The Best Breakfast Restaurants In The US, According To The Mashed Staff

When it comes to breakfast, it's an unfortunate reality that for many of us, it takes a backseat to lunch and dinner when it comes to variety. Early mornings and busy schedules simply don't leave a lot of wiggle room for table spreads of flapjacks, omelets, pastries, and plates piled high with bacon. At least during the workweek, anyway. Perhaps, this is what makes going out for breakfast on the weekend so enjoyable. Hitting up your favorite breakfast joint is a chance to kick back, unwind, and order the sort of food that weekday mornings rarely allow for. 

Because breakfast deserves more than a bowl of cold cereal and a toaster pastry, the Mashed staff came together to share our favorite breakfast spots around the country. These are the sort of places where your coffee cup will never run dry, and the smells of sausage on the griddle and homemade cinnamon rolls, draw hungry patrons in from miles around.

Four Sisters Owl Diner in Lowell, Massachusetts - Adam Swierk

Anyone who grew up in or around Lowell, Massachusetts (AKA the All-American City!) knows there's a lot to like about Lowell — and the local cuisine is no exception. In fact, given the Mill City's historical significance as a hub of the Industrial Revolution — and birthplace of CVS Pharmacy, Market Basket, and "The Fighter" (though we just call him Micky) — it's no wonder the city's greatest breakfast spot has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, as well: the Four Sisters Owl Diner.

Now, locals don't love this Lowell landmark solely because of its delectable assortment of top-tier breakfast fare (though I've never met a person displeased with the Owl's grub). After all, the diner's old-timey aesthetic — it was built by the Worcester Lunch Car Company in 1940, and originally operated in Waltham, Massachusetts before relocating to Lowell in 1951 — transports guests back to the mid-20th century the moment they step through the door.

Of course, eating at the Four Sisters Owl Diner (with its trademark cartoon owl sign out front) is more than a simple exercise in nostalgia. The restaurant's stupendous selection of every type of classic American breakfast food is impossible to oversell, as well, including its line of signature omelets (each named for a street in Lowell). In other words, if you're near my backyard, and craving top-notch breakfast? Make sure to swing by the Four Sisters Owl Diner on Appleton Street.

The Woods in Waupaca, Wisconsin - Amber Winston

I nominate The Woods in Waupaca, Wisconsin, otherwise known as "Waupaca Woods," as my top pick for delicious and affordable breakfast fare. The restaurant is tucked deep in an old mall plaza that you'd probably miss if you weren't looking for it. The breakfast is phenomenal and features hearty stuffed omelets, thick and fluffy pancakes, crispy hash browns, classic sandwiches, and more. The unsuspecting eatery even features a jumbo-sized cinnamon roll that could easily feed three to four people or more; no joke!

As for the dining environment, expect traditional decor made complete with a fireplace, warm lighting, and the comforting aroma of coffee in the air. You'll be greeted by friendly (but busy) wait staff and a small dining area typically teeming with hungry patrons. Cook times can be rather long as the breakfast is prepared fresh, but the wait is often well worth it. Overall, I highly recommend visiting The Woods if you find yourself in the Waupaca area.

The Bomber Restaurant in Ypsilanti, Michigan - Crysta Coburn

The Bomber Restaurant in Ypsilanti, Michigan is one of the best diners I have ever been to. It's named in honor of the nearby Willow Run Airport which, during World War II, operated as the Ford Willow Run B-24 Liberty Bomber plant and employed a great number of women. Indeed, many proudly proclaim that Willow Run was the origin of Rosie the Riveter. A mural of Rosie adorns the back of the Bomber Restaurant, and countless pieces of WWII memorabilia and miniature planes decorate the inside.

That isn't all the Bomber is known for. One of its most popular dishes is Cap'n Crunch French Toast, large slices of bread dipped in crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal, grilled, and served with whipped cream and a handful of whole cereal pieces on top. My husband orders this every time we go. My go-to is hands down the best homemade corned beef hash in the world. A regular order comes with two eggs, but if you "bomberize it," you get three eggs and an extra large portion of hash. The portions are so big that I can usually have it for two or even three separate meals.

