Big Ed’s Raleigh – Classic Southern Breakfast the Locals Love!

Looking for the best Southern style breakfast in Raleigh? Look no further, this is one of the classic downtown Raleigh restaurants the locals love!

people sitting at tables in a restaurant
Big Eds Raleigh

Your experience at Big Ed’s Raleigh, who have been serving up generous portions of Southern comfort food since 1958, starts by walking up the charming cobblestone streets in historic City Market.

Then upon entering this classic Raleigh breakfast staple, you’ll discover a laid-back restaurant vibe with a collection of funky antiques hanging from the ceiling.

City Market, Raleigh, NC
Cobblestone street in City Market
Entrance to Big Ed's City Market
Entrance to Big Ed’s City Market

For locals and those that visit Raleigh, Big Ed’s Restaurant has long been one of their favorite places to eat in Raleigh, especially popular for their breakfast – think GIANT pancakes, country ham, warm service, and historical memorabilia.

a ceiling with objects hanging from it
Antiques from the ceiling

Downtown Raleigh is thriving and it’s where you’ll find a nice balance of old school Raleigh restaurants like Big Ed’s, innovative new establishments like community food halls, hopping breweries, and the best local coffee shops.

Downtown is where we always take out-of-town guests, and we like to start at Big Ed’s City Market to get a real feel for Raleigh and it’s welcoming community.

What you can expect at Big Ed’s Raleigh

a number plate

Southern hospitality and “country cookin’ at its best”. Food like what grandma used to make, in a place like grandpa would like to hang.

You’ll enjoy home cooked Southern breakfast and lunch plates in a laid-back atmosphere with a collection of antiques hanging from the old rafters and memorabilia adorning the walls – you can skip Cracker Barrel next time, this is the local Raleigh food experience you’re looking for!

a restaurant
bike hanging from the ceiling
A pepsi sign inside a store

If you enjoy taking a step-back-in-time for some good ole’ country cookin’ with a rustic, old time feel, you’ll feel right at home here.

When I think of Raleigh, Big Ed’s City Market restaurant immediately comes to mind with its old school charm, attentive service, and classic Southern dishes!

Ribeye steak & eggs + fluffy biscuit
Ribeye steak & eggs + fluffy biscuit

On the menu are breakfast, brunch and lunch items, all very hearty and reasonably priced, served up on red and white checkered tablecloths with quick service.

A group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant

The ambiance and décor make you want to linger a while, whilst the location in the heart of downtown is great if you want to walk around and explore more of Raleigh.

Big Ed's City Market

As for the service, each time we’ve dined here I’ve found the staff to be warm and personable and knowledgeable of the menu with good suggestions – ya’ll are welcome here!

Popular menu items

GIANT pancakes at Big Ed's Raleigh
GIANT pancakes

Big Ed’s Raleigh is well known for their HUGE hot cakes (pancakes) which are literally the size of dinner plates. Some of the biggest pancakes I’ve seen in my life and just perfect for our kids to share!

In fact, they have a “hot cake challenge” – if you eat it in 45-minutes or less you get a free t-shirt! 

Their local salty country ham and biscuits are to die for, I always order a serving of both. Also popular is the peach cobbler, fried catfish, sliced pork loin, fried chicken, and aged ribeye steak (I’m a steak and eggs guy).

Now, I’m not a sweet tea drinker, and just like North Carolina’s other indulgence, Cheerwine, I just can’t acquire the taste for it, sorry guys! But apparently their double-brewed sweet tea is one of the best.

But, I am a lover of coffee, and whilst the coffee is served in a classic Big Ed’s branded mug which is cool, I don’t come here for their coffee, I’d much rather save that for a specialty coffee shop nearby like 42 & Laurence, The Morning Times, or Sir Walter Coffee. See my list of 7 favorite coffee shops in downtown Raleigh.

Oh, and our kids do enjoy their hot chocolates, French toast, and Cheese toasty!

A person sitting at a table with a plate of food and hot chocolate
Hot chocolate, Cheese toasty, and French toast

HOT TIP: Considering this is one of the most popular breakfast places in Raleigh, it can fill up fast. I suggest arriving as close to opening time as possible, but even when they are busy you don’t have to wait forever!


dining tables inside a restaurant

Parking near Big Ed’s Restaurant can sometimes be a challenge, especially on the cobblestone streets within City Market.

We typically start by looking around the perimeter of Moore Square, so that’s E Martin St, S Person St, E Hargett St and S Blount streets. We’ve also found spots one block over on E Davie St.

The nearest parking deck is a 5-minute walk away at the Moore Square Parking Deck (follow that link for other parking options!

Quick Facts:


There are two other Big Ed’s locations:

I have only dined at the Big Ed’s City Market location in downtown Raleigh, and for me that’s the perfect place for a Southern family breakfast to kick off your day in the City of Oaks, but look forward to experiencing their other restaurants!

Related Post13 Raleigh breakfast restaurants the locals love

Video: Big Ed’s Southern Breakfast in Raleigh

Have you been to Big Ed’s? What is one of your favorite places to eat breakfast in Raleigh?

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