Cracker Box in Carson City, Nev.
BABS DELTA DINER Suisun City, Calif. "Try the chunky corned beef hash and opt for grilled onions or green onions with your home fries," suggests Gail Katagiri of Kensington, Calif. "Or instead of the usual toast, order a fluffy biscuit with gravy and plan to waddle out." (707) 421-1926.
BIG CITY COFFEE Boise. "This is a ware-housey, order-at-the-counter place with a clientele from trim cyclists and young mothers to students and businesspeople," says Judy Austin of Boise. "It serves waffles and eggs several ways, great coffee in many forms, and absolutely deadly pastries and coffee cakes." bigcitycoffeeld.com.
CAMP 18 RESTAURANT At milepost 18 on Highway 26 east of Seaside, Ore. "The decor here is 100 percent logging nostalgia—antler chandeliers, an ax for a door handle," writes Lora Keenan of Portland. "But the French toast is hands down the best anywhere: fluffy and eggy, cooked to crisp perfection, and dusted with powdered sugar." (503) 755-1818.
CITRIS GRILL Salt Lake City. "Well worth a drive out of your way," promises Lorene de St. Aubin of Salt Lake City. "You'll find traditional items such as blueberry pancakes with maple syrup as well as little pizzas with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and tomatoes." citrisgrill.com.
CRACKER BOX Carson City, Nev. "The West meets the '50s in this stainless steel, blackand- white diner," says Patricia Cooper-Smith of Carson City. "The turbocharged home fries, classic egg dishes, and fresh-squeezed orange juice draw locals and travelers from miles around." (775) 882-4556.
ECHO LAKE CAFE Bigfork, Mont. "I love the fat, fluffy omelets here," writes Leslie Budewitz of Bigfork. "The Greek version is my favorite—perfect with potatoes and toast, coffee cake, or an English muffin. Just as good are the eggs Benedict, waffles, pancakes, and breakfast burritos." (406) 837-4252.
FRANK'S DINER Spokane, Wash. "This downtown restaurant is a converted 1909 Northern Pacific Railway car," says Rickey Chang of Hayward, Calif. "Sit at the counter or in a booth—the chickenfried steak is the greatest—and you feel like you're riding the rails." franksdiners.com.
HANK'S CREEKSIDE RESTAURANT Santa Rosa, Calif. "A local institution," says Jennifer Oatham-Jones of Santa Rosa. "Treats include the corned beef hash, sausages, eggs Benedict, and cinnamon-apple French toast. With luck you'll find an outside table above Santa Rosa Creek." sterba.com/sro/creekside.
HOLLY'S LIGHTHOUSE CAFE Pacific Grove, Calif. "A cozy spot where locals and visitors mingle," says Stephanie Atigh of Pacific Grove. "You'll discover pancakes made with fresh raspberries or blueberries, scrumptious omelets, steel-cut oatmeal, and huge platters of huevos rancheros." (831) 372-7006.
KEYSTONE CAFE Eugene, Ore. "If you want to feel good about eating locally and organically, with delicious thrown in," says Will Royston of Eugene, "check out the reasonable menu here, with omelets, other egg dishes, and many eggless and vegan ones, too." keystonecafe.net/.
LA MAISON BAKERY & CAFE Newport, Ore. "Oh my," says Mary Bunn of Salem, Ore. "My mouth waters just thinking about the caramelized banana French toast, the artichoke eggs Benedict. The owner has remodeled a little home into a bistro-cafe and offers delicious breads and desserts to go as well." (541) 265-8812.
MISS TAMI'S COTTAGE & TEA ROOM Meridian, Idaho. "This French cottage has lots of lovely nooks and crannies for conversation," says Lauren Hershey of Payette, Idaho. "The breakfast buffet has everything from granola and yogurt to maple waffes and the famous Monte Cristo—a delectable marriage of ham, cheese, and French toast." misstamis.com.
MORNING GLORY RESTAURANT Ashland, Ore. "Try the awesome Gorgonzola–walnut–caramelized onion omelet," says Jim Mathews of Mount Shasta, Calif. "It's served with your choice of pancakes, potatoes, or fried polenta. Plan to wait for a table most days." morninggloryrestaurant.com.
NO SWEAT CAFE Helena, Mont. "Not only are the breakfasts here made from scratch with local and organic ingredients," says Lisa Murray of Great Falls, Mont., "but the proprietors have a ‘no cell phone' policy." (406) 442-6954.
ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE Portland (and eight other locations in Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington). "From their signature Dutch baby and apple pancakes to crepes and waffles piled with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, or peaches, this is the best," says James Meyer of Portland. originalpancakehouse.com.
OTIS CAFE Otis, Ore. "Worth the drive from just about anywhere," says Linda Royston of Eugene, Ore. "You'll find all the normal offerings, but also the ‘original Otis Cafe's famous, world-renowned German potatoes'—hash browns with green onions and white cheddar cheese." otiscafe.tripod.com/id13.html.
PAUL'S PANCAKE PARLOR Missoula, Mont. "A definite must," says Margie Gignac of Kalispell, Mont. "The place is always packed, especially on weekends, with people waiting for variations on delicious pancakes and waffles and the equally good breakfast standards." thegrubclub.com/a/pauls.
RICK'S CAFE Los Altos, Calif. "The decor here is upscale and the service well paced," says Dana Sebree of Mountain View, Calif. "I love the Torino crepe with artichokes, spinach, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheese.You get salad and delicious hash browns on the side." (650) 559-1941.
RUNNING BEAR PANCAKE HOUSE West Yellowstone, Mont. "Everything is good, so it's worth waiting for a table," writes Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos, Calif. "The pancakes are huge and fluffy, the omelets tasty, and the coffee delicious. We wouldn't dream of missing it on our next visit to Yellowstone." (406) 646-7703.
SILVER SPUR RESTAURANT Santa Cruz, Calif. "Try the hearty home fries with feta cheese or the daily special scrambles," suggests Susanna Danner of Boise, Idaho. "You'll spot the place by the crowd of locals standing outside in the sun drinking the coffee set out for them." scsilverspur.com.
SOUTH PINE CAFE Grass Valley, Calif. "My favorite menu item is the sampler," says Pat Murphy-Hupp of Grass Valley. "With your eggs you get corn cakes, potato pancakes, and two kinds of sausage. The lobster scramble is also great." southpinecafe.com.
TOAST EATERY San Francisco. "A neighborhood diner," writes Ted Weinstein of San Francisco, "but along with all the breakfast classics you can get pancakes with macadamias and coconut or Nutella, and the coffee is fair trade." toasteatery.com.
Photography by Mitch Tobias
This article was first published in September 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.