Rise And Dine
Raleigh's Favorite Breakfast and Brunch Spots
BY JENNI HART
PHOTOS BY @RALEIGHFOODPICS
Restaurant buzz tends to favor dinner hour offerings, but a surprising number of local restaurants also welcome early morning customers for daily breakfast. If a mid-morning nosh is more your speed, you’ll find weekend brunch options equally enticing. Need a good reason to skip the snooze alarm? Look no further.
Big Ed’s City Market
A Raleigh institution, Big Ed’s City Market is the kind of place you take out-of-town visitors, especially those who need a proper introduction to the classic Southern breakfast. Sammy Hobgood, whose family owns Big Ed’s, says the giant, fluffy hotcakes and the biscuit with sausage gravy are two of the most sought-after menu items. “The red eye gravy is another simple, classic recipe we make in house that everybody loves,” he adds. Fresh, local ingredients are key to the wholesome goodness that draws fans from all over, so in addition to the City Market location, the family opened a second Big Ed’s in Quail Corners in 2015. Both feature interesting collections of Americana, including farm implements once used on the Hobgood family farm.
• The Morning Times serves breakfast daily and Sunday brunch in popular downtown location with outdoor seating available. Offers omelets, breakfast sandwiches, French toast, chicken and waffles, lox and a weekly brunch feature.
• State Farmers Market Restaurant serves breakfast daily, closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Known for its scratch-made buttermilk biscuits, “The Market,” as it’s known among regulars, serves a hearty country breakfast made with ingredients from local farms and growers.
• New World Cafe is located in North Raleigh just east of Glenwood. The coffee bar serves Counter Culture coffee and offers a modest breakfast menu, friendly neighborhood setting and great service.
• Jubala Coffee has two Raleigh locations, Lafayette Village and Hillsborough Street, and offers light breakfast daily, including sweet biscuits and Liege waffles. Best known for exquisite coffee creations.
• Brewerks Café and Bakery, relative newcomer to the Raleigh restaurant community, opened just last year at the corner of Lane and Linden in Historic Oakwood. Serves breakfast and brunch classics, including Eggs Benedict and fluffy pancakes, in a quiet, charming setting with dog-friendly patio seating available.
• Sosta is a popular spot at street level of the Red Hat building downtown. Open Monday-Saturday, Sosta has an early morning menu featuring omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pastries and smoothies, as well as interesting coffee and espresso creations made with fair trade, organic coffee.
• Night Kitchen Bakehouse & Cafe in Seaboard Station, open Tuesday-Sunday, specializes in breads, pastry, bagels and bialys; varieties change daily. Also serves coffee, espresso and fine teas.
Humble Pie, one of Raleigh’s classic brunch spots, has served Sunday brunch since 1989. Co-owner Joe Farmer says locals and visitors alike come for Humble Pie’s signature dishes, including Shrimp and Grits featuring broth of the gods, North Carolina shrimp, and Geechie Boy hand-milled grits from South Carolina. “Our biscuits and Neese’s hot sausage gravy with two eggs is not too shabby either,” he adds. Located in Raleigh’s Warehouse District, Humble Pie is known for its casual atmosphere and covered patio, where dogs are welcome to join their people beginning at 11 a.m. “When 12 o’clock hits, we blow a conch shell to announce the bar is open,” Farmer says, referencing the state’s blue law prohibiting Sunday alcohol sales before noon – at least for now. In addition to the traditional Bloody Mary, Bellini and mimosa, the Corvette Summer – pink grapefruit shrub, tequila, soda, lime and a salted rim – is a favorite with the brunch crowd.
NOFO in Five Points serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Besides the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Eggs, and the one-of-a-kind Fried Green Tomato Benedict, brunch guests positively rave about the award-winning NOFO Bloody Mary. Owner, Raleigh native Jean Martin, is quick to add that fans can order the Bloody Mary any time.
Relish Craft Kitchen & Bourbon Bar, at the corner of Creedmoor and Millbrook Road, serves brunch both weekend days from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Owner Sharon May says the French Toast Bread Pudding, made with challah bread soaked overnight in a sweetened egg mixture, is the restaurant’s most popular brunch item, adding that an early arrival may be in order. “Once we run out, we are out for the day,” she says, noting the surprising number of requests from people who call and ask to reserve a piece – unfortunately, that’s not possible, so set your alarm and cross your fingers! Also in demand are the Gingerbread Banana Pancakes and the Fried Egg BL and Green T, an extra tasty take on the bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato sandwich. The ‘Mater Biscuit, with sweet potato biscuits, fried egg, bacon, fried green tomatoes and cream gravy, is another quintessentially Southern menu offering.
Coquette Brasserie, in The Circle at North Hills, serves Sunday brunch with a distinctive French flair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Delicate crepes, savory quiches and poached egg dishes are just a sampling of Coquette’s many brunch offerings, which naturally include French Toast Pave and flaky croissants. C’est délicieux!
Other notable brunch destinations:
• Bare Bones
• Capital Club 16