Best Breakfast and Brunch Spots in Baltimore
Start your busy day in Baltimore with a hearty meal from one of these local favorites.
Baltimore might be best known for its crab cakes, but our brunches are just as good. Sometimes, we even combine the two! Tempt your appetite with our round up of tasty options for breakfast or brunch, from grab-and-go bites to sit-down dining.
The Avenue Bakery
For those with a serious sweet tooth, The Avenue Bakery is the perfect place to start the day. Its name refers to its home on the historic Pennsylvania Avenue, the heart of Baltimore’s African American community. While treating yourself to a famous Poppay roll, feast your eyes on the wall-to-wall photographs of iconic Baltimore landmarks and figures like Billie Holiday, Thurgood Marshall and the Royal Theater.
Blue Moon Café
Known for playful dishes like its Captain Crunch French toast, Blue Moon is a local favorite, so be sure to come early to beat the crowd (no reservations allowed). Don’t let the colorful murals or funky artwork distract you, though. This celestial cafe has some of the best diner food Charm City has to offer.
If you’re looking for something quick and easy, this Korean-inspired cafe is a great place for a quick bite. Dooby’s offers standards such as breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, but the house-made pastries are where the café really shines (Fruity Pebble marshmallow cookie, anyone?). And don’t forget to get your caffeine fix here—espresso, cappuccino, macchiato—Dooby’s takes their coffee seriously.
This unassuming eatery serves up some seriously delicious bites (hello, sticky peach buns!), but owners Cole and Aisha Pew consider it to be more of a community gathering spot than a restaurant. So even if you come for the coffee at Dovecote Cafe, linger awhile to meet the regulars from the surrounding Reservoir Hill neighborhood.
The Food Market
Brunch at The Food Market is the perfect time to try out a new cocktail, like a Bloody Mary with jalapeño-infused vodka or a pancake shot. The menu gives you a generous set of delectable options from across the brunch landscape, from French toast dippers and fried oyster omelettes to shrimp and grits.
Iron Rooster has perfected the art of breakfast. You can order it any time of day at the Canton and Locust Point locations, and there is no shortage of delicious options. The fried chicken biscuit sandwich is a true southern comfort food, but save room for the house-made poptart with mixed berry filling: you’ll never eat the store-bought kind again.
Johnny’s brings a little of the West Coast to the East Coast. Think breakfast burritos and omelettes with a kick, accompanied by specialty coffees from Central and South America. And on the weekends, Johnny’s brunch takes it up a notch with a whiskey caramel sauce poured over cinnamon Belgian waffles.
From the family behind the famous H&S Bakery, once the largest privately owned bakery in the United States, comes an upscale dine-in concept. Located in Harbor East, Kneads Bakery aims to bring the Paterakis family’s craft to a new generation with a 17,000 square foot cafe, industrial bakery and dining space. It’s a place to work from home away from home, host a meeting, grab a baguette for the week or enjoy a delicious meal courtesy of some of Charm City’s top chefs. Try the JP Mac, a high-end twist on the Big Mac that is an homage to H&S founder Steve Paterakis’ son John, or something sweet like the crème brûlée French toast. In addition to coffee, Kneads also serves beer, wine and specialty cocktails.
Miss Shirley’s Café
Miss Shirley’s is a renowned, family-friendly favorite, featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. What started in 2005 as one small café has now grown to two locations in the city and one in nearby Annapolis. Check out the pancake and French toast of the month, made from seasonal flavors such as pumpkin or egg nog. If you tend toward the savory side, you won’t want to miss the Chicken ‘n Cheddar Green Onion Waffles or the eggs benedict with crab cake and fried green tomatoes. Wash it down with a Bloody Mary topped with Old Bay and crab meat.
This longtime Federal Hill favorite serves breakfast all day and is known for its over-the-top comfort foods like The Beast (buttermilk biscuits sandwich with fried chicken, fried eggs, smoked bacon, sausage gravy and cheese) and the 3B breakfast burger. Plus Spoons serves giant cups of house-roasted coffee to help revive you from the food coma that inevitably ensues.