A fluffy, three-egg omelet. Steaming-hot pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. Crisp bacon with a side of buttered grits.
It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and who are we to argue with conventional wisdom? Without question, breakfast gives us some of the most flavorful and filling food we eat all day.
When it comes to finding the best breakfast locales in the Triangle area, leave it to Cary Magazine to cover all the bases. Whether it’s a straight-up local diner, an upscale bakery/café or a morning-meal specialty shop, we found five stellar spots that are sure to get your day off to a great start.
Maggy Award winner Brigs is the gold standard for breakfast establishments — and for good reason. Whether you choose the popular griddle combo, eggs Benedict or Belgian waffles, you just can’t go wrong.
“The thing that makes our griddle combos special is the huge variety of options to pair with the pancakes or Belgian waffle,” said Brigs Founder David Brigham. “And for just one dollar more, you can choose from any of our different pancakes and waffles.”
Friendly, attentive staff, pleasant surroundings and, of course, huge portions make Brigs the go-to place for breakfast and brunch for all occasions.
“We also have a new, expanded menu,” said Lisa Karner, a Brigs employee since 1992, who along with her husband, Mike, runs the restaurant’s newest location at Tryon Village. “We’ve added Southern specialty items like shrimp and grits and fried chicken and waffle.”
Brigs is open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Breakfast food is available anytime of the day.
1225 Northwest Maynard Road (Maynard Crossing), (919) 481-9300
1040 Tryon Village Drive, Suite 604 (Tryon Village), (919) 859-2151
The Cary Café, Cary
This beloved gourmet eatery recently relocated to a spiffy new spot just up the road from its old digs. Owners Abdul and Vicky Ismail now take full advantage of a larger kitchen, where they serve up exquisite offerings such as lemon buttermilk pancakes with peach syrup, baked blueberry walnut French toast and delectable omelets filled with feta, spinach or Brie.
“Everything is fresh and scratch-made each day,” Vicky said. “We even make our own maple syrup.” It’s that kind of attention to detail that keeps the locals coming back time and again. Be sure to try the robust java, which is supplied by local roaster Tradewinds Coffee Co.
The café’s sunny, inviting dining room, lively atmosphere and conscientious service make for a rewarding experience. Local artwork is showcased regularly. Closed Sundays, the Cary Café is open six days a week from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Breakfast is served all day.
212 Grande Heights Drive (Harrison Pointe Shopping Center)
The Flying Biscuit Café, Raleigh
Eclectic décor, decidedly offbeat cuisine and award-winning biscuits make this one of the area’s most popular breakfast and brunch hangouts.
“What sets the Flying Biscuit apart from other breakfast-centric restaurants is definitely our menu,” said Todd Keller, the café’s operating partner. “While we have all the breakfast standards, we also have some unique items as well: country eggs Benedict, a hearty take on the eggs Benedict, egg-ceptional, with our homemade green salsa, or our creamy, dreamy grits.”
Another crowd-pleaser is the orange-scented French toast with honey anglaise and raspberry sauce. “There’s something on our menu for everyone,” Keller said.
Searching for something a bit more health-conscious? Look no further than the scrambled tofu (complete with peppers, onions, mushrooms and spinach along with fresh fruit) or organic oatmeal pancakes with warm peach compote.
Staffed by trendy, young servers who are eager to please, the Flying Biscuit serves breakfast all day, every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
2016 Clark St. (Cameron Village)
Guglhupf Bakery, Pâtisserie & Cafe, Durham
Pronouncing this restaurant’s name is not easy (Guglhupf derives its moniker from a German specialty cake), but don’t let that stop you from heading to Durham for a distinctive dining experience.
Take, for instance, the wild mushroom omelet with sautéed leeks and Emmenthaler cheese. Or maybe you prefer a breakfast cheese plate with St. Andre cheese, seasonal fruit and assorted fresh breads. How about an extraordinary chocolate croissant instead? Any choice is a solid option.
Proprietor Claudia Cooper, who hails from Heilbronn, Germany, has seen the small bakery she opened in 1998 evolve into a full-scale restaurant. The bakery still thrives, but now an open, two-level dining room and spacious patio provide patrons abundant room to relax and enjoy themselves.
“This is such a warm, inviting place for breakfast,” says Guglhupf spokeswoman Sasha Travers. “It has an authentic international café feel to it.”
While Guglhupf imports some products from Europe, the business is committed to using local vendors and artisans like Cane Creek Farm, Latta Egg Ranch and Goat Lady Dairy on a regular basis. “We have strong collaborative relationships with local farmers, and we rely on them to supply quality goods,” said Travers.
Closed Monday, Guglhupf serves breakfast Tuesday through Friday and an extensive brunch on the weekends. Lunch and dinner are also available. Check the website for hours of operation and a weekly baking schedule for breads.
2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., Suite 101
Jus’ Enuff Home Cookin’, Fuquay-Varina
Tucked away in a nondescript strip mall, this casual eatery serves all the breakfast favorites like grits, home fries, hash browns, biscuits and toast along with nearly 20 types of omelets. Surefire options include popular specials “Fuquay” (two eggs, bacon, link sausage or red hots) and “Varina” (two eggs, two pancakes, bacon, sausage or red hots).
For something different, try the $5 “hobo” plate, which features savory sausage scrambled with eggs. “Our link sausage is made exclusively for us by Carly C’s IGA in Angier,” revealed co-owner Cindy Johnson.
French toast and hubcap-sized pancakes also are available with pecans, blueberries, chocolate chips or spiced apples. Added bonus: Coffee or tea is free with all breakfast specials.
Make no mistake: Jus’ Enuff exudes bona fide Southern charm. Waitresses call regulars by name, often with some jocular attitude thrown in for good measure. What’s more, the Formica-laden tables under fluorescent lighting create an it’s-about-the-food atmosphere — exactly what you expect from a hometown diner.
Jus’ Enuff is open Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Breakfast is served all day, every day.
736 N. Main St.
Other Breakfast Places to Consider
The Diner, Raleigh
Cracker Barrel, various locations
Pam’s Farmhouse Restaurant, Raleigh
Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant, Raleigh