If you are really hungry, order the Bomber Breakfast. Indulge in four eggs, a generous portion of breakfast potatoes, two slices of toast, and one choice from the grill, which means six sausage patties, seven sausage links, 10 slices of bacon, or two slices of ham. I can't imagine anyone going hungry at the Bomber.

The West Side Market Cafe in Cleveland, Ohio - Alex Darus

The West Side Market in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland has been an institution in the city since it first opened in 1912. A gem inside of a gem is the West Side Market Cafe, an old-school breakfast counter that utilizes all of the fresh ingredients from the market vendors in their diner classics. It's the kind of place that encourages you to order a local craft beer or a monster Bloody Mary to wash down dishes like the Hot Mess, a plate of homefries loaded with eggs, cheese, bacon, and sausage gravy. Other stand-outs include the Big Labowski — a sandwich that starts with fresh rosemary bread and is loaded with Munster, sauerkraut, onions, kielbasa, and pierogies that epitomizes the blue-collar city it celebrates. 

Not only are you guaranteed a delicious breakfast, regardless of what you order off the menu, but you're also gifted with a friendly environment full of Midwestern pride. The other plus for foodies who opt to eat breakfast at the West Side Market cafe is that they can roam the stalls of the market either before or after their meal for even more dining and cooking inspiration. 

Posana Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina - Rachel Welch

Calling all gluten-free foodies and brunch lovers! You do not want to miss out on Posana Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina. Based in the heart of downtown, Posana is a classy venue with farm-to-table offerings that are prepared in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. Posana provides a truly tasty, dream-come-true for the gluten-intolerant diner who wants a fabulous meal in a fun space without worrying about cross-contamination.

While the restaurant's dinner menu is sublime and filled with wonderful fresh foods, the brunch menu also provides a special treat with gluten-free fried chicken and waffles, gluten-free biscuits and gravy, and all sorts of other delightful treats that gluten-free folks often have to miss out on. The menu changes with the seasons and is sure to impress at any time of year. Lucky for them, the secret of Posana is out into the world, as they have a frequently packed dining room. That being said, it is worthwhile to make a reservation the next time you're in Asheville and enjoy a special, carefree, and gluten-free brunch.

The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco - Kate Santos

San Franciscans will tell you to avoid the tourist-ridden Fisherman's Wharf with one exception: The Buena Vista Cafe. It's a special place where tugboat drivers, tourists, families, and morning drinkers order large portions of Dungeness crab omelets or beef burgers for breakfast. The Buena Vista's biggest selling point, however, is its piping hot Irish coffees which arrived in the 1950s with help from Stanton Delaplane, a Pulitzer Prize-winning travel writer. In fact, this place is said to be the bar that first introduced Irish coffee to the U.S.

What began as a boarding house then a saloon in 1916 still feels very much like a saloon today with a lively atmosphere. Large groups gather around tables inside and out. On weekends, people wait for a table by the bar with a hot Irish coffee in their hand. Perfect for a foggy San Francisco morning. (It's always chilly in this neighborhood so be sure to bring a jacket.) My favorite place in the restaurant is at the bar where long-time waiters are always energetic and buzzing around.

Boozy breakfasts are everywhere in San Francisco but the food here is also a selling point. Don't leave without trying a dish that will keep you full for almost the rest of the day. Whether you want eggs or a morning buzz, this place is a big part of San Francisco's rich restaurant history and therefore will always have a place in my heart.

Morning Glory in Ashland, Oregon - Brian Boone

Ashland, Oregon, is a retirement community, hippie enclave, college town, and tourist playground, and all those disparate elements happily collide and convene at Morning Glory. Hidden away in a bright blue building, it's the little things that make Morning Glory fun, like how none of the furniture matches, or how you'll never get the same novelty mug twice for your bottomless cup of the most terrific diner-style coffee you've ever had.

That brew is so good that it's more like the first course for a veritable breakfast bonanza. Every meal comes with a muffin of the day, which varies and is always home-baked and impossibly moist. After that comes the egg (or egg alternative) dish, creative and massive concoctions like an apple gouda chicken sausage omelet, a trio-tip and gorgonzola omelet, or a scramble made with Yukon gold potatoes and salmon smoked in-house. Accompanying that massive serving of eggs is even more food. You can get crispy polenta, hash browns, or toast, but you'd be foolish not to order the pancakes. Not only are they huge, but they come standard with homemade lemon butter — tangy, sweetened, and so smooth you actually don't need syrup.

