Guide to Breakfast & Brunch Spots in Cary
Cary, NC — Do you like to eat a quality breakfast out? This area has many great restaurants that offer everything from a fancy latte and croissant to eggs any way and all-you-can-eat pancakes. We put this list together so you can plan where to catch your next morning feast.
The Best Places for “Breakfast Out”
We moved to Cary from New Jersey over 17 years ago. In New Jersey, on Sunday mornings, you head out with the Times to a local diner for a huge plate of eggs or pancakes accompanied by a bottomless cup of coffee. Seventeen years ago, this area did not offer much in the way of the breakfast we craved. Boy, have times changed!
Not only does Cary have its own Gypsy’s Shiny Diner (which, by the way, is nothing like those we remember in New Jersey), but we have a French bakery and a breakfast spot specializing in the tastes of New Orleans (beignets anyone?). Here’s the CaryCitizen Guide to Breakfast in Cary.
La Farm Bakery, 4248 NW Cary Pkwy, 919-657-0657
The absolute crustiest bread and flakiest croissants in Cary are baked under the watchful eye of Master Baker Lionel Vatinet, winner of the James Beard Award. The La Farm atmosphere alone is worth the wait, which is sometimes encountered on a busy Sunday. La Farm has cooked eggs as well as hot sandwiches, quiches and french toast and coffee from roaster Counter Culture.
Fresca Gelato and Cafe, 302 Colonades Way Suite #109 (in Waverly Place), 919-851-8171
This little gem is hidden in the walkway of Waverly Place. Fresca does a bang-up job all day serving delicious cappuccinos and lattes, but their breakfasts are also very good. The menu includes Croque Monsieur and Madame, waffles, crepes and quiche.
Cafe Carolina & Bakery, 137 Weston Pkwy (in The Arboretum), 919-678-8855
Cafe Carolina is one of the original “fast casual” dining experiences in Cary. They serve baked goods like muffins, breads, cupcakes and pastries as well as cooked breakfasts like cinnamon raisin french toast, sweet potato biscuits and my favorite, Huevos Wrapcheros.
Daily Grind, 2000 Boulderstone Way (in Stone Creek), 919-388-3783
Formerly the It’s A Grind franchise, Daily Grind’s owner recently went out on his own and expanded the menu to include crepes and cromlettes in addition to baked goods and specialty coffee drinks. Everything is made fresh in-house, and the coffee is delicious.
Chanticleer Cafe & Bakery, 6490 Tryon Road (in Wellington Park), 919-781-4810
Chanticleer recently opened, is locally owned and serves breakfast and lunch. Patrons head to the counter to order and then pick up their meal when it’s ready. All bakery items are made fresh daily on-site. Breakfast items are mainly variations of egg sandwiches on toast, muffins or croissants. The day we went, the counter service was a little slow, but they had only been open a few days. I’m ready to go back for a fresh baked croissant.
Peppers Market and Sandwich Shop, 2107 Grace Park Drive in Morrisville, 919-380-7002
Peppers is mostly known for their awesome lunch offering, but this “mom and pop” place makes a great breakfast, too. My favorite is the breakfast burritos, which can come in spinach tortillas. Peppers has excellent coffee, and their prices won’t break the bank.
Another Broken Egg, 1121 Market Center Drive (in Park West Village), 919-465-1079
Every time I visit, I simply have to have the beignets. These fried dough balls are indigenous to New Orleans where this franchise was born. They are served up with powdered sugar and a ramekins of orange marmalade on the side. Delish!
Toast Cafe (soon-to-be Famous Toastery of Cary), 316 Colonades Way #201c, 919-655-1971
Toast makes everything fresh and has excellent wait staff.
During your visit you may be helped by owner Dean Kessel or about a dozen others taking your drink order or bringing you their homemade cornbread. Toast has eggs every which way and plenty of Benedict and quiche options, too, along with waffles, pancakes and plenty of gluten-free items. They even have a bar in case you must have a mimosa or Bloody Mary.
Brigs – two locations in Cary
1225 NW Maynard Road (in Maynard Crossing, 919-481-9300
1040 Tryon Village Drive (in Tryon Village), 919-859-2151
Brigs is locally-owned, super-casual and serves breakfast all day and egg scrambles to die for. Service is fast and efficient, prices are good and we have never been disappointed. The big egg plates of our diner memories live on!
IHOP, 1301 Kildaire Farm Road, 919-469-1835
Standard IHOP fare like Belgian waffles, stacks of pancakes, flavored syrups, omelettes and eggs any way. IHOP serves breakfast all day and has lunch and dinner items, too.
Belle at the Jones House, 324 S. Academy Street (in Downtown Cary), 919-378-9724
My favorite? The maple sausage scones. Owner Tammy knows her way around a flaky savory scone, and these are a must-try. Servings here are a little smaller than some of Cary’s more family-friendly restaurants, but the experience of being in this restored historic house is a great treat. The coffee and service are wonderful, and Belle also serves a special Sunday brunch.
Gypsy’s Shiny Diner, 1550 Buck Jones Rd (near South Hills), 919-469-3663
Cary’s original diner since 1997 has all the bright decor of a 1950’s movie land set complete with a 1950’s jukebox spinning 45’s. They don’t have the portion sizes we remember from New Jersey’s Greek diners, but the experience is wonderful none-the-less with the standard fare of breakfast all day including pancakes, waffles, french toast and eggs just about any way you like ’em. And, there’s that bottomless pot of regular old coffee – plain and simple.
