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Heaping plates aplenty - and steaming espresso drinks - all along the Wasatch Front.



Every town in the U.S. has chain diners and fast food breakfast joints aplenty. But when it comes to high-quality breakfast restaurants, very few places can claim as many as Salt Lake City. Whether you're craving heaping portions of hot, salty food or a fast and light fare with a side of delicious coffee, you'll find what you're looking for along the Wasatch Front.

Those based out of downtown have a number of options. Lamb's Grill Cafe is located in the heart of the city - and though the name might have you guessing “steakhouse,” this is actually one of Salt Lake's best and most affordable breakfast establishments. The oldest restaurant in Salt Lake City, Lamb's serves classic, American-style breakfasts. But if Lamb's looks packed, head over to the Judge Cafe - another downtown classic offering satisfying, homemade, morning meals.

Those venturing away from downtown would be well served to drive (or bike) up Emigration Canyon and visit Ruth's Diner. A Salt Lake staple since 1930, this eatery offers southwest-inspired breakfasts to die for. Each table receives a side of delicious “mile high” biscuits - so do yourself a favor and come hungry.

If Ruth's is packed (and it often is), consider heading south to the Blue Plate, a rather stylized, hip diner in the 21st and 21st neighborhood. Offering delicious portions of “normal” and vegetarian cuisine, Blue Plate is one of Salt Lake's top breakfast restaurants. Come early to avoid crowds here - and whether you're a vegetarian or not, you should absolutely try the veggie benedict.  


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If good coffee is an important part of your breakfast, consider swinging by the Bad Ass Coffee Company to enjoy an espresso drink and a quick breakfast. Though not a sit-down restaurant, this cafe offers a wide selection of muffins, scones, and cinnamon rolls. Bad Ass Coffee also has some of the area's only boiled bagels! This coffee shop with the colorful name specializes in Hawaiian coffees, which grow rich and flavorful on the islands' lush volcanic slopes. The shop itself has a coastal feel with rough woods and rustic accents. Patrons hang out with steaming cups of java, anticipating the buzz that comes from high-quality beans.

Local Expert tip: In a city with very few bagel shops, Bad Ass Coffee is one of the best places to get a tasty, boiled bagel.

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You don't have to be a guest of the Red Lion Hotel to enjoy a morning meal at Cafe Olympus. This casual, diner-style restaurant serves breakfast all day long. The cuisine here is quintessential American, and the plates are served covered in heaping portions of eggs, potatoes, pancakes, toast, sausage, and bacon all combined into various specials, omletes, and such. All-American breakfasts include corned beef hash with golden potatoes, and french toast. If you can't choose what do order from the menu, try their breakfast buffet instead – where you can pick and choose your food exactly as you wish.

Local Expert tip: If you're looking to avoid crowds, this is one of Salt Lake's better hidden breakfast restaurants.

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This two-story cafe is one of Salt Lake City's longest-running, most classic cafes. Serving delicious, roasted coffees (ranging from lattes to dark espressos) throughout the day, alongside a fairly extensive food menu, this is a go-to favorite of locals. Guests are free to sip a cup of drip coffee and use the wireless, or to meet with friends and enjoy a full meal. Outside seating makes the Roasting Company a popular late night gathering spot as well. A variety of scrumptious lunch and dinner options are available, and the staff makes sure that there are plenty of fresh breads and pastries available all day long.

Local Expert tip: The Salt Lake Roasting Company is a perfect place to grab breakfast if you don't feel like a full-service meal - and if good coffee is an important part of your morning.

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This extremely popular eatery is a great place to stop for a tasty breakfast and a hot cup of coffee. Located on the lobby level of the Judge Building, the cafe has a relaxed, old-school ambiance and a bustling dining room. Go for one of the three-egg omelets, or enjoy oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins or a stack of pancakes smothered in pure maple syrup and warm butter. All breads and muffins are homemade, and several blends of gourmet coffee are available. Many of the menu items present creative takes on classic dishes, keeping the dining experience as interesting as it is satisfying.

