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.
Photography courtesy of Manny Vargas, MV Photography
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 a crab omelet with shishito peppers and bearnaise. 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.
Photography courtesy of Spencer
Go to: Spencer
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 French Toast biscuits, which are 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.
Richmond: Early Bird Biscuit Co.
Go to: Early Bird 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
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
Boise, Idaho: Juniper on 8th
Idaho offers much more than potatoes. To access the bounty of what the Gem State has to offer, grab a table at Juniper on 8th, where the menu showcases the state's best craft brews, local wines, Idaho trout, bison and beef, not to mention the local juniper berry, for which the restaurant is named. The main ingredient in gin, juniper berry is what makes the Juni and the Jets cocktail (gin, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, juniper simple syrup and sparkling wine) a brunch must. This light and refreshing cocktail is best paired with the huevos rancheros: hearty house-smoked Kurobuta pork combined with organic red beans and topped with fried local eggs, pickled onions and creme fraiche, all served over a savory polenta cake.
Go to: Juniper on 8th
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 Toast with whipped cream cheese, Wood Oven Baked Eggs, Long Island Breakfast Sandwich (a nod to the chef's home region), Ricotta Pancakes and Warm Pumpkin Bread with sweet mascarpone (a creation of pastry chef Rebecca Merhej) are near-mandatory follow-ups. Those in the mood for something lunch-y should ask for the off-the-menu 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
Known for fried chicken — it’s drawn the likes of Beyoncé and Jay Z — Buck's in Wicker Park also serves a sensational brunch. The Shrimp and Grits presents two pan-fried, head-on prawns tossed in a tasso ham gravy and tucked into a delicious mess of slow-cooked cheesy Geechie Boy grits finished with sliced scallions. For a bit more green, opt for the Fried Green Tomato Benedict. Two discs of fried green tomatoes stand in for traditional English muffins as the base for this mammoth dish. They’re dredged in seasoned cornmeal and fried, then topped with housemade tasso ham that’s been brined for 24 hours, rubbed with spices and smoked for seven hours. Two poached Slagel Farms eggs top the salty pork, and the dish is smothered with a Creole-spiced hollandaise sauce.
Go to: Buck's
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
Louisville, Kentucky: Please and Thank You
Though you can go to Louisville’s Please and Thank You any day of the week for morning coffee and baked goods, it’s at its best on weekends when locals linger over the morning paper. The bakery and coffee shop — which is also a vintage-record store — offers Curious Bagels (sourced from a bakery in Indiana), smeared with whipped cream cheese, sliced red onion and peppadew peppers. To kick off a lazier Sunday, try the Chive Ass Biscuit, which is mixed with chives and served as a sandwich with local eggs, apricot jam and white cheddar. Insiders know to order a warm (and award-winning) chocolate chip cookie for later. Please and Thank You has a location in Louisville’s Clifton neighborhood (the original is in the city’s East Market Street District) that offers more expansive seating in which to nurse your coffee while listening to music from the jukebox.
Go to: Please and Thank You
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. Chef Chris Painter added the doughnut to the menu as an homage to breakfasts of his youth, hoping 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 the parmigiana polenta with a velvety soft-boiled egg, broccoli rabe and hollandaise sauce. 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 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
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
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Alden & Harlow
Harvard Square has plenty of culinary treasures to offer, including Tony Maws’ Craigie on Main and Will Gilson’s Puritan & Co., but another not to miss is Alden & Harlow. The tucked-away subterranean restaurant excels at Friday cocktails, Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch, giving devotees plenty of reasons to visit each week. When it comes to brunch, the menu deviates from the routine with options like kale toasts sitting in a pool of a garlicky anchovy aioli and topped with two fried eggs and Benton’s crispy bacon. If pancakes are your jam, veer toward the Pickled Corn Pancakes with fresh figs, buttermilk yogurt and mint. Pair the food with boozy concoctions like the Monday Morning — Fernet Branca amaro, absinthe and pineapple, lime and orange juices — or the Slow and Steady, with Pimm’s, tequila, grenadine, lime and housemade ginger beer.
Go to: Alden & Harlow
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).
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 Fat Elvis Muffins, bacon-topped banana muffins frosted in chocolate. 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 Grandma Nelle's farm in Tahlequah.
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. Options include a savory bacon-broccoli-cheddar along with sweet creations like the blueberry-lemon ricotta. One interesting version that did not fail is the now-popular version studded with duck confit and dried local cherries.
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 Sushi, featuring bacon-wrapped eggs, 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
Bentonville, Arkansas: The Hive
Focusing on local ingredients and regional specialties, Chef Matthew McClure and his team turn out refined, country-style dishes that are the ultimate taste of the contemporary High South. That means hickory-smoked hams, local black walnuts and the Southern morning staple of grits. A stellar way to start a Sunday is cutting into The Hive's cider-braised pork shoulder. Served with rice grits, cranberry beans, a sunny-side-up egg and salsa verde, the slow-brined local pork is braised in a fresh cider made from local Arkansas apples, Madeira wine, mirepoix and dried chiles, making for an aromatic dish that's good on a winter weekend day.
