If you’ve demoted breakfast to slamming a glass of orange juice and rushing out the door with a granola bar, Travel + Leisure invites you to savor Cajun staples like shrimp and grits, a stack of pancakes made in California with a secret ingredient, or even a liquid breakfast of build-your-own Bloody Marys.
Read on for our favorite places to start the day across America.
One of the most exciting food announcements to hit Manhattan in 2014 was the opening of Russ & Daughters’ sit-down café. A visit to the original appetizing store (est. 1914) has been a New York breakfast rite of passage for four generations. At the café just around the corner, you get all the beloved Jewish standards—from whitefish to caviar to the famous cream cheese spreads—without having to grab ’n’ go. Park on a barstool and order the popular Lower Sunny Side. It’s Gaspe smoked salmon with sunny-side-up eggs and plump potato latkes.
Cutty’s elevates the sandwich to an art form, with the crowd favorite containing a piquant Oaxacan chorizo on black-pepper brioche, scrambled eggs, melted farmer cheese, a cold smear of mayo, and several sprigs of cilantro. And, like any work of art, the beauty is in the fine details. The Egg Benedict Sandwich gets brown-butter hollandaise. The Red Flannel Hash has co-owner Charles Kelsey’s famous truffle ketchup or the house spicy mayo. “We make a couple quarts of each daily,” explains Kelsey. For a 16-seat establishment, that’s considerable sauce sales.
Open daily at 7 a.m., this cool coffeehouse showcases the talents of Underbelly chefs Victoria Dearmond and Chris Shepherd and Greenway Coffee & Tea’s David Buehrer. Dearmond developed her own special recipe for from-scratch, square-cut biscuits, and in a true kitchen collaboration, Shepherd then came up with an irresistible redeye gravy made from smoked hock, cream, Benton’s country ham, and a measure of the house coffee. You’ll want a double shot of this pour over.
Jump-start your day here on Sunset Boulevard with what Griddle Café calls “over-sized originals.” It serves a variety of hotcakes (batter calling for corn rather than flour), flapjacks (starch-based batter cooked on a griddle), and old-fashioned pancakes. The dozens of pancake recipes alone call for everything from bittersweet chocolate chips to red velvet to pumpkin pie filling. The Golden Ticket is the most popular stack: a banana batter hits the griddle, with caramel, walnuts, and streusel ladled in as it cooks. It’s topped with whipped cream, caramel, and more streusel (you can never have too much streusel).
The domain of Top Chef/James Beard Award superstar Stephanie Izard, Little Goattakes breakfast global. You can start your day with a kimchi, bacon, and eggs dish or an Indian flatbread burrito. Yet the grandest ode to excellence is the Fat Elvis Waffle. Developed with the King’s favorite sandwichin mind, the sourdough waffle is topped with crispy bacon and sliced bananas. It’s then drizzled in melted peanut-butter butter and a bacon-laced maple syrup.
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