Big View Diner
Since it launched its breakfast menu in 2008, Big View's been cooking up one of the best breakfasts south of I-485. (Which might explain the wait time on a weekend morning. Tip: get there before 9.) Fluffy egg white omelets (get the Greek with spin- ach, Kalamata olives, tomato, red onion, and feta) are served alongside a house-made buttermilk biscuit ($6.99). The real showstopper: Big View's jumbo challah French toast—thick slices of Jewish egg bread delicately seasoned with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar ($6.99).
16637 Lancaster Hwy., 704-544-0313
Imagine this: sliced strawberries and whipped strawberry cream cheese atop thick slices of challah dipped in French toast batter, smothered in crushed cornflakes, fried to perfection, and drizzled with warm maple syrup ($10). Heaven, right? And so is the Southern Eggs Benedict — a poached egg atop a buttermilk biscuit and country ham covered with savory fire-roasted pepper hollandaise ($11). Pair those with the creamy house-made cheese grits and a cup of Illy coffee, and you've just indulged in a breakfast from the food gods.
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. (inside Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge), 704-248-4100
Fluffy make-your-own omelets with ingredients like Black Forest ham, onions, and American cheese ($6 to $9)? Creamy fresh fruit smoothies ($3.29)? Check. Salmon eggs Benedict ($10.99)? Gooey cinnamon buns ($3.69)? Check. Check. At Le Peep, the menu is varied and delectable and the coffee, bacon, and grits on point. Come early on a Sunday morning before church gets out -— this place gets packed on weekends.
The Arboretum, 8140-100 Providence Rd., 704-540-0470
Every year, this city loses a few more "meat-and-threes," (Southern for diner), but Tryon House endures, with good reason. It's popular with politicians and regular citizens and all in between for its friendly service and solid classic breakfast items.
215 E. Exmore St. (near Old Pineville and Woodlawn roads), 704-527-6545
Want to wait out the Sunday-afternoon church crowd? City Tavern serves brunch until four. The menu is packed with comfort breakfast fare like steak and eggs ($14) and breakfast burritos ($7). But when it comes to brunch at this neighborhood spot, the lunch side of the menu tends to steal the show with entrées like the Cajun grilled salmon ($15) and the rich overstuffed filet mignon sandwich ($9).
7828 Rea Rd., 704-543-8587
Main Street Grill
Delicious coffee, feta and tomato omelets, crispy bacon, friendly staff, and a cozy outdoor patio with a great view of historic downtown Waxhaw — if you haven't stopped for breakfast at this tiny spot on Main Street, you should. Ask for a to-go cup of the excellent coffee.
201 W. South Main St., 704-243-4224
The Charlotte outposts for this Atlanta- based eatery are packed seven days a week. For good reason: it's not your average pancakes-and-eggs here. You'll find orange-scented French toast ($6.79), thick whole wheat bread topped with raspberry sauce and honey crème anglaise, beside the Hollywood Omelet ($9.99)—egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, and white cheddar cheese topped with a warm tomato coulis. And the buttermilk and wheat biscuits served with a side of cranberry apple butter … so good you'll want to order a dozen to take home with you.
Stonecrest, 7930-A Rea Rd., 704-295-4440; Park Road Shopping Center, 4241 Park Rd., 704-714-3400