BEST OF BRUNCH
ALABAMA: GALLEY AND GARDEN
What to get: Gulf shrimp and grits
Galley and Garden has delicious offerings like fried chicken and waffles, salmon cake benedict, and various flatbreads. Located in a grand, historic house, the restaurant also serves a shrimp and grits dish with a poached egg that captures the southern spirit of the setting.
ALASKA: SNOW CITY CAFE
What to get: Kodiak Benedict
In business for 20 years, Snow City offers locally inspired brunch specials made with reindeer sausage, and also uses snow crab in its omelets and smoked sockeye salmon in its salmon cakes. The Kodiak Benedict pairs its poached eggs with red Alaska king crab cakes for a welcome twist.
ARIZONA: MORNING GLORY CAFÉ
What to get: Julia's chicken enchiladas
The Farm at South Mountain uses the Morning Glory Café as its farm-to-table patio restaurant. The house-smoked trout board and chilaquiles made with house tomatillo salsa are worth a look, as are the popular weekend-only chicken enchiladas, which stuff corn tortillas with chicken, house-made salsa verde, melted cheese and two over-easy eggs.
ARKANSAS: RICK'S BAKERY
What to get: Sausage roll
Rick's Bakery menu built its reputation as a bakery (there's also a second location in Rogers). However, if you're hungry for more than pastry, their smoked sausage filled with cheese and encased in a homemade bread roll should hit the spot.
What to get: Dutch pancake
While the pastries, donuts, and pork pozole at Outerlands are worth trying, save room. At this cafe tucked in a laid-back, surf-infatuated corner of San Francisco, the Dutch pancake with bacon and house-made ricotta really stands out.
What to get: Maple bacon donut bites
Jelly has playful retro cereal boxes on the wall and serves up hash, breakfast sliders, and some fine coffee, too. If you're not up for a full breakfast, get some Mexican chocolate, cinnamon sugar, Thai peanut, lemon-filled, or -- naturally -- jelly-filled doughnut bites. Try the Maple Bacon for a sweet-savory experience.
CONNECTICUT: ELM CITY SOCIAL
What to get: Early Nachos
Elm City Social has made brunch tapas its focus, so have your pick of the "social plates." Pierogi, jerk-chicken tacos, and deviled eggs are available, along with single-serve red velvet waffles and lobster scrambled eggs. But for a great start to your day, try the Early Nachos: House-made kettle chips topped with bacon, spicy sausage, scrambled eggs, and more.
DELAWARE: 8TH AND UNION
What to get: Gluten-free chicken and waffles
This Vietnamese- and Australian-inspired gastropub has unique brunch choices like pho and a breakfast banh mi sandwich. The gluten-free chicken is more traditional, dredged in buttermilk, dipped in a rice-flour batter, and served over a gluten-free waffle with egg, ham, and béarnaise. Enjoy with a mango mimosa or Vietnamese coffee.
FLORIDA: FONTANA AT THE BILTMORE
What to get: The Sunday Champagne brunch
Fontana at the Biltmore has been doing a brunch buffet fountainside for more than 80 years. This isn't just some bagels-and-Benedict bar: This is unlimited Champagne, caviar, fresh-carved lamb, Alaskan king crab legs and a chocolate fondue fountain. That's just a minor sampling of what $90 buys you.
GEORGIA: HOLEMAN & FINCH
What to get: Cheeseburger
Holeman & Finch has roasted bone marrow, sweetbreads and pork belly, but burger lovers know this spot makes just 24 burgers at the beginning of each meal service, so they're gone quickly. Miss out? Luckily, the griddled double cheeseburgers topped with red onion and house-made pickles are also available all day at spin off locations.
What to get: Banana macadamia nut pancakes
For more than 40 years, Longhi's has had access to some of the freshest fruit available anywhere and has stocked its breakfast with fresh strawberries, passionfruit, papaya and Maui pineapple. You can have the fruits juiced at the juice bar or try them as sides to the banana macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup.