City Cafe Diner inChattanooga, Tennessee - Mary White

If you find yourself in search of breakfast fare in southeastern Tennessee, get to the City Cafe Diner as fast as you can. This is my very favorite local breakfast spot, and TripAdvisor reviewers seem to agree. With two locations in Chattanooga (one downtown and one just off I-75 at exit 7) and another in nearby Cleveland, Tennessee (at I-75, exit 25), this is a terrific place to grab breakfast any time a craving strikes. All three City Cafe Diner locations are open 24/7 and they serve breakfast around the clock, along with other yummy diner fare and amazing desserts.

When it comes to breakfast offerings, City Cafe Diner has it all — perfectly cooked eggs any style, all kinds of breakfast meats, fluffy pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, grits, home fries, and more. If you're feelin' cute, order the Pigs in a Blanket — which consists of three link sausages, each wrapped inside a pancake. If you're in the mood for more hearty fare, opt for a 12-ounce New York steak paired with eggs and a selection of sides. No matter what you order, you can expect a super-sized serving, as City Cafe Diner is known for its generous portions. Stop by for breakfast any time you're in the Chattanooga area.

Merritt's Family Restaurant in Boise, Idaho - Buffy Naillon

Merritt's Family Restaurant in Boise, Idaho, is the kind of place you go for breakfast with your three best girlfriends on a Sunday morning. Four for breakfast at Merritt's is optimal because exactly four people fit in each of the diner's high-back booths, and four is the optimal number for sharing bits of conversation and bites of roadside diner sunnyside-up eggs and chorizo sausage. The chorizos give a nod to the influence of Idaho's Basque population on local food culture and offer up the requisite amount of spice to the sweet that Merritt's has become known for. 

Merritt's regulars consider changing out of your sweats-as-pajamas into your Sunday Best optional. What's not optional is to go to Merritt's and not try one of their fry-bread scones. In modern coffee shops, the consistency of scones falls somewhere between birthday cake and biscotti cookies. At Merritt's, scones explode whole onto the plate with the consistency and appearance of a fluffy, cloud-shaped donut.

And while modern cake-like scones look all orderly with their neat triangular edges, Merritt's plain scones look pretty much what you'd expect fried dough covered with cinnamon, sugar, and a melon-ball-sized dollop of butter to look like. They're the sweet that made Merritt's famous in these parts, and while Merritt's plain scones get only cinnamon and sugar, their other scones, the pudding-topped, fruit-topped, or scone sundaes remind you why it's best to share the experience and the scones with three of your besties.

Brandy's in Flagstaff, Arizona - Crawford Smith

Flagstaff, Arizona may be a little mountain town, but it has some excellent food. Its proximity to the Grand Canyon and Route 66 makes it a pit stop for tons of hungry road trippers. The city is full of diners and breakfast spots where travelers can fuel up. It's tough to choose which is the best, but after a couple of years living in Flagstaff, I have to pick Brandy's, a cafe, bakery, and restaurant with two locations in town.

If I'm going out for breakfast, it's probably the weekend, and I have nothing to do. I want to eat so much rich food that I go home and nap afterward. My favorite way to do this at Brandy's is to order one of the restaurant's impeccably fluffy three-egg omelets, which all come smothered with a heaping helping of buttery, lemony hollandaise sauce. Why don't more places do this? It's like eggs Benedict and an omelet rolled into one. As an off-menu substitution, I like to replace the English muffin with one of the cinnamon rolls sitting in Brandy's bakery case, warmed up until it reaches gooey perfection.

Everything at Brandy's is great, from the perfectly-spiced country potatoes to the fluffy biscuits, fancy avocado toast with prosciutto, and spicy Mexican options (which are obligatory at any Arizona breakfast place). You can certainly get your kicks on Route 66 here (if your kicks involve eating 3,000 calories worth of delicious food before noon).