New England

Wake Up, Dig In | Best Breakfasts

We hit a favorite breakfast spot in each New England state to discover a surefire dish you can order there — or whip up at home.

By Bridget Samburg

Apr 12 2018


Owner Mary Alice Proffitt bustles behind the counter at Down Home Kitchen—a popular Montpelier, Vermont, eatery and one of our top breakfast picks in New England.

Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
Owner Mary Alice Proffitt bustles behind the counter at Down Home Kitchen — a popular Montpelier, Vermont, eatery and one of our top breakfast picks.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Roasted Root Veggie Hash

Down Home Kitchen, Montpelier, VTMary Alice Proffittlikes to buy the uglier vegetables at local farms — those lumpy carrots and funny-shaped peppers that are often overlooked at market stands. “Once they’re cut up, you can’t tell the difference,” she says. Many of those less-than-comely veggies go into the roasted root hash that’s become a hit at Proffitt’s Down Home Kitchen (and that we’ve adapted here). The hash started as a special, but customers loved it so much it fast became a staple. Each bite is earthy and delicious, with a subtle sweetness from the roasted carrots. The egg on top adds a comforting creaminess.


Common Good Soup Kitchen, Southwest Harbor, ME
Popovers from Common Good Soup Kitchen
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming/Styling by Jen Beauchesne

Popovers are thesummer specialty at the nonprofit Common Good Soup Kitchen, where an all-volunteer staff bakes 400 to 500 every day. Hot and golden, with a perfect crunch on the outside, they’re airy and tender on the inside — and even better with a dollop of house-made blueberry or strawberry jam. In the warmer months (popovers are served mid-June through Columbus Day weekend), locals and summer people all convene on the sunny patio, which often features live music. In the winter, the café operates as a community soup kitchen. There are no prices here; customers are invited to donate whatever they feel is appropriate.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Arethusa A Mano, Bantam, CT

Litchfield County’s Arethusa Farm has earned raves, including a Yankee Editors’ Choice Food Award, for its farmstead cheeses and ice creams, but it’s also home to two eateries: a café called A Mano and the farm-to-table restaurant Al Tavolo. The former is a charming and bustling spot that showcases handmade pastries served with Stumptown coffee and creamy Arethusa milk (plain, chocolate, and coffee, all from just across the street). So when chef James Arena was looking for ways to incorporate the farm’s sour cream into the café menu, it wasn’t a big leap to coffee cake. At A Mano it comes with seasonal pairings, such as peaches in summer and apples and pecans in fall, but this unusually moist cake with crunchy streusel is also perfect on its own.

Lou’s Granola

Lou’s Bakery & Restaurant, Hanover, NH

Lou’s Granola
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming/Styling by Jen Beauchesne

Served in a big bowl with milk, Lou’s granola is so beloved that the restaurant sells one-pound bags in its adjoining store as well as ships it all over the country. “It’s been the same formula forever,” says owner Toby Fried. Though he admits that “we’ve been tempted to gourmet it up,” thankfully no one has tinkered with the ingredients. As it is, it’s perfect. The honey-based recipe gets a boost of flavor from the many add-ins, especially the shredded coconut and sesame seeds. The resulting texture has just the right balance of crunch and chew, while the flavor is sweet, nutty, and, frankly, addictive.

Blueberry Pancakes with Cardamom Sugar

Centre Street Café, Jamaica Plain, MAPancakes are a mainstay at Centre Street Café, Jamaica Plain’s go-to brunch spot. The traditional ones, served with butter and maple syrup, are always available, but opt for the café’s rotating menu of “Pancakes Del Giorno.” Co-owner David Doyle says the kitchen likes to get eclectic, so one day it might be chocolate chip pancakes with caramel butter, and the next, lemon poppy seed. We’re partial to blueberry with cardamom sugar: light and moist, rich with plump berries, and finished with a hint of fragrant cardamom.

Rosemary Biscuit Benny

The Beehive Café, Bristol, RI
Rosemary Biscuit Eggs Benedict from The Beehive Café
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming/Styling by Jen Beauchesne
The Beehive Café owner Jennifer Cavallaro first perfected her rosemary biscuits at the restaurant’s sister bakery, the Beehive Pantry. Tender and aromatic, the flaky rounds are the foundation for Cavallaro’s fresh take on eggs Benedict, in which she replaces the traditional hollandaise with simple cheese sauce (ham is optional) and adds peppery arugula and seared tomatoes on the side. Enjoy this dish in the cozy dining room, or head up to the second-floor deck, with its view of Bristol Harbor. Or just make it at home.