Stray Bullet Café in Ovando, Mont., dishes up scrumptious pies with a smile.
Awful Annie’s Lincoln (also in Auburn), Calif.
“Anyone who leaves this place hungry didn’t hold up their end of the fork,” writes Carrie Padgett of Madera, Calif. “Omelets, pancakes, French toast, waffles, breakfast burritos—the menu is extensive.” (916) 645-9766, awfulannies1.homestead.com.
Brown Sugar Kitchen Oakland, Calif.
“The place to go,” writes Risa Nye of Oakland. “Perfect crisp chicken is paired with a cornmeal waffle served with brown-sugar butter and warm apple-cider syrup. And the buttermilk biscuits are so tender you may shed tears of joy.” (510) 839-7685,
Howard Station Café Occidental, Calif.
“I love to start here on a Sonoma County drive,” says Sara Tarano of Oakland. “Sometimes, though, the café itself is the destination. My favorites: the French toast, the crab Benedict, and the beautiful location.” (707) 874-2838, howardstationcafe.com.
Millie’s Kitchen Lafayette, Calif.
“A feel-at-home, hole-in-the-wall place,” says Joyce Granville of Pittsburg, Calif. “You’ll come back for the eggs Benedict, pumpkin pancakes, and wonderful hot chocolate with whipped cream.” (925) 283-2397.
Putah Creek Café Winters, Calif.
“Wonderful home-cooked food in a charming diner with an outdoor patio from a bygone era,” says Nora Mealy of Davis, Calif. “Fabulous fruit scones and pies, and, in the fall, pumpkin pancakes.” (530) 795-2682, putahcreekcafe.com.
Sweetie Pie’s Restaurant & Bakery Placerville, Calif.
“The tofu scramble is the greatest,” says Laurie Parson of Pope Valley, Calif. “Together with cinnamon-apple bread, it makes the perfect breakfast. Also mouthwatering: olallieberry pancakes.” (530) 642-0128, sweetiepies.biz.
The Kneadery Ketchum, Idaho
“I do long morning runs and reward myself with a hearty breakfast,” says Anne Jeffery of Ketchum. “With its cozy atmosphere and extensive breakfast served until 2 p.m., this place fits the bill. Best is the plate of fresh-baked cookies by the door.” (208) 726-9462.
Trolley House Boise
“Great before or after skiing,” says Stephen Adams of Boise. “Choose among six types of eggs Benedict—all fantastic. Even better are the pancakes, so big they flop over the side of the plate.” (208) 345-9255.
Stray Bullet Café Ovando, Mont.
“Worn boots on linoleum floors, weathered faces, clean plates, folks lingering over the last cup of coffee,” says Dean Genge of Ovando. “Don’t want to leave? Have some pie.” (406) 793-4030.
Laughing Horse Lodge Swan Lake, Mont.
“I love going here,” says Judy Mashek of Bigfork, Mont. “The food is wonderful—from buttermilk pancakes to blue crab Benedict—and the scenery is just what you would expect in western Montana: beautiful.” (406) 886-2080, laughinghorselodge.com.
Main Street Overeasy Bozeman, Mont.
“Best in Bozeman,” says Kandy Rose of Bozeman. “Tucked into downtown, it has pancakes made from scratch, incredible oatmeal with fruit, and the best eggs Benedict ever. For brunch, try the bacon, egg, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and a bowl of homemade soup.” (406) 587-3205, mainstreetovereasy.com.
Peg ’s Glorified Ham n Eggs Reno
“Enormous breakfasts served in skillets,” says Patrick Paine of Reno. “Homemade tamales and eggs, chunky crab cakes Benedict, Belgian waffles—crisp outside, cakelike inside—and sinful bananas Foster French toast. No one leaves hungry.” (775) 329-2600.
Beaterville Café Portland
“At this funky neighborhood place full of car paraphernalia, even the tasty omelets are all named for cars,” says Geri Ethen of Portland. (503) 735-4652, beaterville.com.
Camp 18 Restaurant Elsie, Ore.
“Try the razor clam breakfast,” says Wayne Hess of Beaverton, Ore. “The logging museum setting is a bonus. You’ll marvel at the two-man chain saws over the cashier’s stand and at the courage of the men at the saws’ stinger end.” (503) 755-1818, camp18restaurant.com.
Cricket Café Portland
“Until I ate here, I didn’t even know I liked biscuits and gravy,” says Erin Wicklund of Portland. “Now I’m hooked. Theirs are wonderful.” (503) 235-9348, cricketcafepdx.com.
Indian Creek Cafe Gold Beach, Ore.
“This place has the best buckwheat and buttermilk pancakes,” says Julian Starr of Gold Beach. “In fall, after breakfast, walk to Indian Creek Bridge and watch salmon heading upstream to spawn.” (541) 247-0680.
Vida Café Vida, Ore.
“You won’t regret stopping at this small place on the McKenzie River,” says Linda Brinkman of Walnut Creek, Calif. “You’ll find huge ranch eggs, pancakes, great coffee, and at times, as a special, just-off-the-iron waffles.” (541) 896-3289.
Word of Mouth Neighborhood Bistro Salem, Ore.
“Hungry patrons pack the porch of this cute converted home,” writes Barbara Haydon of Salem. “They’re waiting for crème brûlée French toast, corned beef hash, and chicken-fried steak with fluffy biscuits and sausage gravy.” (503) 930-4285, wordofsalem.com.
Angie’s Restaurant Logan, Utah
“I’ve had many breakfasts here and have never been disappointed,” says Kathleen Strelich of Logan. “Omelets, delicious skillets, and ideal hash browns—and the service is fast and friendly.” (435) 752-9252, menuism.com/restaurants/angies-restaurant-logan-94174.
Pioneer Lodge Restaurant Springdale, Utah
“On a trip to Zion National Park, we found Pioneer Lodge just outside the park,” says Heather Taylor of Levan, Utah. “Talk about great food that fills your stomach and doesn’t empty your wallet—the pancakes are huge!” (888) 772-3233, pioneerlodge.com.
The Brown Bag Kirkland, Wash.
“By far the best place I’ve ever had breakfast,” says Debbie Bauer of Missoula, Mont. “It’s a good old country breakfast—fabulous lunch, too. The staff is awesome.” (425) 822-9462, brownbagcafes.com.
Photography by Lynn Donaldson
This article was first published in November 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.