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12 Must-Try Spots for the Best Breakfast in Chapel Hill, NC

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Are you a foodie looking for the best breakfast spots in Chapel Hill? Then you’ve come to the right place! Chapel Hill is a beautiful town in North Carolina that is known for its delicious food, friendly locals, and vibrant atmosphere. 

Whether you’re a student, a local resident, or a visitor, one thing is for sure: you need to start your day with a hearty breakfast!

As a lover of breakfast food myself, I have searched high and low for the best breakfast restaurants in Chapel Hill. From classic diners to trendy cafes, this town has an abundance of options that are sure to satisfy your cravings. 

In this article, we will explore some of the most popular breakfast spots in Chapel Hill that offer a wide variety of breakfast dishes that will make your mouth water.

So, whether you’re in the mood for fluffy pancakes, savory omelets, or something in between, we’ve got you covered. 

Join me on this journey as we explore the best breakfast in Chapel Hill that is guaranteed to improve your mornings. 

Get ready to taste some delicious food and experience the warm hospitality that Chapel Hill is known for. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Visiting Chapel Hill? Check out our other guides:

My Top 3 Picks of the Best Breakfast in Chapel Hill

Restaurant Top PickOur Rating
The Root Cellar Cafe & Cateringbowl of grits5/5
Crossroads Chapel Hill
breakfast buffet5/5
Merritt’s Grillbreakfast sandwiches4.5/5

The Best Breakfast in Chapel Hill

The Root Cellar Cafe & Catering

750 M.L.K. Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, the United States // +19199673663

This diner with terrace seating has been serving creative power bowls, omelets, and other staples, as well as hot and cold beverages, since 1998.

The restaurant is the ideal setting for a special family breakfast in Chapel Hill.

Any kid will go crazy for those special early-morning plates, which include anything from mac and cheese to peanut butter and strawberry sandwiches.

And you’ll get your fill of beautiful flavors with those massive sweet and savory platters that will provide you with the energy you need to go through the day.

I got a unique version of a bowl of grits that was massive and delicious, so you definitely get your money’s worth here.

Best Breakfast in Chapel Hill: The Root Cellar Cafe & Catering Bowl of Grits

They also have monthly special coffee drinks and smoothies that are always delicious!

The food was delicious, and the chef here is a culinary genius! I highly recommend paying a visit for your breakfast in Chapel Hill.

Carolina Coffee Shop

138 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, United States // +19199426875

With their wonderful pancakes, egg dishes, and other favorites, plus coffee or tea, this downtown Chapel Hill cafe with a rustic-modern ambiance is one of the greatest locations to eat breakfast in the city.

The restaurant expertly blends old and new elements to create a scene that will excite your visual senses the moment you step inside.

The room’s walls are red bricks, the floor is wooden, and the tables and chairs are wooden, with chic lamps hanging from the ceiling at the end. It’s an incredible view, for sure.

This place is fantastic! The environment is excellent, as are the employees.

You can try a wide range of foods, beverages, and coffees. I had the chicken and waffles and the shrimp and grits, both of which I highly suggest trying.

Carolina Coffee Shop Chicken and Waffles

I also ordered a strawberry mocha. It was really sweet, but it also had the tartness of a strawberry. Superb execution.

I’m not sure how it is when it is bustling, but I know it is very nice when it isn’t. They also have a good selection of music.

There is more to this place than just coffee – they have a full menu that includes breakfast, burgers, and steak.


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261 S. Elliott Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, United States // +19199677110

This family-owned diner with a rustic ambiance is one of the greatest breakfast restaurants in Chapel Hill, serving pancakes and other American staples for breakfast, as well as lunch and supper alternatives.

Excite your visual sense in this restaurant for an excellent morning start.

While you dine, your attention will be drawn to the stunning red-brick and yellow walls adorned with wonderful paintings.

Your visual experience will be one you remember, thanks to the blue booths and wooden seats that lend a modern and rustic atmosphere.

Breadmen’s Bowl of Cheese Grits

I was immensely pleased with the presentation of the food along with the price. I could do nothing to stop myself from eating their whole massive omelet. 