What to get: Boise Basin omelet
Downtown Boise's Bacon offers five different varieties of bacon and claims to move eight tons of it each year. Bacon serves up its namesake in mac & cheese, lasagna, and meatballs. The meat isn't quite as unexpected in a Boise Basin omelet, next to some cheese, onion, and pepper. Plus, Happy Hour is served all day on Mondays (though with that much bacon on the menu, isn't every hour happy hour?).
ILLINOIS: LOU MITCHELL'S RESTAURANT & BAKERY
What to get: Belgium malted pecan and bacon waffle
More a diner than restaurant or bakery, Lou Mitchell's will make just about anything you order (there are three Benedicts and six breakfast meats on the menu), but the pecan and bacon waffle hits the right balance of sweet and savory. Also, if you ever find yourself waiting in line for brunch here, you'll do so with a complimentary cup of coffee and some free donut bites.
What to get: Dutch baby
With Milktooth serving two mimosas (including a beer-mosa), a Bloody Mary, and a margarita in "for the table" sizes, some food is a must. The menu is dense, but their rotating take on the Dutch baby pancake -- which was recently paired with strawberry rhubarb with pistachio meringue and strawberry-rose jam -- is a good start.
IOWA: PULLMAN BAR & DINER
What to get: Fried egg sandwich
Pullman Bar & Diner owner Cory Kent insists on local, organic eggs, and his menu features lots of them. The Croque Madame, The Huevos (a take on huevos rancheros), breakfast tacos, and salmon benedict all stand out, but the fried egg sandwich uses American cheese, bacon, fresno aioli, chives, local Pullman toast, and a side of potatoes as a grand showcase for eggs.
KANSAS: BANJO'S CAFE
What to get: Chicken-fried steak bowl
Banjo's has made dishes like chicken-fried chicken, kitchen-sink omelets, biscuits and gravy, and daily meatloaf brunch staples in Topeka, but the chicken-fried steak bowl is both inexpensive and delicious. Golden chicken-fried steak is combined with fried potatoes, onions, sausage gravy, two eggs and either toast or pancakes for only about $11.
KENTUCKY: PLEASE AND THANK YOU
What to get: Derby Dilla
There are multiple Please & Thank You locations throughout Louisville, but any of these bakeries/coffee shops/record stores is a great stop for a light breakfast. The Derby Dilla, a combination of local eggs, sweet potato, goat cheese, black beans, green onion, and sweet corn between flour tortillas, is worth a spin if you see it on the menu.
LOUISIANA: COMMANDER'S PALACE
What to get: Bloody Mary
Commander's Palace opened its doors to New Orleans in 1883, and this world-famous restaurant lives up to its reputation. The 16-hour pork shoulder over eggs Benedict is delicious, but a Bloody Mary that gets its vodka from a bottle stored in an ice block by your table is a treat unto itself.
MAINE: CENTRAL PROVISIONS
What to get: Breakfast burger
This James Beard Award-winning eatery has an expansive, ever-changing menu that puts a breakfast burger topped with poblano, egg, potato and bacon next to yellowfin tuna crudo and foie gras parfait. Central Provisions and its neighbors in Fore Street's de facto restaurant district have helped transform the town into a foodie destination.
MARYLAND: BLUE MOON CAFÉ
What to get: Bacon and apple pancakes
While the three crab Benedict dishes at Blue Moon are tasty, such crab-centric food is to be expected in Baltimore. The bacon and apple pancakes buried in this menu, however, outshine the scrambles, burritos and Benedicts that take center stage on the menu.
What to get: Lee's omelet
Lee's has served the fishermen, townspeople, and tourists of Gloucester for generations. The Lumper Special once preferred by local fishermen is now simply called The Big Breakfast (4 eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, toast and a griddle item), but some fundamentals don't change. The bread is still made at local bakery Virgilio's and the muffins are baked in-house.
