The best local breakfast spot in each state

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Hanna Horvath, CFP®

Hanna Horvath, CFP®


Hanna Horvath is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and managing editor for growth at Policygenius. She helps produce the Easy Money newsletter, and owns all growth initiatives for Easy Money. She recently passed her exam to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in November 2020.

Hanna's work has appeared in NBC News, Business Insider and Inc. Magazine. She is regularly quoted in top media outlets, including CNBC, Best Company and HerMoney. She has also appeared on the Money Moolala podcast and All's Fair podcast.

Prior to Policygenius, Hanna wrote for KNBC in Los Angeles and WNBC in New York. When she isn't writing, she's (often) running, (usually) cooking and (sometimes) doing photography.

Published February 20, 2019|15 min read

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Whether you are looking for a hot scone or a plate full of eggs and bacon, a breakfast place is the perfect spot for a hearty meal or an afternoon pick-me-up — and February is National Hot Breakfast Month, which means there's no better time to enjoy the best meal of the day.

Local diners have that close-knit, homey feel that you can’t get at a chain location, so if you are looking for a new morning stop in your neighborhood or are a tourist looking for a local touch, check out the best local diner in each state. (And if you are looking for more affordable travel tips, check out our money newsletter.)

To name the best place to grab your breakfast, we only considered places with one or two locations so they give you not only the best meal, but also the best authentic feel. From pancakes to scrambled eggs, check out what’s available at the best local breakfast spots in every state.

Alabama: Salem’s Diner

Address: 2913 18th St. S., Birmingham Details: Not only can you get a great stack of pancakes or biscuits and gravy here, they're famous for their cheesesteaks. Still have room for dessert? Try the homemade lemon ice box pie.

Alaska: Kriner’s Diner

Address: 2409 C St., Anchorage Details: This diner has been in the family for four generations, and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Their breakfast platters will leave you full all day — and if you have kids in tow, they can order off the Grandkids menu, named after the owner’s own grandchildren.

Arizona: Handlebar Diner

Address: 5149 S. Inspirian Way, Mesa Details: This retro spot is based out of a vintage, red-and-white pre-fab diner outside of Phoenix. Chose from house-made pastries or bagels if you're in a rush or check out their extensive weekend brunch menu with hashes and build-your-own omelets.

Arkansas: Dan's I-30 Diner

Address: 17018 I-30 N., Benton Details: Sitting right alongside the highway, this charming diner offers breakfast all the time and at very low prices. Their specialty is the I-30 Flatliner: an omelet full of ham, sausage, bacon, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and cheese.

California: Nick's Cafe

Address: 1300 N. Spring St., Los Angeles Details: Located in Chinatown, this old-school diner has been serving up all the classic diner fare since its opening in 1948. Try one of their signature omeletes for breakfast — but be warned, it's cash-only.

Colorado: King’s Chef Diner

Address: 110 Costilla St., Colorado Springs Details: Housed in a purple castle, King’s Chef is a delight of a diner — and it has won enough awards to prove it. Try the huevos rancheros, and don’t forget to grab yourself a can of green chili sauce on your way out.

Connecticut: Tomlinson’s Restaurant

Address: 1400 Noble Ave., Bridgeport Details: What started out as a hot dog stand has become a large diner, perfect for a big meal after a night out. Everything on the menu is under $7 — try the steak, egg and cheese sandwich with hashbrowns and coffee.

Looking for more good coffee? Check out our list of best coffee shops in each state.

Delaware: Hollywood Grill

Address: 1811 Concord Pike, Wilmington Details: The Hollywood Grill is a classic diner with a classic value proposition: big portions in a friendly setting. Check out the “big breakfast” section of the menu if you came with an appetite.

Florida: The Southern Grill

Address: 800 Flagler Ave., Jacksonville Details: The restaurant has served Jacksonville for more than 18 years, and for good reason. The Southern Grill’s huge breakfast menu offers something for everyone, from beef brisket and eggs for meat lovers, to giant veggie omelettes for meat abstainers.

Georgia: Joy Cafe

Address: 1100 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 110, Atlanta Details: Joy Cafe merges traditional traditional southern and European fare that makes any morning sweet. Try a Belgian waffle with berries or the steak and egg tacos.

Hawaii: Dean's Drive Inn

Address: 45-270 William Henry Rd., Kāneʻohe Details: Showcased on Food Network's “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” this spot is run by a local chef, with the help of his wife and daughter. Local specialties include the ginger soy ono (a popular Hawaiian white fish) and the broiled teriyaki beef.

Idaho: Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro

Address: 108 S Capitol Blvd., Boise Details: Located in the heart of downtown Boise, the small mom-and-pop shop is known for its hollandaise sauce and specialty mimosa. If you aren’t in the mood for a drink, take advantage of the full espresso bar.