I also ordered a small bowl of fancy cheese grits. My breakfast was delicious, reasonably priced, and filling.

The restaurant’s ambiance was fantastic, from the sports art on the walls to the building’s history. Our breakfast was highly affordable. Definitely a must-visit place!

Crossroads Chapel Hill

211 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516, United States // +19199182777

This place offers modern twists on Southern fare served all day in an elegant, historic inn on the UNC campus.

The architecture and decor are beautiful and instantly provide a calm, reinforced by the terrific and prompt service. 

Everything was bright and open, and the staff was very welcoming and made one look forward to sitting and enjoying a good meal.

We opted for the breakfast buffet, and it was everything we could have wished for without being overly elaborate or overstuffed. I was impressed with how immaculately the steaming trays were kept and how fresh and full they were.

Crossroads Chapel Hill Breakfast

The food was well-prepared, with crisp bacon and sausage but soft and fluffy biscuits. There were also many fresh sliced fruits, granola, yogurt, oatmeal, and more!

The coffee was frequently and silently refilled. There was no hustle and bustle, simply a place to unwind and enjoy one other’s company. It’s really worth a visit!

Sutton’s Drug Store

159 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, United States // +19199425161

This diner is one of two Sutton’s Drug Store locations in North Carolina, serving delicious early-morning meals like sandwiches, biscuits, and more in a relaxed setting.

You’ll enjoy a unique visual experience here, which draws your attention as soon as you walk in.

Consider a plethora of jerseys, emblems, signs, and photographs of people lined up on those perfect walls and hanging from the ceiling. It’s a sight to behold!

I love their sausage biscuits because they add a touch of spice to the sausage, giving it a “pow” kind of flavor – not spicy, just excellent. The biscuits are enormous, delicious, and fluffy.

Sutton's Drug Store Sausage Biscuits

I also ordered bacon on the side and requested that it be cooked soft rather than crispy – the manager personally fulfilled the specific request. My friend really enjoyed the eggs.

In my opinion, the sweet tea at Sutton’s makes the establishment one of the top five in the South for sweet tea.

You might not enjoy Sutton’s if you’re not a Tar Heels fan. Pictures of renowned Tar Heels that have eaten here throughout the years cover the walls and ceiling. There are also autographed jerseys on the ceiling.

You could easily spend an hour going over the memorabilia. Try this place for breakfast in Chapel Hill!

Brandwein’s Bagels

505 W. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516, United States // +19192407071

With its excellent bagels and sandwiches combined with coffee, tea, or juice, this diner, nestled in a white brick building, is Chapel Hill’s best breakfast find. You’ll love this place if you love bread for breakfast.

Whatever your gastronomic preferences are, the cafe offers a wide variety of bread treats that will satisfy your appetites.

You’ll feel like you’re in bread nirvana here, from the sweet cinnamon raisin bagels to the savory egg and cheese sandwiches. Seriously.

The sandwiches I ordered were made with high-quality bagels with the characteristic New York bagel texture, slightly chewy but soft.

Brandwein's Bagels Bagel

The two egg sandwiches were filled with a generous amount of eggs, fresh lettuce, and tomatoes. My turkey sandwich also had a large piece of turkey meat, fresh lettuce, and tomatoes.

Their staff is a critical part of a business. They are helpful and create a one-of-a-kind experience with subtle touches that demonstrate a level of appreciation for their customers and attention to detail.

Many complain about the high prices, but I found their sandwich prices to be on par with other chain outlets for egg sandwiches. Not to add that the quality of the ingredients is consistent.

It is obvious that the ingredients are chosen with great care. Everything is tasty and fresh. I really urge you to check out this place if you’re in the Chapel Hill area for breakfast.

Coco Espresso, Bistro & Bar

101 Glen Lennox Dr., Chapel Hill, NC 27517, United States // +19198839003

This cafe, which first opened its doors to the public in 2006, is now a culinary highlight for its fantastic breakfast plates such as sandwiches, bowls, and toasts, as well as other menu options.

Coco is an entirely plant-based coffee shop during the day and a bar at night, known for its tasty and sustainable food and drink options. In this place, you may get up close and personal with nature.