Local Expert tip: For a classic, homemade, American breakfast in downtown SLC, check out Judge Cafe.

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Park Café


Boasting a wonderful view of the Liberty Park pond, this casual eatery offers up diverse lunch and dinner menus that feature everything from quesadillas and Thai chicken to Greek salads and an always-reliable "Quiche of the Day." However excellent the lunch and dinner, it is Park Caf�'s breakfast that has won native hearts and tummies. With such specialties as Southwest Eggs (served with green chili, Monterey jack cheese, salsa, and sour cream) and Mexican Hash served in a flour tortilla, it's easy to see why Park Caf� is as popular as it is good. Stop by for some open air in the middle of the city.

Local Expert tip: Consider stopping by for an off-hour snack and cup of coffee.

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Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks


Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks sits quite near the mouth of Millcreek Canyon - a location central to both those staying in Downtown for business, and those visiting Big and Little Cottonwood canyons on a ski vacation. This restaurant has created a bright, open, contemporary dining space filled with local art and serviced by expert staff. The food served here is certainly based in the classic American breakfast and lunch tradition but, as you'll immediately notice, offers a fresh, colorful, and healthy twist on all of the typical dishes. Waffles are homemade and adorned with fresh fruit, and wraps are stuffed with lean meats and crisp vegetables.

Local Expert tip: The Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks is a perfect breakfast spot for those looking to avoid hungover diner-goers on the weekend.

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Alchemy Coffee


Alchemy Coffee sits west of Sugarhouse, in a low-key, residential neighborhood called Liberty Heights. Standing among a cluster of other businesses (such as tattoo parlors and artist galleries), Alchemy has become a neighborhood staple and cornerstone business in its years as a new restaurant. Not just serving coffee, Alchemy offers a fairly diverse menu consisting of various made-to-order items. Additionally, this cafe functions as a neighborhood cultural center, offering numerous open mic nights and small concerts each month, as well as consistent artwork displays year-round. As you approach the doorway of this neighborhood coffee shop, don't let the skeleton images deter you. Despite the ghouls guarding the front door, Alchemy Coffee is quite inviting on the inside, with cozy antique furniture and art lined brick walls giving the place a warm "by the fireside" feel.

Local Expert tip: Stop by for a takeaway breakfast, or stay for a while and enjoy looking at local artwork while you eat.

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Ruth's Diner
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren


Located in a renovated 1930s trolley car parked right in the heart of Emigration Canyon, Ruth's Diner serves all your favorite American and southwest breakfast dishes, from sausage and pancakes to huevos rancheros. The popular eatery has gained quite a substantial reputation for its morning fare over the years, and even better, breakfast is served all day, every day. Although its salty founder, Ruth, died at the ripe old age of 94 in 1989, the business she built lives on, buoyed by her independent spirit. If you visit during the summer months, you can enjoy your meal outside on the patio, occasionally accompanied by live music.

Local Expert tip: Visit this restaurant on your way home after cycling Emigration Canyon.

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Blue Plate Diner
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren


The Blue Plate Diner is easily one of the most popular breakfast eateries in the entire Wasatch Front - if not the most. This locally owned establishment serves enormous portions of high-quality, satisfying "greasy spoon" fare. Homemade plates offered include delicious eggs Benedict - normal and vegetarian - all sorts of skillets and omelets, and a daily special. Though it seems impossible, The Blue Plate has somehow managed to dress itself in a retro theme, and still maintain a very hip ambiance. A winner of countless awards, Blue Plate has been showered in praise by all the local and state publications for more than a decade.

Local Expert tip: The Blue Plate is in high-demand from the partying hipster crowd; if you wish to avoid a weekend wait for breakfast, try showing up before 9:00am.

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Meet Christine Balaz

Christine Balaz began her unexpected writing career in Salt Lake City with her first book on Wasatch Skiing and Travel in 2006. On the subject of Utah, Christine has written numerous...  More About Christine

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