Where to Eat the Best Breakfast in Raleigh (13 local hot spots)

Ok Raleigh, if you’re wondering where to eat the best breakfast in Raleigh, what local restaurants we love to frequent for a hearty or light meal to start our day including a few great local coffee shops, we’ve got your morning covered down below!

People sitting in a cafe having breakfast
Big Ed’s City Market

Whilst the breakfast options in Raleigh aren’t as diverse and to the quality of say, brunch in Raleigh or dinner options, you can still get a good range of quality and interesting breakfast dishes plus get a taste of some Raleigh food experiences like Country ham, Southern Fried Chicken, Shrimp & Grits, Biscuits and gravy, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Chicken & Waffle Sandwiches to name just a few. 

If you’re new in town or live here like us and searching on your phone for the best breakfast near me, let’s dive in. 

Where to Eat the Best Breakfast in Raleigh

Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant

Big Ed's Raleigh, NC

If I had a friend visiting from out of town and had to choose one place to go for breakfast in Raleigh, I would take them to Big Ed’s in City Market. You don’t get more Raleigh, and a taste of Southern comfort food and hospitality, than at Big E’ds.

Here you can enjoy breakfast food like what grandma used to make, personable service, and a laid-back cafe with funky antiques hanging from the old rafters and memorabilia scattered around. 

Popular items include their HUGE hot cakes, country ham, aged ribeye steak, sliced pork loin, fried catfish, freshly made hot biscuits, French toast, and double-brewed sweet tea. Read our full review of Big Eds Raleigh here and why I think it’s the best breakfast in Raleigh.

Jubala Coffee (3 locations to choose)

Jubala Coffee, North Hills. Raleigh
Biscuit with bacon + egg + pimento cheese

If you love great coffee and moist, fluffy biscuits then consider starting your day at one of our favorite coffee shops in Raleigh, Jubala. We are regular visitors to their Hillsborough Street location (across from NC State University) and their newly opened location in the North Hills District has become an instant hit.

Jubala is a specialty coffee shop with a full menu of caffeinated drinks, I personally love their lattes, but they also serve tasty comfort food – I’m a big fan of their biscuits, fluffy and moist and they come with a choice of spreads and fillings. And our kids LOVE their banana nutella waffles!

jubala coffee raleigh
Banana Nutella waffles

Note: their North Hills location has an extended food menu including Avocado Tartine, Steel Cut Oatmeal, Granola Yogurt, and a small selection of baked goods (which you can also get at their two other locations). 

  • Hours: varies by location
  • Location: Hillsborough St, North Hills District, Lafayette Village
  • Website: JubalaCoffee.com

New York Bagel & Deli

ny bagels deli bagels raleigh nc 6
Steak, egg and cheese bagel

I know you Americans love your bagels for breakfast, especially you New Yorkers who have relocated to Raleigh, and whilst I’m no bagel expert I recently taste tested my way around all the bagel shops and I agree with the general consensus that New York Bagel & Deli in North Raleigh has the best bagels in Raleigh

Here you’ll find the kind of bagels that give New Yorkers a taste of home, and as soon as I walked in I got those NY vibes from the memorabilia on the walls, the ambience, the menu offerings, and the taste of the bagels. It closely resembled a true NY bagel shop and a real NY experience right here in Raleigh. 

Empire State bagel on a baking paper
Turkey, bacon, swiss

They use Boar’s Head meats and with 25 bagel varieties the menu is extensive with classics such as the Empire State (Turkey, Bacon, Swiss, Lettuce, Tomato and Onion), Nova Lox – Nova, Onion, tomato, capers & Cream Cheese, and The New Yorker – Pastrami, Corned Beef, Melted Swiss & Cole Slaw w/ Spicy Mustard.

State Farmers Market Restaurant 

People sitting at a counter having breakfast

Considered one of the nation’s best markets, the Raleigh Farmers Market is also home to one of the most popular Raleigh breakfast restaurants and a place to get a country breakfast and Southern dining experience. 

They start each meal with their highly acclaimed “REAL BISCUITS”, hand-made using the best NC self-rising flour and real Buttermilk, or order a biscuit as a main meal with fillings (they are gigantic, almost a hamburger). 

Breakfast plate of ham, eggs, potatos and cup of coffee
Country ham and eggs

Their menu features many fresh grown North Carolina based products, and popular items include their Granny Cone’s Sampler (a little of everything), country ham, omelets, and of course their biscuits. Get there early on a weekend as this place gets busy!

The Morning Times

People sitting on tables and chairs out the front of a coffee shop in Raleigh

Since 2006, The Morning Times in the heart of downtown Raleigh has been a go-to spot for breakfast in Raleigh for locals and visitors alike. 

On the menu are unique, and staple breakfast items. If you love breakfast burritos, that’s my personal favorite menu item. Also consider their corned beef and hash, or one of their yummy biscuits.

Breakfast buritto at The Morning Tomes, Raleigh
Breakfast burrito

Choose to sit in the cozy upstairs that also functions as an art gallery, or on the sidewalk on a nice weather morning and watch the Raleigh street scene go by. Or, grab a bagel or biscuit to go with a cup of their excellent brewed coffee.

Mecca Restaurant

People dining inside the Mecca Restaurant in Raleigh
Image courtesy of Mecca

Looking for breakfast in downtown Raleigh in a historic setting? Mecca holds the title as the oldest of the Raleigh restaurants, founded by Greek immigrants in 1930. The historic setting oozes nostalgia with red stools along a long counter, a black and white checkered floor, and heavy wooden booths.

Serving unpretentious and comforting meals, this is one of the few true diners left in Raleigh. Popular dishes include French toast, country ham, omelets, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches on a scratch made biscuit. If you love value for money, consider this breakfast restaurant for a unique-to-Raleigh experience.