You can enjoy excellent breakfast dishes surrounded by beautiful plants in pots on tables and shrubs hanging from shelves.

And, outside, the beautiful green trees and mild Chapel Hill breeze keep you company while you eat.

Coco serves breakfast all day and offers a range of delightful alternatives, including morning power bowls, avocado toast, hazelnut chocolate and banana toast, smoothies, and more.

My friend is a coffee enthusiast who stated his coffee was outstanding. We ordered a chickpea pastry, chili, a cheddar biscuit, a cruffin, a basic croissant, a croissant with an almond filling, a chocolate cupcake, a maple cupcake, a chocolate chip cookie, a sugar cookie, “snowballs” covered in powdered sugar, and a lemon coffee cake.

Coco Espresso, Bistro & Bar Croissant

I can honestly say that each dish was wonderful and fresh. Did I also mention that they have five or more distinct plant kinds of milk? The environment is contemporary, bright, and upbeat.

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just searching for a great new spot, this is a must-try for breakfast in Chapel Hill. I cannot suggest it highly enough!

Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen

1305 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, United States // +19199331324

This gray-housed diner is one of the top Chapel Hill breakfast spots, featuring delicious biscuits, egg plates, and more, all matched with hot or cold drinks.

Breakfast can be enjoyed in various ways here, depending on your interests.

If you’re in a hurry to start your day’s travels and don’t have time to dine in, you can simply use the restaurant’s drive-through and grab your food and go.

Or spend your time outside on one of those picnic seats, enjoying the views and sounds of picturesque Chapel Hill as you dine.

I ordered the Chicken Biscuit combo, which included a drink and a hashbrown. My friend ordered the “Bad GramPa,” with chicken, bacon, egg, and cheese.

Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen Chicken Biscuit

The hashbrown had a crispy surface and a soft middle! It was arguably one of the greatest hashbrowns I’ve ever had.

The chicken biscuit was amazing; the chicken was crispy and tender, and the homemade biscuit was delicious! My friend also mentioned that the “bad grampa” was unique and great!

Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen is a Chapel Hill institution – it’s classic, delicious, and always hits the spot. 

So if you’re in the mood for some down-home cooking and a cozy atmosphere, stop by Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen for some of the best breakfast biscuits around Chapel Hill.

Merritt’s Grill

1009 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, United States // +19199424897

This eatery with outside seating has been in operation since 1992 and is one of the best breakfast establishments in Chapel Hill, delivering delicious sandwiches and sausage and egg plates in a relaxed setting.

The cafe sets the tone for those wonderful early-morning get-togethers with friends and family.

Have excellent talks indoors in an essential atmosphere emphasizing beautiful intimacy. Or, eat outside, with the lovely thick vegetation providing the perfect backdrop to your social event.

Their breakfast sandwiches are second to none. One sandwich is loaded with so many goodies that it can satisfy two normal appetites or one ravenous hunger.

Merritt's Grill Breakfast Sandwiches

My favorite is the sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich on three-seed bread. I believe the schmear of house mustard brings it all together.

Each of their breakfast sandwiches is wonderful, but I usually tend to lean toward the sausage or bacon sandwich. Their chicken salad is also well-known. Give it a try!

Overall, Merritt’s is your best bet for a great sandwich at a reasonable price point if you find yourself in Chapel Hill for breakfast.

New Hope Market

6117 NC-86, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, United States // +19192407851

With its outstanding power bowls, omelets, and Mexican-inspired dishes like burritos, this diner with a striking exterior is one of the top eateries providing breakfast in Chapel Hill.

When you dine at this restaurant, you will be transported back to your childhood.

Each dish served here is bursting with home-cooked tastes that will take you back to the food your grandparents used to make for you.

Expect a great dining experience here, just like at home, with the friendly staff on hand to help you in any way they can.

As soon as I stepped inside, I was struck by the cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The smell of fresh-brewed coffee filled the air, and the bakery case was filled with delicious pastries, from flaky croissants to gooey cinnamon rolls.

I had an omelet with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, yellow squash, and cheese. It was fantastic. The biscuits were excellent.