Illinois: Otto’s Place Cafe & Lounge

Address: 100 Bouthillier St., Galena Details: The cafe walls are decorated with paintings by local artists, so you can enjoy a de facto art show alongside specialties like bread pudding French toast and assorted Bloody Marys.

Indiana: Milktooth

Address: 534 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis Details: Owned and operated by award-winning chef Josh Kline, the buzzy — and boozy — brunch spot’s menu alone will make your mouth water. Enjoy a toddy 2 hotty with your sourdough brioche pecan sticky bun.

In need of more comfort food? Here's an easy $12 dish to make yourself that's perfect for February.

Iowa: Waveland Cafe

Address: 4708 University Ave., Des Moines, & 35653 Ute Ave., Boonesville Details: Boasting two locations in the Hawkeye state, the old-school diner promises “the best hash browns in the galaxy." Most of the staff has been working at the diner for over 20 years, and all recipes come from friends, family and customers, prepared from scratch.

Kansas: WheatFields Bakery

Address: 904 Vermont St., Lawrence Details: Check the artisan cafe’s website for the daily specials, which include everything from specialty pretzels to a “breakfast pizza” — a homemade flatbread topped with spinach, ham, ricotta, mozzarella and two eggs, sunny-side up.

Kentucky: Windy Corner Market

Address: 4595 Bryan Station Rd., Lexington Details: If you’re looking for an authentic Southern breakfast, look no further. From buttermilk biscuits to several styles of po-boys to classic bacon and eggs, Windy Corner Market proudly serves meals made from Kentucky ingredients in a building modeled after a country store.

Louisiana: The Bekery

Address: 206 W. 11th St., Lake Charles Details: Prefer fresh-baked pastries for breakfast? Head to The Bekery for scones, cinnamon roll bread pudding or cookies if you have a sweet tooth. They also offer up savory brunch options, including quiche and sandwiches.

Maine: The Frog & Turtle

Address: 3 Bridge St., Westbrook Details: Breakfast foods are only served on Sundays, but the benedicts, omelets and house-made donuts are worth the wait. If you’re hungry, try the GIP: it has steak, cheddar, bacon and caramelized onions, topped with a horseradish cream sauce.

Maryland: Rusty Scupper

Address: 402 Key Hwy., Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore Details: If you’re in the mood for a seafood breakfast, you can’t beat Rusty Scupper’s Live Jazz Brunch. Featuring everything from oysters to shrimp to smoked salmon, you can enjoy your brunch right on Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. But before you go, make sure to check out these ways to save on seafood.

Massachusetts: The Paramount

Address: 44 Charles St. & 667 E. Bdwy., Boston Details: Featuring classic breakfast food such as pancakes and french toast with a side of pure Vermont maple syrup, The Paramount’s two locations are perfect to grab a classic diner breakfast in Beantown.

Looking for a day trip in Boston? Travel out to the tip of Cape Cod to Provincetown, a hotspot for the LGBTQ community and on our list of the best small towns in each state.

Michigan: The Jagged Fork

Address: 18480 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms & 188 Adams Rd., Rochester Hills Details: At Jagged Fork, you’re promised the “two Q’s”: quality and quantity, and they don’t skimp on either. If you make it to this metro-Detroit breakfast Mecca, be sure to try the banana pecan pancakes for sweet, and for savory, order the voodoo benedict.

Minnesota: Birchwood Cafe

Address: 3311 E 25th St., Minneapolis Details: Birchwood Cafe is one of the Twin Cities’ best for quality, locally-sourced breakfast food and an unbeatable atmosphere. You can’t go wrong with any of Birchwood’s veggie-forward dishes, but the impeccably griddled savory waffle with a sunny-side-up egg and diced thick-cut bacon is tough to beat.

Mississippi: Brent’s Drugs

Address: 655 Duling Ave., Jackson Details: Transformed from a 1946 drug store into a quaint diner, Brent’s Drugs serves up local diner fare in a vintage setting. Make sure to look around while you’re eating — the movie “The Help” was filmed inside. Try the fried pickles or the chicken and waffles.

Missouri: The Bruncheonette

Address: 424 N Main St., Joplin Details: Start your day off right at The Bruncheonette, a small breakfast and brunch destination with big flavor. You can’t go wrong with any of their eggs benedict offerings, but the real winner here is the chorizo biscuit and gravy.

Montana: The Nova Cafe

Address: 312 E Main St., Bozeman Details: Bozeman is known for its endless selection of amazing breakfast joints, but The Nova Cafe takes the (pan)cake as the best spot in town. Be sure to try the lavender and cardamom-infused London fog latte for your caffeine perk-up. And for food, go with the the bison chorizo omelette or the forbidden hash bowl. Want something off the griddle? Try the “Morning After” waffle.