MICHIGAN: THE LAUNDRY
What to get: Bacon and brie pancakes
The Laundry does its best to emulate Paris in the middle of The Mitten. The pork 'n' porridge, breakfast pizza, and Applewood ham steaks may not be incredibly Parisian, but they're joined by a tempting menu of more than 110 cocktails. The bacon & Brie pancakes are a nod to European flavor.
MINNESOTA: SPOON AND STABLE
What to get: Crepe cake
Layers of crepe topped with seasonal fruit are a fine glimpse into what awaits you on the rest of the menu. Bison tartare, red wine-poached eggs, and crispy duck confit are just some of the options, though the buttermilk waffle with poached pear is the closest you'll get to the perfection of the crepe cake.
MISSISSIPPI: BIG BAD BREAKFAST
What to get: The Creola
Though Big Bad Breakfast has spread to Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, it got its start here in Mississippi. Head to the skillet portion of the menu and get the Creola, a scramble of eggs, crawfish, andouille sausage, onions, peppers, tomatoes, hash and cheddar.
MISSOURI: THE BRUNCHEONETTE
What to get: Buttermilk pulled-pork pancakes
The Bruncheonette has just nine items on its brunch menu and its dining area is similarly cozy. However, from Wednesday through Sunday, you can get eggs Benedict dishes, poutine, crepes Hawaiian French toast, or half a bruleed ruby red grapefruit. Our pick? The buttermilk pancakes topped with pulled pork and doused with 80-Acre beer syrup.
MONTANA: CAFÊ ZYDECO
What to get: Crawfish omelet
This Cajun mini-chain with locations in Helena, Billings, Missoula, and Bozeman is filling a need for Cajun food in biscuits-and-gravy country. The breakfast menu of egg sandwiches and wraps is served all day. The three-egg omelet with pepper jack cheese is smothered in crawfish etouffeé and could only be more authentic if served with beignets, which are an option on Saturdays only.
What to get: Nebraska's Best Waffle Breakfast
Petrow's has been serving Nebraskans since 1903, and it's one of the few places where you can get an Omaha Potato Casserole of sausage, eggs, bacon, Swiss cheese, hash browns, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. If you want to stay true to the legacy of the place, however, Nebraska's Best Waffle Breakfast combines a homemade malted waffle with homemade black walnut ice cream, walnuts, and maple syrup.
NEVADA: THE CUP CAFÉ
What to get: Bacon avocado Benedict
The Cup has used fresh produce and beer to make its diner breakfasts since 2011. The Cup's extensive menu features cherrywood-smoked bacon, and the bacon avocado Benedict, showcases everything The Cup does right.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: THE LOCAL MOOSE CAFÉ
What to get: Free Ranger egg sandwich
The Local Moose Cafe uses free-range eggs, nitrate-free bacon, local greens, Vermont cheddar, and seasonal toppings on a house-made brioche bun for its Free Ranger egg sandwich. The cafe puts more thought into its sandwiches and coffee (roasted in nearby Amherst) than most people put into their taxes.
NEW JERSEY: RAYMOND'S
What to get: Raymond's French toast
Raymond's opened in 1989 in a state with hundreds of diners, but stood out thanks to its location on the most picture-perfect street in Montclair and a menu stocked with premium ingredients (and prices) other diners wouldn't match. Nearly 30 years later, Raymonds has built an empire on fluffy french toast with fresh fruit and Berkshires maple syrup.
NEW MEXICO: TECOLOTE
What to get: Huevos yucatecos
Tecolote makes huevos rancheros -- and eggs Benedict -- as well as burritos, green chile and tortilla soup, shirred eggs (with chicken livers), tamales, tostadas, and enchiladas -- but no toast. The highlight, however, is the huevos yucatecos, a corn tortilla layered with black beans, green chile, eggs, Swiss and feta cheese, pico de gallo, and fried bananas and served with beans, posole, or potatoes.
