The 15 Absolute Best Breakfast Restaurants In America

Brunch is an American culinary tradition slathered in hollandaise and sparkling with a splash of OJ — it's breakfast with the "joie de vivre" of the weekend. If our morning meals are intended to satiate the fasting of an 8-hour sleep, then brunch is the breakfast of a 40-hour workweek. 

According to Smithsonian Magazine, Americans have been "brunching" since the 1930s, when late morning meals became a trendy social outlet championed by women entering the workforce after World War II. These new laborers found themselves in need of reprieve from the work week and household duties. Restaurants soon caught wind of the influx of hungry wage workers and began opening their doors on Sundays to serve up traditional breakfast staples while creating new favorites. In this way, America's breakfast dishes became regionally diversified — hearty meals that were completely exclusive from their noon and evening counterparts.

Current culinary trends in breakfast incorporate healthy elements while locally sourcing ingredients and creating new twists on old favorites. With a mainstay of millennial brunchers, there's plenty of room for creativity and the brunch industry is thriving on both authenticity and originality. While some of America's best breakfast restaurants are historic institutions that gather lines daily, other places are focusing on specific breakfast dishes and doing them really, really well.

So, if you're in the mood for something sweet or something savory — or perhaps even something covered in gravy — keep reading for the absolute best breakfast restaurants in America.

Milktooth - Indianapolis, Indiana

Since its inception in 2014, Indianapolis' Milktooth takes breakfast to a higher plane of existence. Both artfully prepared and unpretentious, Milktooth has gathered its fair share of impressive accolades. According to the restaurant's bio, Chef Jonathan Brooks has been awarded one of "11 Best New Chefs" by Food and Wine as well as one of "10 Best New Restaurants in the United States" by Bon Appétit.

Specializing in sweet and savory Dutch babies, Milktooth serves up a glorious menu of artisan coffees, delicate pastries, and new takes on traditional brunch dishes. A revolving menu of new items and locally sourced seasonal dishes will keep you inspired for breakfast and makes our list of the best breakfast restaurants in America. Whether you're looking for something sweet like a perfectly golden waffle with fresh fruit, or something more savory like an egg scramble is what your craving, Milktooth's menu offerings should fit the bill.

Polly's Pancake Parlor - Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Polly's Pancake Parlor is all about hot takes on hotcakes — and America approves. Winner of 2006's James Beard Award in the American Classics category, Polly's is authentic New Hampshire and has been serving local Sugar Hill Hampshirites for 80 years. The difference between an ordinary flapjack and Polly's fluffy pancakes lies in the ingredients, which are carefully sourced. The restaurant states that it only uses organically grown buckwheat, whole wheat, and cornmeal, which they grind in-house. By processing their own flour, Polly's unique batter creates a pancake like no other. Diners can choose their own house-made batter and add-ins to create a variety of pancakes and waffles, all of which are served with New Hampshire maple syrup.

As if the pancakes aren't enough, the restaurant sits cliffside with a gorgeous mountain view so diners can savor the magnificent rustic overlook with some of the best griddle cakes in America. Nothing tastes better with a pat of butter.

Willa Jean - New Orleans, Louisiana

With a vast array of coffee, cocktail drinks and a whole "Biscuit Situation", Willa Jean has made a name for itself as the place to get brunched up in New Orleans. The South is famous for a breakfast that requires you to go back to bed afterward and this restaurant deserves its place between your rests. With staples like the Fried Chicken Biscuit with Tabasco honey or the "Hangover Bowl" with brisket, cheesy grits, onion, garlic, potatoes and egg -– Willa Jean embraces the atmosphere of the Big Easy with both arms.

Chef Kelly Fields has a won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2019, and it shows in Willa Jean's flaky crusts and sweet desserts. With biscuits this good, even Beyoncé famously braved the crowds to dine here with her family during a morning breakfast rush (via Nola). For a true Southern style loaded and gravy-smothered everything, Willa Jean is a must-stop on a quest to eat at all the best breakfast restaurants in America.

Russ and Daughters - New York City, New York

New Yorkers know the start of a day actually begins at your local Jewish deli — and if your thing is smoked fish and a shmear on a perfectly chewy bagel, you're headed to Russ & Daughters.

According to the restaurant's history, in 2009, Russ & Daughters entered its fourth generation on ownership, just after its 100th year of business. Not only are they on the National Register of Historic Places, but they've also been featured in the documentary "The Sturgeon Queens," which has aired globally with great critical reception.

Set in a no-fuss, over-the-counter space with a soda fountain bar and open kitchen, Russ & Daughters are absolute experts at the art of cured, smoked, and pickled fish. Paired with their bakery bagels, bialys, shissel rye bread, pumpernickel, challah, babka, black & white cookies, and knishes from century-old recipes, Russ & Daughters is a "forshpayz" worth waiting in line for.

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ - Austin, Texas

The breakfast taco rules the morning in Texas and Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ food truck is where you can find the absolute best warm tortilla wrapped eggs this side of the Mexico border. Valentina's has been featured in Texas Monthly, which highlighted its stellar barbecue, and the restaurant is popular with fans for bringing smoked meats to the breakfast plate (via Facebook). According to the restaurant's website, it proudly serves local grass feed Hartley Ranch beef and pork. 

