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There’s a reason people line up and wait for hours to eat at Charleston’s quintessential breakfast joint. The food is an elevated version of your typical southern diner -- full of grits, pancakes, and perfectly poached eggs -- but the true shining star of the menu is the Charleston Nasty biscuit: a fried chicken biscuit with cheddar cheese and homemade sausage gravy. It absolutely lives up to the hype... just make sure you pencil in some time for a nap afterward.
Probably the most Instagrammable restaurant in all of Charleston, Park Cafe has a whimsical charm about it, with a bright and airy atmosphere that is sure to elevate your breakfast experience. The food’s simple, but also different from your typical breakfast fare: we’re talking things like The Veggie Mess (a farm egg scramble with vegetable curry, white Cheddar, and avocado), and a truly beautiful heirloom tomato toast with ricotta and saba.
To justify making the drive all the way out to Johns Island for breakfast, you better bet the food is worth it. This solid little spot doesn’t look like much from the outside (on a corner of a small strip mall at an intersection, across from a McDonald’s), but inside, the food is anything but ordinary. Everything is fresh and sourced from local farms wherever possible, and the menu is diverse enough to please both local and tourist palates alike. Try the grits bowl, which combines pretty much everything you love about breakfast (scrambled egg, sausage, bacon, ham, cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes, grits, and toast) into one tasty bowl.
Lost Dog Cafe is one of the only restaurants on Folly Beach that attracts both tourists and locals to its tables. Its simple and delicious menu items (order the biscuits and gravy -- trust us on this) are packed full of flavor and cooked in a way that even the heaviest of breakfast foods won’t weigh you down. Pro tip: If you stop by on a Saturday or Sunday morning, be prepared to wait at least an hour.
Myth Cafe is a bit of an enigma. Although primarily marketed as a “Turkish Cafe,” the menu’s kind of all over the place with its offerings. But, unlike many other restaurants that combine multiple international flavors in one menu, Myth Cafe succeeds at making each of its options delicious. So whether you’re in the mood for a slice of quiche, a breakfast quesadilla, Smyrna bread, pastries, or a cup of Turkish coffee, rest assured that your breakfast will be tasty and memorable.
King Street Historic District
Virginia’s takes a lot of pride in featuring local and sustainable ingredients in all of its dishes, and the menu makes you feel as if you’re dining at your grandmother’s kitchen table. Dishes like the country ham & eggs (two eggs any style, griddled country ham, brown gravy) or the fried steak, egg & cheese biscuit (fried steak, local cheese curds from Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse, white onion gravy, sunny-side-up farm egg) are about as authentically Southern as they come, and are available Monday through Friday from 7-11 am.
It seems that regardless of time of day or day of the week, the parking lot at Early Bird Diner is always full -- this is because EBD’s food is always made from scratch, and full of savory and sweet breakfast dishes to satisfy whatever strikes your fancy. The place is probably best known for its chicken & waffles (pecan-crusted fried chicken and cinnamon waffles drizzled with honey mustard sauce and maple syrup), and for good reason: the chicken is fried perfectly, and the combination of sweet and savory in every aspect of this dish makes it one you won’t soon forget.
The owners of The Junction saw that Park Circle was in desperate need for a solid breakfast option, so they created just that: a place where the food is delicious, and you can get your favorite breakfast meals at pretty much any time of the day from Tuesday through Sunday. The menu is creative and fun, with options like the buzzed donut (coffee-rubbed bacon and over-easy egg on a biscuit donut with a coffee dip and shredded hash browns) and the Not Yo Mamacita’s Burrito (scrambled eggs, Swiss, coffee-rubbed bacon, sweet potato chips, and white balsamic drizzle) showcasing just how refreshingly different breakfast can be. In case you couldn’t tell, we’re obsessed with coffee-rubbed bacon now.
CaféFramboise is a cute little French spot on Market Street, owned by husband-and-wife duo Dominique and Florence Chantepie. The breakfast menu is inspired by the many bistros and pâtisseries in Paris, and offers a number of authentic French options. That means things like fresh-baked croissant sandwiches, buckwheat crepes made-to-order, French toast made from fresh egg bread, savory quiches, and a number of fresh-from-the-oven pastries. Très bien!
This sandwich shop is one of Charleston’s newest additions to its breakfast lineup, and although it’s most known for making magic between two slices of bread, the omelets are also something of a wonder. Using simple-yet-harmonious blends of fresh ingredients in each of its four mainstay menu omelets, Hen and The Goat will change the way you think about eggs (even if you’ve never actually stopped to think about eggs before). If you prefer something a little more carb-heavy, we recommend the Frenchie: a challah French toast sandwich stuffed with peanut butter and topped with berries, mint, and bacon maple syrup.
King Street Historic District and Market Street
When it comes to Southern-style biscuits, Callie pretty much has the game on lock. Her factory in North Charleston produces mixes and the take-and-bake variety found around town and at retailers around the country, but if you’re hungry for breakfast like, now, you’ll want to head to one of her two Hot Little Biscuit shops downtown. The biscuits themselves might be small, but they’re flavor bombs, and the HLB menu changes regularly, meaning you can come back a couple times a month and enjoy something totally new and different. Our favorite? The sausage, egg, and pimento cheese biscuit sandwich. Best of all: Callie’s is open late, and you can order ahead on the handy app for whenever a biscuit craving strikes.
James Island and West Ashley
Bagel Nation has cured thousands of hangovers and fed many a hungry businessman (probably both at the same time) since its initial establishment on Folly Road over 15 years ago. The bulk of the menu comes from the signature namesake bagels, with over 27 different varieties to choose from, but you’ll also find bagel sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and hash browns so good that they give Waffle House a run for its money.