Whether you're hankering for bottomless mimosas or shrimp and grits, these cities have robust rosters of restaurants to satisfy all your mid-morning cravings.
Bacon-garnished bloody marys. Deep-fried French toast. Green-chile-smothered breakfast burritos. These are just some dishes that make brunch worth rolling out of bed for. The beloved late-morning or mid-day meal — depending on what time you get up — combines the best of breakfast and lunch. It often offers decadent fuel for your weekend via boozy caffeinated and sparkling drinks and carb-loaded dishes. Here, we’ve rounded up the best small and mid-size cities for brunch lovers.
The headquarters of Creighton University and a growing list of international corporations (think: Berkshire Hathaway and Union Pacific), Omaha is a metropolis filled with plenty of eateries to satiate the appetite of its burgeoning population. Try one of Jam’s three locations for brunch, a local favorite for braised short rib Benedicts, streusel and fruit-topped coffee cake and coconut chicken and waffles. Or mosey over to Louie M’s Burger Lust Cafe, an Omaha institution serving breakfast all day long; the menu has everything from house-made cinnamon rolls to huevos rancheros and bloody marys garnished with bacon, pickles and celery. If you’re craving something lighter (no judgment), head to Saddle Creek Breakfast Club, where the lineup includes a variety of vegan and vegetarian options; we like the tofu rancheros and artichoke omelet.
Georgia’s capital and most-populated city is a Southern belle brimming with Civil War and Civil Rights history, beautiful green spaces — and multi-faceted culinary offerings. There, you’ll find plenty of places to day drink, indulge in rib-sticking dishes and start your Saturday or Sunday on a high note. Breakfast tacos and a sunny patio are the draw at El Tesoro, which offers toppings like scrambled egg, chorizo, onion and cilantro and three types of mushrooms and squash on your choice of tortilla (the homemade blue corn with Oaxacan masa is a favorite).
Craving a sweeter meal? BeetleCat has the doughnut-centric brunch of your dreams. Try the caramel-glazed and pretzel-sprinkled variety or the Key-lime-filled, and come back for oysters and lobster rolls come dinnertime. Home Grown, a 1970s-style diner with offerings like chili and grits and steak and eggs, is also worth a stop.
Nestled on a peninsula on Casco Bay, Portland may have a reputation as a sleepy waterfront town in Maine. But that doesn’t mean it lacks a dining scene rife with places to have a late morning or mid-day meal.
Case in point? The dishes on the menu at Hot Suppa. Inside the restaurant’s 1860 Victorian building, patrons can enjoy brunch fare injected with Southern flair, including potent cocktails like the fruity, sweet-iced-tea-infused Georgia Peach and specialties such as fried green tomato Benedicts. Meanwhile, cinnamon roll pancakes and house-smoked salmon with eggs await at Bayside American Cafe; and Becky’s Diner is a no-frills destination for waterfront views, lobster omelets and homefries bejeweled with cheese, onion and peppers.
Colorado’s capital is known for its health-conscious population and thriving food and beverage scene, including a bounty of restaurants serving stellar brunch fare. If you’ve imbibed too heavily the night before (easy to do in an enclave with more than 100 breweries), pop into La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal, the Mile High City’s first dedicated pozoleria. There, you can coax your body back to life with a bowl of spicy, tender-pork-studded pozole, the comforting traditional Mexican stew. You can also venture to Apple Blossom inside the Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver for espresso martinis, oysters and buttery, big-as-your-face pancakes. Or snag a table inside cozy La Bouche — a French wine bar — for flights of mimosas, flaky pastries and delicious Croque monsieurs and quiches.
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe, the second-oldest city in the U.S., is a haven for exploring arts and culture-rich attractions and experiencing tasty cuisines, from Southwestern to French. For homestyle fare, a visit to Pantry Cafe is a must; tempting eats on the menu include blue corn cinnamon pancakes, fries loaded with green chile, cheese and eggs and red-chile-smothered burritos. Or, to get your pastry fix, stop by Chocolate Maven to pick up some of the renowned bakery’s cookies or croissants or tuck into pancakes, crepes, frittatas and other delicious dishes in the cafe. While the Teahouse is known for its caffeinated beverages, the restaurant also has an excellent selection of all-day breakfast favorites (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), including six types of eggs Benedict (try the Calabrian with hot ‘nduja sausage).
Whether you’re drawn to the lush landscapes or vibrant community of artists, Nashville is a Tennessee gem catering to a bounty of interests, including those that involve sipping and noshing. Whether you had a rollicking night on Broadway (the city’s storied booze-happy entertainment district) or need fuel for a day of exploration, there’s a brunch spot in Music City that will hit the spot.
For inventive early-day sustenance, Butcher and Bee has dishes such as mushroom breakfast tacos accompanied by crispy potatoes and pickled green tomato salsa and hearty dips for veggies and pitas crowned with proteins like spicy lamb sausage and bacon. Both are ideal for complementing with an Aperol spritz or alcohol-free gozoz (a refreshing drink made with a seasonal vinegar fruit shrub and sparkling water). Other options include Liberty Common, where you can devour polished comfort food like Nashville hot chicken biscuits and fried egg-laden burgers in sleek, European-style digs. Finally, if you’re looking for brunch and a show, make a reservation at Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, a must-visit for drag brunch paired with Asian fusion dishes (AM fried rice, anyone?).