Photo by Nicole Wolf at Palace Diner

Breakfast in Maine

“Don’t you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?”

Your parents and doctor were right: breakfast is a can’t-miss meal. Breakfast offers health benefits, but more importantly, Maine breakfasts are varied and delicious. Thanks to an influx of culinary techniques and new combinations of flavors, we are no longer beholden to scrambled eggs and coffee. Breakfast in Maine now ranges from eggs benedict to doughnuts and fried chicken. At Maine magazine, we are big believers in dining out for the first meal of the day. Since it’s tough to make decisions in the morning, we went ahead and made them for you. Here are eight of our favorite spots for breakfast in Maine. You rise, they shine. Set your alarm and start your day at one of these top Maine breakfast places.

Palace Diner | Biddeford
Owners Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley are serving up real diner food that’s upgraded and irresistible. Blanched in seasoned water, then smashed and fried, the Palace potatoes are a carb lover’s dream. They come as a side with the Deluxe Sandwich, a sandwich-sized English muffin cooked on a griddle and stuffed with fluffy baked eggs, cheddar cheese, bacon, pickled jalapeños, and a smear of mayo. Palace Diner is synonymous with delicious breakfast in Maine.

Woodford Food & Beverage | Portland
Situated at one of Portland’s busiest intersections, the chefs at Woodford F&B cook a wicked Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Since breakfast is only offered once a week, a table at Woodford is highly coveted, but once you’re there, generous natural lighting gives the space an unhurried, peaceful feel. Woodford’s prix fixe option includes one entrée, one cocktail, and bottomless coffee. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a social brunch with the ladies or a big family breakfast.

Lil’s Cafe | Kittery
Michael Landgarten, owner of Lil’s, has a sweet tooth, so it’s not surprising that customers come from near and far for a slice of the cafe’s heavenly cruller. Each puffy, fluted circle gets a quick dip in glaze before it reaches your hands and, ultimately, your stomach. This rich and delicious pastry is only made more satisfying when paired with a hot cup of joe, and at Lil’s, the coffee is brewed with local beans from Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland. Driving up to Vacationland from the south? Kick off your stay at this quaint Maine breakfast joint.

A1 Diner | Gardiner
This classic 1946 Worcester dining-car-turned-diner gained national recognition when it appeared on Guy Fieri’s TV show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” We love it for its family history and fresh, local food. Although it originally opened in the 1940s, owners Michael Giberson and Neil Andersen celebrate 29 years with the diner this month. Under Gibersen and Andersen, A1 has found the sweet spot between diner classics and interesting, contemporary dishes.

The Purple House | North Yarmouth
James Beard-nominated chef Krista Kern Desjarlais opened the aptly name Purple House at the end of 2016, and immediately a line of people formed who have long awaited her wood-fired, Montreal-style bagels. Unique flavors include sea salt-rosemary and za’atar spice, best enjoyed with house-smoked salmon or Pineland Farm cheddar atop a maple-poached egg. Inside, the Purple House has limited seating, with only about 10-12 seats. Our best advice? Stay in line; it’s worth the wait.

Krista’s Restaurant | Cornish
Krista’s is an integral part of the Cornish community. At its tables you’ll find regulars from many walks of life who all agree that they’ll never leave hungry. For those of you who, like us, feel that home fries are a key Maine breakfast food group, Krista’s is for you. A whole section of their menu is dedicated to an array of home fries, including their smasher cakes, which are, as the menu reads, “not quite home fries but you’ll like ‘em.” Breakfast bonus: their full bar includes Bloody Mary’s.

Dysart’s Restaurant and Truck Stop | Hermon & Bangor
Dysart’s is a family-founded Bangor area institution that has been serving truckers for decades. It is as quintessentially Maine as you can get. The servers are sassy with a smile, and the breakfast will satisfy that greasy breakfast craving you can’t seem to quench. With a flaky crust and pulled chicken, the chicken pot pie is the perfect meal for those in need of a heavy breakfast.

Auntie M’s Family Restaurant | Greenville
Although the flavors are more classic than revolutionary, Auntie M’s traditional, home-style breakfast is more than satisfying, and the restaurant is loaded with Greenville locals that can help tourists navigate the vast Moosehead Lake region. If you can’t decided what to order, just ask for “everything but the kitchen sink.” Auntie M’s does not accept credit cards, so make sure to bring cash.