, Klinkel tacked on “Silver Spoon” and updated the brunch menu, adding items like Duck Duck Goose (sweet potato with onions, duck confit and gooseberry jam topped with foie gras and sunny-side-up egg) and an oatmeal waffle with vanilla-yogurt sauce. Despite the changes, he dared not change the pancake recipe, a recipe so guarded and beloved that Klinkel purchased it along with the shop’s windows. The salty-sweet flavors of the hotcakes are due to the butter whipped with buttermilk, honey and salt, and to a heavy dousing of maple syrup. For $4.50, the Tally’s Original gets you a pancake, bacon, sausage, ham and one egg. Add just $2.75 more to get a copy of the Rapid City Journal and coffee, too.

Go to: Tally's Silver Spoon

Park City, Utah: Glitretind Restaurant at Stein Eriksen Lodge

Glitretind Restaurant at the 5-star Stein Eriksen Lodge in scenic Deer Valley is known for its Sunday feast. For mountaineers looking to fuel up, the buffet spread includes salads, locally cured meats, smoked fish and stations of hot food, including a carving station with meats like the Double R Ranch prime rib of beef and Snake River Farms bone-in hams. There are dozens of options on the dessert table, along with Millcreek coffee, fresh-squeezed juice and warming hot chocolate. While it’ll slow skiers down from hitting the slopes again, it’s excellent fortification for any afternoon activity.

Photography courtesy of Stein Eriksen Lodge

Go to: Glitretind Restaurant

Oxford, Mississippi: Big Bad Breakfast

Chef John Currence is enough of an expert on breakfast that he owns a restaurant called Big Bad Breakfast and penned the Big Bad Breakfast cookbook, sharing recipes based on his beloved Mississippi canteen. Head to the Oxford spot to feast on a plethora of eggs with steaks, chili, bacon, andouille sausage, chicken sausage, country ham, shrimp, crawfish and more. There are veggies, too, done up in what Currence calls “Yardwork” style, fried in a hot iron skillet with loads of seasonal produce. Basics like a house granola and oatmeal are simple and tasty, as the grain is from Anson Mills and the cereals are served with fresh berries.

Go to: Big Bad Breakfast

Birmingham, Alabama: Galley and Garden

This white-tablecloth restaurant in a historic turn-of-the-century home on Birmingham’s scenic Highland Avenue perks up Sundays with live music. At the helm, veteran chef James Boyce designs an elegant menu of refined classics, including Southern shrimp and grits topped with poached eggs, and a rich brioche French toast stuffed with whipped goat cheese from Belle Chevre in nearby Huntsville. Added to the menu as a culinary experiment, this filling is sweetened with vanilla, orange zest and spices, with mixed berries whipped in at the end. Once stuffed, the steaming tower is topped with coffee syrup that’s made from the house blend and reduced with brown sugar and cinnamon to give it the proper consistency and sweetness.

Go to: Galley & Garden

Bozeman, Montana: Cateye Cafe

For more than a decade, Montanans have chowed down on down-home Big Sky cooking at the family-owned Cateye Cafe. The brunch menu offers all the greatest hits, plus scrambles, hashes, pumpkin-pecan pancakes and Arthun Ranch steak, which hails from Wilsall, just 40 miles away. The local meat is griddled and served with two eggs any style, toast and the house special Cateye potato cake.

Go to: Cateye Cafe

Wilson, Wyoming: Nora's Fish Creek Inn

How can you beat a place that’s housed in a log cabin and has a James Beard Foundation Award? Nora's Fish Creek Inn serves homey food, including trout with eggs, and pancakes and banana bread that lure crowds. Opt for a short stack studded with wild blueberries, or the banana bread French toast piled high and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar to make it look just like the snowcapped mountains in the Teton Pass. 

Go to: Nora’s Fish Creek Inn

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