Go to: The Hive
Santa Fe, New Mexico: Tia Sophia's
A go-to Santa Fe spot since its opening in 1975, Tia Sophia's serves comidas nativas — cuisine native to Northern New Mexico. The main attraction is the Breakfast Burrito, which Tia Sophia’s claims to have created. The flour tortilla is stuffed with a choice of bacon, bologna or ham, as well as potatoes, then smothered with chile sauce and melted cheese and topped with an over-easy egg. Go for the "Christmas Style," drowning the whole plate in red and green chile sauces.
Go to: Tia Sophia's
Las Vegas: The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas
Las Vegas is synonymous with buffet dining. And if there’s one indulgent thing you won’t have to lose your shirt over in Sin City, it’s brunch, since nearly every hotel offers one. Fortunately, the Wynn Las Vegas serves a version that’s both lavish and relatively affordable. Whether guests crave chocolate fountains, carved-to-order prime rib, lemon-ricotta blintzes, shrimp cocktail, French crepes or freshly made waffle cones, the spread is a modern-day bacchanal. For an additional $20, diners can skip to the front of the line, nab a glass of champagne, sangria or mimosa, and get a 10 percent discount off the next day’s meal at the buffet. While the house always wins, you always win at the table — the buffet table, that is.
Go to: Dining at Wynn Las Vegas
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
Providence: Cook & Brown Public House
At first glimpse, Cook & Brown’s weekend offerings may look like standard brunch fare, including hash, Benedicts and waffles, but each dish is a unique spin. Hash is topped with poached eggs and in-season greens or served with a Mediterranean-style twist, including merguez sausage, chickpeas, kale, potatoes and yogurt. The Benedict includes chunks of pork belly in lieu of Canadian bacon, and waffles get an upgrade to a brown-butter waffle sandwich with bacon ice cream. Those on the hunt for lighter fare can choose the egg-topped brunch salad bowl.
Go to: Cook & Brown Public House
Set in the historic 1890 Terminal Building, Parish is a neighborhood favorite for morning meals. Locals dip into the downstairs cafe for pastries, lattes and cold-brewed nitro coffee made with the Parish Private Reserve blend from local roaster J. Martinez. Upstairs at the Brasserie, Parish offers a sit-down, full-fledged brunch by acclaimed chef Stuart Tracy, the founding chef of Charleston’s iconic Butcher & Bee. Menu hits include a croque monsieur on sourdough, baked-to-order cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and the Fried Chicken Benedict, with fried chicken and poached eggs on a fresh buttermilk biscuit under a cascade of sausage gravy.
Go to: Parish
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 $4.25, the Tally’s Original gets you get 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
Manchester, Vermont: Up for Breakfast
Cold mornings are made cozy by the environment that greets diners at Up for Breakfast (even those who’ve borne a long wait outdoors to nab seats). The space has small-town charm, with friendly servers and devoted regulars who love the omelets, the pancakes (buckwheat, sourdough and buttermilk) and the hash (corned beef or turkey).
Go to: Up for Breakfast
Miami: Blue Collar
Benedicts are a brunch staple on menus around the country, but few highlight a vegetable as the unifier between the egg and the bread. At Blue Collar in Miami, locals line up for Chef de Cuisine Ervin Bryant's Artichoke Eggs Benedict, which he prepares using ciabatta as the base for sauteed Italian artichokes. Bryant reserves some of the canning liquid from the artichokes to punch up lemon aioli, which is a key part of this new classic. Mimosas are on hand, made with cava and of course, fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice.
Go to: Blue Collar
Fayetteville, West Virginia: Vandal's Kitchen
Founded by three friends, Vandal’s Kitchen is a nod to Vandal’s Tavern, which fed the weary travelers who passed through this small former mining town 200 years ago. Though tavern keeper Abraham Vandal, the founder of Fayetteville, might have had a different idea of local food, the current restaurant’s hearty Southern menu of dishes like egg and andouille sausage, avocado toast, braised kale, and cornmeal grits with feta has attracted plenty of fans.
Go to: Vandal's Kitchen
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
Nashville: Party Fowl
A New Orleans native, Executive Chef Bart Pickens knows his spicy food. At Party Fowl, he takes on Nashville-style hot chicken, showcasing the fiery bird in the Loaded Hot Chicken Biscuit, Nashville Hot Chicken Benedict, and Hot Chicken and Stuffed French Toast. In addition, Pickens also offers Bird in a Blanket (three thin pancakes filled with smoked chicken), his version of a Hawaiian loco moco, a frittata with smoked chicken and plenty of other chicken-packed dishes. Hungry diners can go for Brunch for Two, a 55-ounce Bloody Mary topped with two Nashville-hot Cornish game hens, Scotch eggs, fried okra and avocado. For 50 bucks, it’s a full meal for two (or more), and the best way to tackle it is to just close your eyes and go for it!
Go to: Party Fowl
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
Go to: Nora’s Fish Creek Inn