New Hope Market Omelet

Their music selection is excellent, neither too loud nor too quiet, but just right. Overall, a pleasant atmosphere!

You can’t go wrong with New Hope Market if you need a bottle of wine and a little bouquet or local art/craft to bring someone a gift, a spot to stop for breakfast and enjoy a discussion with a friend, or a location to cater your event.

A truly fantastic place not to be missed!

The Purple Bowl

306B W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516, United States // +19199038511

This breakfast spot in a Chapel Hill strip mall is famous for its beautiful acai bowls, toast, and other American favorites served in a white-walled area.

In this place, you can get a much-needed mental and physical recharge.

The white walls surrounding you while you eat indoors will help clear your mind.

You can also relax outside, with the lush vegetation around you and the lovely Chapel Hill breeze flowing through your hair as you dine.

We loved the açai bowls; the portions were generous, and everything was fresh! The staff is amicable, attentive, and well-organized!

The Purple Bowl: Açai Bowl

I highly recommend this restaurant and would return if I were in the area again!

Breakaway Cafe

58 Chapelton Court, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, United States // +19842343010

This open-air cafe is a Chapel Hill culinary institution for its outstanding breakfast plates such as benedicts, pancakes, and others, as well as some Mexican-inspired dishes.

The cafe is ideal for sports enthusiasts who want to explore Briar Chapel’s magnificent mountain bike routes.

The open roads of North Chatham, Orange, and Durham Counties are close by, providing the sports enthusiast with an endless network for riding.

You can start out on your grand adventure immediately after eating your first meal, all pumped up for what lies ahead.

I got an iced vanilla latte with oat milk, eggs, toast, and potatoes. The potatoes were quite well seasoned, the eggs were precisely cooked, and I substituted a brioche bun for the toast with butter, which had that crisp from the flat top while remaining soft.

Breakaway Cafe Iced Vanilla Latte
Hot Coffee with cold ice-cream

The latte was also delicious. I absolutely loved my entire meal here; the staff was quite polite, and even the owners stopped over to check on me and chat.

I definitely recommend visiting this place!

Foodies Also Ask

What type of breakfast options are available in Chapel Hill?

Chapel Hill offers a variety of breakfast options, ranging from classic Southern breakfast dishes like biscuits and gravy and grits to healthier options like smoothie bowls and avocado toast.

Are there any vegan or vegetarian breakfast options in Chapel Hill?

Yes, many vegan and vegetarian breakfast options include tofu scrambles, vegan pancakes, and vegetarian breakfast burritos.

What is the price range for breakfast in Chapel Hill?

The price range for breakfast in Chapel Hill varies depending on the restaurant and the type of breakfast you are looking for. You can expect to pay around $10-15 per person for breakfast.

One of the most popular breakfast items in Chapel Hill is the classic Southern biscuit, often served with toppings like gravy, fried chicken, or bacon.

Conclusion About the 12 Best Breakfast Spots in Chapel Hill

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of our journey through the twelve best breakfast spots in Chapel Hill, North Carolina! 

As someone who loves to start my day with a delicious meal, I hope this guide has been helpful and informative for all breakfast lovers.

Chapel Hill is a town that truly has it all when it comes to breakfast food. This town has some of the best breakfast spots, from classic diners to trendy cafes. 

I’ve had the pleasure of trying out each one of these spots, and I can confidently say that they all offer something unique and delicious.

Whether you’re in the mood for a classic breakfast sandwich, a stack of fluffy pancakes, or a savory omelet, you won’t be disappointed with any of these spots. 

The warm hospitality and friendly service that you’ll find at each of these breakfast spots is a testament to the welcoming spirit of the people of Chapel Hill.

I hope that this guide has inspired you to try out some new breakfast spots in Chapel Hill or revisit some old favorites. And if you’re a visitor to the area, I encourage you to add these breakfast spots to your must-visit list.

As always, I encourage you to keep exploring and trying new places because you never know what hidden gems you may find. 

Thank you for joining me on this delicious journey through Chapel Hill’s breakfast scene. I hope to see you at one of these fantastic breakfast spots soon!Which one of these spots for breakfast in Chapel Hill do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!

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