NEW YORK: SHOPSINS
What to get: S'mores Stuffed "Slutty" Cakes
Featured in the 2004 documentary "I Like Killing Flies," Kenny Shopsin and his restaurant can seem cantankerous, but also comforting. The Shopsins menu has a table of contents it's so dense, so know that the greatest item amid the mess is a pile of chocolate chip pancakes stuffed with marshmallow, Nutella, and graham crackers.
NORTH CAROLINA: BEASLEY'S CHICKEN & HONEY
What to get: The Reunion
It's difficult to go wrong with fried chicken, especially if it's your mom's recipe and uses a hint of honey. Chef Ashley Christensen brines the bird, dips it in buttermilk, dredges it in flour and cooks it in a pressure fryer. You can have it with waffles, and it's also featured in The Reunion sandwich, where the chicken is placed in a buttermilk biscuit and topped with a fried egg, cheese, and Tabasco sauce.
NORTH DAKOTA: FRIED'S FAMILY RESTAURANT
What to get: Caramel roll
Fried's has heartier fare like hamburger steak, biscuits and gravy and truckers' hash -- two eggs with hash browns, diced sausage, onions and toast or pancakes -- but the prize offering is the caramel roll. It's listed as a side, but this brown-sugar glazed treat is available by the dozen if you order a day in advance.
OHIO: GREENHOUSE TAVERN
What to get: Face & Eggs
There is a lot of house-smoked bacon at the Greenhouse Tavern. But if you're brave, order the half of a pig's head with barbecue sauce, fried eggs and a brioche bun for $56. If you don't want your food to stare at you, the pancakes are always there.
OKLAHOMA: PACKARD'S NEW AMERICAN KITCHEN
What to get: Eggs Cochon
Sitting in a former Packard automobile dealership, Packard's mixes eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, and chicken biscuits with more updated brunch fare like crab beignets, crunch-berry french toast and eggs Cochon -- a Benedict that adds pulled pork verde to the mix. If they'll let you add some donut bread pudding from the dessert menu, do so.
OREGON: THE ROXY
What to get: Egg-A-Mooby Muffin
Drag queen legend Roxy LeRoy Neuhardt's legacy is alive and well on the walls of The Roxy, a 24-hour diner where photos of Neuhardt and others are on display. Roxy's has no booze, but has a menu laden with naughty Hollywood references and the Egg-A-Mooby Muffin: One egg on an English muffin, fried hard, topped with Tillamook cheddar and a choice of either bacon, sausage patty or deli sliced ham, and served with hash browns.
What to get: Stuffed challah French toast
Sabrina's has five locations in the Philadelphia metro area, but the brunch menu at each one fixes on its marquee dish: Challah-bread french toast stuffed with cream cheese, bananas and honey and topped with bananas and vanilla-bean syrup. Hotter places have opened (and closed) in Philly since Sabrina's debuted in 2001, but Sabrina's is the gold standard.
RHODE ISLAND: DUCK AND BUNNY
What to get: New York System hot wiener omelet
This "snuggery" in an 18th-century building is almost too cute, but the Duck and Bunny's daily brunch means business. A selection of Benedicts and crepes is on the menu each day, but the New York System hot wiener omelet is filled with hot dogs, chili, cheddar cheese, celery salt, and yellow mustard -- and it's a Rhode Island classic.
SOUTH CAROLINA: HOMINY GRILL
What to get: Charleston Nasty biscuit
The grits are the main attraction at Hominy Grill and get their own mural on the side of the restaurant, but ask for them as a side to the Charleston Nasty biscuit. The lard, shortening, and butter biscuit sandwiched around buttermilk-fried chicken and doused in sausage gravy is delicious.