Perkins, 908 US-64 (in Apex), 919-462-8805
Though it’s technically in Apex, we had to include this family-friendly place where most plate-sized breakfasts also come with a side of a gut-busting fresh-baked muffins. We often ate here when our youngest was a toddle because she could eat that muffin, and it saved us from ordering separately for her picky palate. Perkins serves breakfast all day. When you order coffee, you get your own pot with a pitcher of half & half.
NY Bagels and Deli, 2050 Kildaire Farm Road (in Crescent Commons), 919-851-9050
As one reviewer puts it, “These folks are the real deal from rough and tumble New York City!” You order, they cook it, they ring it up and then you get your order all in about two minutes – just the way I like it! This deli has 24 varieties of the best bagels you can get in the Cary area.
They have a nice, chewy crust and plump and legitimate flavors like pumpernickel, everything, garlic, onion. They even have bialys, and, if you don’t know what that is, go order one and learn! They can make you an egg and cheese bagel, and, of course, lox and cream cheese, too. They also have donuts and all the standard NYC deli-baked goods including elephant ears and black & white cookies.
Doherty’s Irish Pub, 1979 High House Road, 919-388-9930
While Doherty’s is mostly known for their great pub fare, they do a Bloody Mary bar for Sunday Brunch that people are crazy about. Brunch runs 9 am-noon with the bar open noon-4 pm. Their full-service menu includes the Traditional Irish Breakfast, “the real deal,” featuring bangers, rashers, eggs, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomato, potato hash, brown bread and Irish baked beans. They boast that egg white and turkey sausage can be substituted for healthier options. There’s also corned beef hash, omelettes and pancakes for the less adventurous.
Academy Street Bistro, 200 S Academy St (in Ashworth Village), 919-377-0509
Chef Brian hails from New York culinary training, and the menu reflects a decidedly more upscale taste. Two eggs Benedict options include lump crab meat or smoked salmon. His twist on french toast uses french baguettes. Most menu items feature ingredients purchased locally and from the Cary Downtown Farmers Market.
Did We Miss a Cary Favorite?
We tried to catch everyone, but, if we missed your favorites, please let us know! Breakfast is the cheapest meal you can eat out as a family, and we are always looking for someplace new. We did not include any fast food chains, as we figure you know all those already.
Story by Lindsey Chester. Photos from CaryCitizen files.
CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Toast Cafe of Cary in Waverly Place and by Cafe Carolina and Bakery in the Arboretum.
You missed our very favorite breakfast spot.
Barry’s Cafe in Swift Creek Shopping Center! Fabulous blueberry pancakes and grits that do not taste like water. It is such a cool place honoring firefighters everywhere.
YES! I will argue (with data to back me up) that Barry’s has the best pancakes in the Triangle. Everything else is delicious too, the people there are wonderful, and everyone loves fire trucks.
Hey Thanks Boostie
Thanks for the heads up- Technically Barry’s is in Raleigh – but having them in the comments will alert other readers to their location! We like them too!
You don’t know Cary breakfast if you don’t list Barry’s Cafe! Great for families. Well priced menu- and everything is delicious. I believe they still give free fresh baked cookies after your meal. All my Jersey family actually goes here every time they’re in town!
Sadly, Manhattan Cafe closed earlier this summer. Any word if someone will open a bagel shop in this location?
i can’t believe you left off Umstead/Heron’s and Lucky 32, two of the best brunches in the Triangle!
Rise opens this weekend and instantly becomes a contender for best breakfast spot. And yes, NYBD have hands-down the best Bagels around. This from another New Yorker.
Another Broken Egg and Toast are mediocre especially for the price. You can go cheaper (Rise/NYBD/La Farm) or a little more expensive (Heron’s, Lucky 32) and get MUCH greater quality food.
If I had to give my top 5 it would be:
2. Lucky 32
3. La Farm (almost lowered it as service can be inconsistent -too busy for their own good sometimes).
5. NYBD (nearly a tie with Rise)
I haven’t been myself yet, but have heard Dean’s has a great brunch buffet.
God, I forgot Dean’s! Yes, great brunch. You guys threw an airball on this list!!! 🙂
FYI: Dean’s has also been offering $20 vouchers for Sunday brunch for $10 through livingsocial.com.
My favorite Yogi Berra quote applies to La Farm: nobody goes there anymore. They’re too crowded.
Hankering for a freshly prepared warm donut? Duck Donuts, 100 Wrenn Drive, is pretty amazing. The original shop started in Duck, NC but Cary is fortunate to have the best little baby sister ever! And, just an FYI, there are 2 Daily Grind restaurants in the area.
Lucky 32, Sunday Brunch outside on the terrace with a home made spicy Voodoo Bloody Mary, Shrimp & Grits and cornbread!
Chanticleer Cafe & Bakery recently opened in Wellington Place on Tryon. Wonderful house-made pastries, great coffee, and gluten-free options. Wide wrap-around porch for outdoor dining.
Dean’s Seafood Grill & Bar has an amazing Sunday brunch buffet! Not many places you can get fresh seafood, oysters and peel & eat shrimp for brunch along with breakfast favorites!