Atlanta’s brunch scene gets all the glory, but did you know that breakfast is actually one of the best times to get out and explore the city? Beginning the day with a breakfast excursion means lighter traffic and the chance to soak up positive morning vibes as restaurants — and the city — come alive. And no, we’re not saying you should leave the house for a boring bowl of cereal. This is Atlanta, and true to our city, all of the best breakfast spots do it with flair. Expect creative takes on morning classics (although sometimes we appreciate a dose of Southern comfort). Rise and shine at one of the following six places, and your day will be golden.
6 Delicious Atlanta Breakfast Destinations
968 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30316 • (404) 222-0455
Sure, Home Grown has its own vegetable garden, but that’s not why throngs of people queue up at the Reynoldstown hotspot. The comfy chicken biscuit is the quintessential breakfast dish and even has its own cult following. You may (okay, you will) wait a bit to be seated, but your reward will be an open-faced biscuit as big as your head, loaded up with fried chicken that’s been smothered in a sausage gravy. It’s intense, but we have faith in you. If chicken isn’t your jam, we recommend the Riverview Farms breakfast burger: two pork sausage patties, eggs, cheddar and onion jam wedged between a wheat bun. Don’t forget to swing through Sew Thrifty, Home Grown’s vintage shop in the back of the restaurant.
999 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 • (404) 541-1105
A casually upscale restaurant, Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South (ESS) offers high-end, farm-to-table eats in an approachable setting. Diners are drawn to ESS for the farm egg, seasonal veggie dishes and bar program driven by Kellie Thorn, but it’s also a lovely breakfast spot. In the early hours of the day the restaurant is cozy and inviting, shirking its usual full-service routine with counter service. The fried chicken biscuit sandwich with pimento cheese is sure to quell those morning hunger pangs, but if you want to keep it light, opt for the ESS oatmeal with pecan and white raisin streusel. ESS carefully sources their coffee as much as they do other aspects of the menu. They use Intelligentsia beans and offer a full range of espresso and coffee beverages.
4225 Roswell Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30342 • (678) 732-3274
Known as a hopping brunch spot, Buttermilk Kitchen makes an even better breakfast spot. Why? No wait … and plenty of parking (although if you’re ever in doubt, they have a nice breakdown of the parking situation). Open since 2012, Buttermilk is led by Suzanne Vizethann and charms diners with an airiness reminiscent of a country home. Beyond farm-like decor, the restaurant stays true to its brand by using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their use of seasonal veggies shines in the market scramble, a rich combination of fluffy eggs, a variety of vegetables and cheese. If you have a morning sweet tooth, cure it with the caramelized banana oatmeal.
249 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30313 • (470) 428-3825
A downtown gem, Atlanta Breakfast Club (ABC) feeds the masses and keeps them coming back with their fun breakfast offerings. Nothing at ABC is run of the mill — or on the light side. The restaurant’s interior harkens back to diners of yore with red and white décor. Get the carb-loading party started with the fried chicken and waffle stack. The chicken is fried in a thyme-infused batter, and the waffle is Belgian-style and fluffy. And don’t forget the maple syrup! A little more off the beaten breakfast path are their breakfast tacos. The tortillas are given the French toast treatment and then stuffed with scrambled eggs and spicy sausage. Once you’re fueled up, go visit downtown’s tourist attractions – you’ll be but a few feet away!
334 Sandy Springs Circle, NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 • (404) 549-8385
Hot on the scene is Soho Café and Bakery, found in a residential area of Sandy Springs just off of Roswell Road. Pop by early in the morning for an overwhelmingly delicious whiff of their freshly baked goods. Munch on a Danish oozing with fruit preserves, or indulge in an over-the-top bagel sandwich. We’re not bagel experts, but we can say with certainty that the ones at Soho are the right amount of chewy and not too doughy. Perk up with a cup of coffee, as they use locally roasted Cool Beans.
710 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306 • (470) 875-5856
The hip spot adjacent to Paris on Ponce is getting a lot of buzz for their bar, but don’t forget about the biscuits and English muffins! On weekends the place is slammed, and the pastry case depleted, but if you’re early enough you can cozy up in the sunny dining room and watch the neighborhood come to life. Sarah Dodge helms the pastry program and puts her magical touch on everything from the croissants to the seasonal fruit pastries. The English muffin sandwich is blessed with the fluffiest scrambled eggs, avocado and a Tabasco mayo. Lighter fare here is harder to come by, but the grain bowl with veggies and a poached egg is about all you need.
Enjoy your breakfast — it’s the most important meal of the day!
All photos by Lia Picard unless otherwise noted.
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