This little truck is known for serving BBQ in fresh, homemade tortillas and breakfast is no exception. Up until 11 a.m., you can stop by for a taco slathered in hand-chopped salsa, fluffy eggs, cheese, thick-cut smoked bacon, and a big ol' slab of brisket. It's the best of everything Texas and in one bite you'll agree that this is the best breakfast taco you've ever had.

Dough Donuts - New York City, New York

Nothing says, "Good morning, New York!" quite like a fresh donut in the Big Apple. Capital of the world (at least in the minds of New Yorkers) in fried wheels that are glazed in sugary flavors -– New York knows dough. So, it's no wonder the best donuts in America have arisen from where the competition is the fiercest.

Dough Donuts has taken the cake on what constitutes a glorious breakfast pastry, according to Grub Street, Business Insider, Food & Wine, and other donut-obsessed outlets have rated these wheels as #1 in America. Made in small batches, multiple times a day for peak freshness, these brioche-style donuts feature both unique and traditional flavors. Try their cinnamon and sugar or glazed for a nostalgic complement to coffee or branch out and explore their popular hibiscus or Nutella donuts. Dough Donuts has even expanded across New York to seven locations so no matter where you end up in the city, you can get your hot donut fix.

Roscoe's House of Chicken 'N Waffles - Los Angeles, California

Founded by Herb Hudson in 1975, Roscoe's House of Chicken N' Waffles has become an iconic Hollywood institution, featuring soul food with a whole 'lotta soul. This little chicken shack became famous not only for its beloved Southern breakfast combo of fried chicken and homemade waffles, (served from a kitschy menu of specials), but for the steady stream of celebrity "shout-outs" starting from comedian Red Foxx ("Stanford and Son") to mentions in Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Notorious B.I.G's single, "Going Back to Cali."

Hotshot name-drops aren't the only thing that is keeping the doors swinging at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, however. With eight locations all over California, Roscoe's has been thriving on perfectly crispy skins and melt-in-your-mouth waffles. A combo conceived in heaven, Roscoe's huge portions, budget-friendly prices, and the quick diner-style atmosphere is the perfect recipe for making the list of best breakfast restaurants in America. 

Eggslut - Los Angeles, California

When Eggslut premiered as a food truck in 2011, it quickly became a foodie favorite, receiving accolades from culinary critics around the states. If you haven't been, you might be asking yourself, "What makes an egg so, uh, promiscuous?" One bite and you'll know.

Eggslut specializes in the egg sandwich, and these steamy buns don't hold back. With a simplistic menu of comfort foods, the art of the egg is highlighted betwixt an innovative assortment of unpretentious, quality ingredients. Served on a warm brioche bun, these extra fluffy eggs will satisfy even the most discerning of breakfast appetites. Try the traditional Bacon, Egg & Cheese with chipotle ketchup for a little kick on an old classic.

Eggslut has gotten around since its inception over a decade ago. Currently, the truck has expanded into brick and mortar, hosting four locations in California and successful international franchises in Singapore, Korea, Japan, Kuwait, and the United Kingdom. Eggslut is all about sharing the love of eggs and, let's face it, there is nothing like a little love in the morning.

The Original Pantry Café - Los Angeles, California

There is a special place in America's heart for a busy breakfast diner and the epitome of diner dining is the Original Pantry Café. If you're looking for a place with chrome stools slapped in vinyl, Depression-era motifs, and a storied history of slinging ample orders — you've come to the right place. The Original Pantry Café opened in 1924 and has kept the griddle hot since. For those in need of an early-morning, grease-sopping special served just before heading out for the day, there is nothing more satisfying than a #1 with a short stack.

While there is always a wait out the door, Los Angelenos know that the line hustles as patrons are shuffled in and out the door. The Original Pantry is worth the crowd and the classic, quality fare will have you stopping by for breakfast. While it originally was open 24/7, its current hours are more limited and the place is serving diners Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mother's Bistro - Portland, Oregon

Earning a spot as "Restaurant of the Year" by Willamette Week and one of "America's Top Restaurant Bargains" by Food and Wine Magazine, Mother's Bistro has quickly spread the love of breakfast around the city. And for many locals in Portland, Oregon, Mother's is a taste of home, sweet home.

At first entrance, patrons will notice the comfortable, homey décor — a far cry from the trendy sterile white tile of many modern eateries. Mother's loves deep velvets, baroque floral prints, soft lighting, and lots and lots of chandeliers. Like dining in your great auntie's living room, Mother's is all about warmth and welcome. The décor at Mother's is only a complement to the savory, slow-roasted meals they specialize in. Try their slow-cooked oatmeal with brown sugar and cream, crunchy cornflake-dipped Challah French toast, or corned beef hash for a breakfast that hugs your belly. Now, wash it down with a "Breakfast Libation" and you'll feel like a child all over again.

The Frontier Restaurant - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Real talk: You know the huevos rancheros are going to be good when the restaurant is shaped like a barn and there is a giant framed painting of "The Duke" on the wall.

The Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico checks all your Tex-Mex breakfast boxes. With house-made tortillas, counter service, and a plate nearly spilling over with sauce, these rancheros may have been how the West was won. While the portions are more than ample, it is also encouraged to not skip the "Frontier Sweet Roll," which is a homemade cinnamon roll swimming in icing -– a fan favorite according to over 7,000 Google reviews!

In business since 1971, this old-fashioned family restaurant looks delightfully chintzy and utterly authentic. It's no hole-in-the-wall, however. The Frontier has kept a regularly flowing clientele in its spacious rooms, with a capacity for 300 patrons. It was voted "Top 10 Great Places to Eat Regionally," in USA Today and was featured in GQ Magazine for "Guide to the Great Desert Vacation" for best huevos rancheros (via Frontier Restaurant), The Frontier Restaurant is the best place to saddle up after a long night in New Mexico. Afterward, you'll know what one of the best breakfast restaurants in America tastes like.

Café Du Monde - New Orleans, Louisiana

If you haven't grabbed a hot coffee and powdery beignet from Café Du Monde after a long night on Bourbon Street, then it's possible you've missed out on one of New Orleans' most universal experiences. Here, around 11 a.m., the ground is covered in powdered sugar, so thick it's like a Christmas miracle. It's no miracle, however, why Café Du Monde has endured since 1862, and the little coffee stand serves up one of the finest breakfasts in the city.

A staple of simplicity, Café Du Monde keeps a tight menu. Order a dark roasted chicory coffee black or "Au Lait," meaning "with milk," fresh-squeezed orange juice, or beignets – it's that easy in the Big Easy.

The beignets come out on top, these square French-style doughnuts are covered in powdered sugar and explode in little puffs with each bite. After dusting this historical landmark in sweet residue, patrons can browse around the French Market, sipping coffee and enjoying the beauty of the city. Café Du Monde is more than one of America's best breakfasts, it's an experience.

Early Girl Eatery - Asheville, North Carolina

One of the early restaurants to hop on the plant-powered train of the sustainable, "slow food" movement, Early Girl Eatery still embraces the trend we hope never goes stale.

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Early Girl's cuisine bursts with heirloom goodness mixed with Southern-style decadence. With an extensive menu of vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore options, Early Girl has the best of all worlds.

Cited in Southern Living's "Best Breakfast in the South" and hosting three locations in North Carolina –- Early Girl caters to both local regulars and traveling foodies looking for a true culinary representation of the area. With ingredients sourced straight from neighboring farms according to the restaurant's website, there is no better way to get an authentic taste of North Carolina. For those looking to get a bite of the Blue Ridge, try the Yam Scram, featuring cage-free eggs scrambled with local pork sausage, shiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, chopped Applewood-smoked bacon, and fresh green onion. It's a morning meal that doesn't feel like you're sacrificing to make good choices. 

Loveless Cafe - Nashville, Tennessee

There is no better way to spend a bleary-eyed morning in an old roadside motel than at the Loveless Cafe. At this hotel-turned-restaurant, you won't be filled with regret — just some of the best chicken and biscuits in Tennessee.

For over 65 years, the Loveless Cafe has specialized in scratch-made Southern cuisine in Nashville, Tennessee. Now a historic landmark, the cafe features an iconic neon sign complete with a "no vacancy" switch light and hotel rooms filled with quaint local shops to browse after receiving a belly full of biscuits.

Apparently, the food at Loveless was good enough to close 14 rooms in order to focus on meeting the biscuit demand, and it still rings true. Southern Living named the Loveless Cafe one of the "Five Must-See Sights in Nashville," in addition to "Favorite Southern Dives" and the "South's Best Breakfast Spots.". USA Today dubbed it one of the "10 Great Places to Get a Southern-style Biscuit." The biscuit offerings range from Country Ham, Chicken, Pulled Pork Barbeque, and Pimento Cheese N'Fried Green Tomato for an extra Southern twist on this Southern breakfast essential.

Can't get enough buttery, flakey dough in your morning? Opt for the Biscuit Sampler for a smorgasbord of golden-brown love (less).

Hamburg Inn No. 2 - Iowa City, Iowa

A time capsule of post-war dining, Hamburg Inn No. 2 is America pressed and served with hashbrowns.

Renowned as not only the oldest family-owned restaurant in Iowa, but Hamburg also totes a rather presidential clientele. Diners include former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama -– all of which could agree Hamburg serves up an exceptional breakfast at a reasonable price. And with the "Presidential Breakfast" starting at just under $12, even the Chief of State can afford to splurge on extra bacon.

Not only a destination for hand-shakers and baby-kissers, the "Burg" is known to the locals for a morning meal served all day without pretense. So much so, in true Iowan fashion, when asked why nothing has been changed at Hamburg Inn since 1935, owner Michael Lee stated, "Why would I change anything?" 

Those starting their morning off right know that the first thing on the menu is Hamburg's "World Famous Pie Shake," which unabashedly features a slice of your choice of pie thrown into a milkshake and blended into a thick, oh-so-wicked shake. Is it the perfect way to wash down a big greasy meal? If you want to eat one of the best breakfasts in America, then yes.