A Place At The Table

Cup of coffee and sandwiches on a plate

What a cool concept A Place at the Table is. Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can café in downtown Raleigh serves chef-prepared food where all menu items have suggested prices. You can pay more or less, or volunteer in exchange for a meal. You can also donate meal tokens for people within the community.

The permanent staff and volunteers are all fantastic and very welcoming, and there is a real community vibe here. Popular items include homemade buttermilk biscuits and/or spicy cheddar biscuits, and the latin breakfast – Chef Andrew’s homemade black beans, eggs, crema, avocado, homemade salsa, and brown butter cornbread.

Eggs and toast for breakfast
Latin breakfast

Great coffee too, they use Black and White Coffee Roasters from Wake Forest, who also have a coffee shop around the corner in the Warehouse District

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar

Craig Makepeace et al. sitting at a table posing for the camera

Not specifically local to Raleigh but I’m including them as they are local to North Carolina (Asheville), and it’s one of the popular breakfast places in Raleigh that offers an all-day menu of Southern comfort food with a creative twist – and a good kids menu.

Tupelo Honey Cafe, Raleigh
Kids pancakes

Tupelo is famous for their buttermilk biscuits, fried tomatoes, classic fried chicken & waffles, Bacon & Sausage Scramble, and Cast Iron Pork. A good staple place with reasonable portions and a busy atmosphere. Be sure to make reservations for the weekends! 

Boulted Bread

Car parked out the front of a store, a bakery called Boulted Bread in Raleigh

If you’re looking for Raleigh bakeries and more of a grab-and-go breakfast rather than dining in, Boulted Bread is that chic, local neighborhood bakery you might be craving that features pastries and artisan bread made with local and organic grains.

As one of the most popular Raleigh bakeries with the locals, they serve craft bread and pastries ranging from their popular flaky croissants, to sweet fruit-filled tarts, and savory breakfast quiches and morning buns.

cropped-boulted-bread-bakeries-in-raleigh-1.jpg
Morning buns

Pop in and grab something to go then head to one of our favorite neighborhoods in Raleigh, the Warehouse District for a coffee at Heirloom Brewshop, or Black & White Coffee. 

Fount Coffee + Kitchen

People working on laptop computers while sitting inside a cafe

If you’re looking for the best gluten-free breakfast in Raleigh with great coffee and find yourself in the Morrisville area of Wake County, it’s hard to beat Fount Coffee + Kitchen, a specialty coffee bar and 100% gluten free cafe with delicious food and coffee. 

Avocado on toast and a cup of coffee
Avocado + Egg on GF toast

A latte paired with their coffee cake is one of my favorite mouth-watering pairings in Raleigh. For something a little less sweet and more substantial, their smashed avo on toast will satisfy. Also have smoothie bowls and other stacks served on a slice of toasted GF Simple Kneads Sourdough Bread.

Benchwarmers Bagels

People waiting to order at a cafe

Another of the most popular bagel shops in Raleigh is Benchwarmers Bagels, located inside the equally popular Transfer Co. Food Hall. Benchwarmers use a wood-fired oven, heirloom grains, extended fermentation, and fresh-milled, pre-fermented 100% organic flour to make their modern bagels.

They have 6 styles of bagels including the usual classics and some unique cream cheese spreads including pimento cheese, Maitre d’hotel (herby + lemon), Carolina reaper (spicey), pecan butterscotch, and a cashew (vegan). 

Egg, Bacon & Cheese Bagel

Their bagels don’t contain any dairy or egg, and if you’re looking for a tasty bagel and coffee option don’t sleep on this spot for breakfast in Raleigh – one of the founder’s is the owner of Jubala Coffee, so good coffee here too!

Idle Hour Coffee

People sitting on table and chairs out the front of a coffee shop - Idle Hour Coffee Shop, Raleigh

If the idea of donuts and coffee appeals to your morning taste buds, then Idle Hour Coffee shop serves up the popular Tepuy Donuts and an excellent range of coffee options. 

Located on Oberlin Road in a lovely neighborhood spot not far from Five Points and the Village District. This boutique coffee house also has a small cafe menu with pastries, paninis, sandwiches, bagels and baked goods. 

Donuts in a coffee shop - Idle Hour Coffee Shop, Raleigh

Comfy inside seating consists of cozy couches and booths, and outside are a few tables and chairs for when the weather is nice. Read our full review of Idle Hour Coffee

Iris Coffee Lab & Cafe

Open bagel in a persons hands
Hotshot Bagel by Iris Coffee Lab

For those in the Glenwood South District area, Iris Coffee Lab & Cafe has got you covered. Whilst there are no shortage of bars and dinner spots in this area of downtown Raleigh, there was a definite lack of local coffee shops until Iris opened their doors during the pandemic. 

Upon entering you’ll notice how modern, clean and cool the space is, coupled with personable staff and a relaxed vibe to sit for a while and enjoy a lovely coffee and bagel, or pull out your laptop and work online over breakfast.

They have a rotating menu that changes daily, for example at time of publishing bagels are a feature, with their Hotshot Bagel an all time best seller: egg, cheese, bacon, chive cream cheese, and hot honey from NY. In the past we’ve had smashed avo on toast and donuts. Super cute place that is continuing to evolve!

Other Raleigh breakfast spots

Below are more breakfast restaurants in Raleigh we have yet to try personally but are on our hit list for the near future:

  • Herons at Umstead Hotel
  • Sola Coffee
  • La Farm Bakery
  • Rise Biscuits
  • Relish
  • Flying Biscuit Cafe
  • First Watch

Now it’s your turn. Please share with us who you think makes the best breakfast in Raleigh in the comments section down below? And be sure to ask any questions you may have! 

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