Nebraska: Hi-Way Diner

Address: 2105 Nebraska Hwy. 2, Lincoln Details: The Hi-Way Diner is a 24/7 spot popular with students, drivers and everyone in between. Their "magic" toast is the perfect accompaniment to perfectly-cooked eggs, which are always three for the price of two. Enjoy free Wi-Fi, free coffee refills and the perfect diner atmosphere.

If you are taking a road trip to dine out at this local breakfast destination, make sure you check out these free things you can get while traveling.

Nevada: 50’s Diner and Omelet House

Address: 3050 East Desert Inn Rd., Las Vegas Details: Late nights in Las Vegas just beg for big diner breakfasts, and the 50’s Diner and Omelet House has been serving them up for nearly 30 years. Choose from one of the diner’s 35 three-egg omelets, and if you’re really hungry, you can supersize it to a six-egg omelet for just $1 more.

New Hampshire: Joey’s Diner

Address: 1 Craftsman Ln., Amherst Details: Joey’s Diner is a time machine back to the 1950s, with vinyl chairs and booths and, of course, the classic eats of a bygone era. Enjoy Greek diner classics from omelets to burgers to spinach pie, and don’t forget to save room for dessert: the rice pudding is the house specialty.

New Jersey: The Allwood Diner

Address: 913 Allwood Rd., Clifton Details: This diner checks all the boxes: good food, extensive and classic menu, priced reasonably and quick delivery of food to table. From omelets and pancakes to spaghetti and smoothies, if you crave it, they can make it. And the best part is that all the baking is done right on-site, so you know you’re getting the freshest meal.

New Mexico: Standard Diner

Address: 320 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque Details: The classic vinyl in this diner has been replaced with black leather and interior has large windows, exposed brick and an elevated feel. You can get classic diner fare here, but the Standard Diner’s specialty is southwestern staples like huevos rancheros and chicken enchiladas.

New York: Maison Pickle

Address: 2315 Broadway Ave., New York Details: This diner offers some of the best Southern cuisine up north. Big and bold, this diner-inspired brunch spot packs tons of sweet and savory flavors into each dish. Come hungry or ready to share, because the gravy-and-cheese-smothered poutine tots and the fried chicken and toast will put you in a food coma for a week.

North Carolina: Metro Diner

Address: 8334 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Charlotte Details: Three words: cinnamon roll pancakes. This diner consistently ranks among the best eateries by locals who know best — and was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on Food Network. Try the fried chicken and waffle or corned beef hash with poached eggs and toast.

Traveling to this famed diner? Read up on these ways to save on travel before you go.

North Dakota: The Shack on Broadway

Address: 3215 Broadway North, Fargo Details: The Shack has a fresh take on your typical diner breakfast. They don’t skimp on the good stuff, like their hot turkey breakfast soaked in gravy. Satisfy your sweets craving with a cinnamon roll, or add sweet potato waffle fries on the side to complete a filling morning meal.

Ohio: Delaney’s Diner

Address: 5916 Westerville Rd., Westerville Details: Delaney’s captures that traditional diner vibe, but they’re anything but old-fashioned. For one, you can choose from three different biscuits-and-gravy options. And if that’s not filling enough, brave souls can stuff their face with Big Daddy’s Breakfast: a generous helping of country-fried steak, sausage gravy and all the trimmings.

Oklahoma: Sid’s Diner

Address: 300 S Choctaw Ave., El Reno Details: This diner may be one the smaller side but it packs in a lot of love for its community: One wall honors our men and women in uniform. Try their homemade hot dog slaw with one of Sid’s famous coneys.

Oregon: Fried Egg I’m in Love

Address: 3549 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland & 780 S.W. Bdwy., Portland Details: This food truck-slash-restaurant duo is serving up some of the best (and punniest) egg sandwiches in Portland. From the Yolko Ono to the Egg Zeppelin, there’s something for everyone – and, all of their sandwiches can be made gluten-free or vegan.

Pennsylvania: Middle Child

Address: 248 S. 11th St., Philadelphia Details: This trendy little spot is great for eating in or taking out and serves breakfast all day. If you’re in the mood for one of the best breakfast sandwiches in town try the Herschel Waker (with eggs, American cheese and short-rib corned beef) or opt for their Jam Toast topped with whipped ricotta and seasonal jam.

Rhode Island: Troop

Address: 60 Valley St., Providence Details: Troop may be one of the coolest places to brunch at in the state. Their french toast topped with sweet cream custard, brown sugar, real maple syrup and fruit is always a good choice. But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try the Loco Moco – white rice and a 6-oz beef patty covered in gravy with a fried egg.