SOUTH DAKOTA: TALLY'S SILVER SPOON
What to get: Tally's Original
Tally's has been feeding Rapid City for more than 60 years, but its most recent owners added luxury items like smoked salmon benedict and Duck Duck Goose (sweet potato with onions, duck confit and gooseberry jam topped with foie gras and sunny-side-up egg) to the menu. What they didn't change was a pancake with bacon, sausage, ham, and one egg for $4.50.
What to get: Hot chicken sliders
Silo has a 15-item brunch menu, not including sides or booze, and its small-sandwich take on Nashville hot chicken is definitely memorable. Coated in habanero- and ghost-pepper sauce, the sliders dare you to eat them. If it hurts too much, chase them down with buttermilk beignets or homemade Pop-Tarts.
TEXAS: STATE OF GRACE
What to get: Egg and cheese "taco"
Beignets, cinnamon rolls, Dutch babies, deviled eggs, steak and eggs and huevos divorciados all make appearances on the State of Grace menu, with spice levels varying by dish. However, the egg and cheese "taco" filled with ham, pico de gallo, and roasted avocado treads the line between creativity and thinly disguised omelets.
UTAH: THE BAGEL PROJECT
Salt Lake City
What to get: Bialy
It isn't as if The Bagel Project doesn't use traditional fermentation to make the bagel dough, but they don't use sugar, honey, eggs or various preservatives. The bagels hold up, but it's the bialy (a hole-free bagel with onions where a hole should be) that has made this spot a success.
VERMONT: DOWN HOME KITCHEN
What to get: River Benedict
Southern soul food is at the heart of Down Home Kitchen, but it also serves familiar Northeast fare. The omelets may come with grits and collard greens, but they are filled with Vermont cheddar and homemade maple sausage. The River Benedict serves poached eggs with a buttermilk biscuit and fried green tomatoes, but there's still hollandaise sauce, bacon and local syrup, if you like.
VIRGINIA: EARLY BIRD BISCUIT COMPANY
What to get: Ham biscuit
Early Bird Biscuit Company is one of the few brunch spots that acknowledges its surrounding region and sometimes adds Old Bay seafood seasoning to the biscuits. Biscuits come with a big helping of Virginia cured country ham, too. This place isn't open on Sundays, so try to snag a spot in line on Saturday.
WASHINGTON: THE MALTBY CAFE
What to get: Cinnamon roll
The Maltby Cafe has been in business for 30 years and pulls in customers with big plates of eggs Benedict, potatoes and eggs, egg scrambles and griddle items. However, the cafe's pride and joy is a plate-sized cinnamon roll oozing with frosting and walnuts. If you're forced to wait for a seat, visit the cup-shaped coffee stand outside until your name is called over a schoolhouse loudspeaker.
WEST VIRGINIA: VANDAL'S KITCHEN
What to get: The PBC Sandwich
On the spot of the former Vandal's Tavern, which fed the people of this mining town 200 years ago, Vandal's Kitchen slings chicken and waffles, braised kale, and chicken barbecue, but also leans heavily on updated fare like avocado toast, Mediterranean omelets and hummus plates. However, the PBC -- pimento cheese, thick-sliced bacon and a fried egg on a soft roll -- reigns supreme.
WISCONSIN: MARIGOLD KITCHEN
What to get: Chili-poached eggs
The Marigold has an extensive menu for its Saturday and Sunday brunch, ranging from griddle items like citrus ricotta pancakes to duck confit hash. However, a plate of chili-poached eggs, French rosemary toast, prosciutto and manchego cheese can be had for less than $9.
WYOMING: NORA'S FISH CREEK INN
What to get: Banana bread French toast
Nora's Fish Creek Inn was founded in 1982 and sells the most expensive item on its breakfast menu -- a New York steak with two eggs -- for $16. The rest of the menu is populated with local trout, huevos rancheros, sweet rolls, chicken-fried steak, and more. But don't miss the French toast made with the inn's house-made banana bread and sprinkled with confectioners sugar.