South Carolina: Early Bird Diner

Address: 1644 Savannah Hwy., Charleston Details: This little diner is serving up some of the best southern breakfasts in town. Their signature chicken and waffles are a top seller, but they have everything from shrimp & grits to the burgers. Great for early birds or night owls, this joint opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

South Dakota: Cafe Brulé

Address: 24 W. Main St., Downtown Vermillion Details: What happens when a country-style cook and French pastry chef open a breakfast place? Cafe Brulé, a destination for homemade treats and Southern fare. This may be the only place you can order the “OMG” Chili Cheese Winders and crème brulée together.

Tennessee: Sun Diner Cafe

Address: 105 3rd Ave. S, Nashville Details: Breakfast with true Nashville flavor is exactly what you’ll get here, from the cleverly named menu items (like Let’s Do the Twist Creme Brulee French Toast, Love Me Tenders and the Feelin’ Good Breakfast Burger) to the Nashville music inspired decor. Best of all? They’re open 24-hours a day, so you can get breakfast any time.

Texas: The Magnolia Pancake Haus

Address: 606 Embassy Oaks, San Antonio & 10333 Huebner Rd., San Antonio Details: As you can imagine, pancakes are the specialty here. You’ll find everything from traditional blueberry pancakes to their specialty dish, the Authentic Apfel Pfannekuchen, which is a real treat — perfect for your birthday. And yes, this is the one that was featured on Guy Fieri’s show back in 2011.

If your special day is coming up, here are 50 free birthday rewards.

Utah: Tulie Bakery

Address: 863 E. 700 S., Salt Lake City & 1510 S. 1500 E., Salt Lake City Details: Everything about this bakery will charm you into coming back. Breakfast options include brioche French toast with fresh fruit and liege waffles with orange vanilla syrup. Even the toast is delectable, with topping options including local apricot honey, almond butter and house-made ricotta.

Vermont: Drewski’s on the River

Address: 586 U.S. Rte. 4, Bridgewater Corners Details: Carrying on the tradition when it was Blanche and Bill’s Pancake House, this gem still serves some of the best pancakes and waffles around. But if you’re looking for something a bit heartier, we recommend the kitchen sink omelette.

Virginia: The Little Grill

Address: 621 N. Main St., Harrisonburg Details: The menu here is predominantly vegetarian and vegan, but they do have meat dishes. Eggs are local and there are plenty of egg dishes to try, including several types of omelettes. If you want pancakes, try the carrot cake (carrot, apple, raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and cream cheese glaze) or blue monkey (blueberries and bananas).

Washington: Oak Table Cafe

Address: 292 W. Bell St., Sequim Details: Located in the charming city of Sequim, at the base of the Olympic Mountains, the Oak Table Cafe is a longstanding local favorite. Opened in 1981, this family-owned, all-day breakfast spot serves classic eggs and potatoes along with specials like Swedish pancakes, a shrimp omelette with bechamel sauce and brandied peach crepes.

Washington, D.C.: The Diner

Address: 2453 18th St., NW Details: Ask any D.C. local for their go-to breakfast spots and they’re sure to mention The Diner. This modern version of a classic diner serves breakfast all day, with traditional favorites like biscuits and gravy, buttermilk pancakes and a selection of omelettes. The Diner also serves up some innovative dishes, like their short-rib benedict on fried green tomatoes, or their vegan tofu scramble.

West Virginia: Bright Morning Inn

Address: 454 William Ave., Davis Details: If you’re looking for a classic country breakfast, look no further than the restaurant at the Bright Morning Inn in Davis. The eatery at this cozy B&B serves Southern specialties like biscuits and gravy as well as lighter dishes, like locally-made granola and yogurt. Best of all, they source much of their produce and honey from local suppliers.

Looking for a quaint romantic getaway? A bed and breakfast might be for you. Check out our list of the best B&Bs.

Wisconsin: Monty’s Blue Plate Diner

Address: 2089 Atwood Ave., Madison Details: The wait can be long at this ‘50s-style retro diner in Madison, but it’s definitely worth it. Located in a converted gas station, Monty’s is known for a wide-ranging breakfast menu with lots of vegan and vegetarian options you won’t find at just any diner. They serve everything from meatloaf hash to potato zucchini pancakes to a special almond milk french toast.

Wyoming: The Bunnery

Address: 130 N. Circle, Jackson Hole Details: You can find freshly squeezed juice, coffee and breakfast food made from scratch. Enjoy their signature Bloody Mary, and grab a bag of their trademarked pancake and waffle mix on your way out.

Got a sweet tooth after breakfast? Check out Persephone Bakery around the corner — it’s on our list of best local bakeries.