Breakfast, we’re told, is the most important meal of the day. And nowhere does that saying ring truer than in New York City. For some, breakfast might mean a reheated egg sandwich and stale coffee consumed in front of a computer. But for others, breakfast is a time for people-meeting, deal-making, and side-hustling.
And while there are plenty of places to get some trendy eggs and toast on your “sick day,” picking the perfect spot for your given getting-sh*t-done scenario is trickier business. Here are the places we rely on across the city.
Opens at 8am || The Smile on a weekday morning is a great place to be. Unlike on the weekends - when the restaurant is mobbed by people who rolled out of bed at 2pm and/or people who just got out of their Noho SoulCycle class - weekday mornings are when you essentially get the restaurant to yourself. The scrambled eggs with cheese are so good we’ve ordered double servings of them on multiple occasions.
Opens at 7am || There are breakfast sandwiches. And then there are High Street On Hudson breakfast sandwiches: simultaneously artful, satisfying, and definitely not good for you. But High Street isn’t a one trick pony, either - there are plenty of other elevated breakfast options (fancy oatmeal, beet cured salmon) should you need them. The environment is casual but still polished - use it for everything from a business meeting to a group pow-wow to a solo meal.
Opens at 7:30am || We love you, Sadelle’s, but we absolutely hate your brunch sh*tshowiness. Terrible waits, overwhelmed service - we can’t hang. But Sadelle’s on a weekday at 8:30am? This is bagel bliss. If you want to be a hero, plan your team’s next working breakfast here, order a bunch of bagel towers (and at least one french toast), and go off to the office in a happy food coma. It’ll be the best decision you make all week.
Opens at 9am || We can’t overstate the grasp that friendly Australians have on casual, coffee-and-breakfast spots in NYC. Dudley’s is yet another example. Should you need to meet someone for morning meal in the Lower East Side, Dudley’s is a very useful spot for an easy, casual breakfast.
Opens at 8am || It’s easy to forget about Cafe Select - despite its prime Lafayette St. location, it’s often passed over for its cooler neighbors. But for a weekday breakfast meeting in Soho, Cafe Select is completely underrated. It’s low-key, but with just enough pretty people vibes to feel like you’re somewhere decently cool. Take the opportunity to get a Rösti - only German people understand the value of a giant fried potato pancake.
Opens at 7:30am || Do you work in Midtown? Do you wear a suit to work? Do you “close deals”? If you answered yes to all of these statements, The National is your best weekday breakfast move in the mid-50’s.
Opens at 7am || While we’re not big fans of Marta’s environment for dinner, the hotel-lobby vibes actually make a lot of sense for a business breakfast: straightforward, simple, nothing too cute. The menu isn’t big, but covers a lot of ground - you can get something as light as a yogurt bowl or as not light as a breakfast “carbonara” with eggs, potatoes, and lots of cheese.
Opens at 8am || One of the few not-terrible places for brunch in Murray Hill, Penelope serves an equally good - and much less slammed - weekday breakfast. Comfort food in a comfortable environment makes getting out of bed on a Monday morning just a little bit easier.
Opens at 7am || For the times when impressing someone at 7am is absolutely necessary, The NoMad is here for you. A $12 smoothie? $16 granola? $27 for eggs any style? These are the prices you pay for feeling f*cking fancy.
Opens at 8:30am || Eat breakfast at Cafe Gitane and you’ll suddenly realize that Europeans have had it right all along. Get the avocado toast, have some coffee, feel really civilized - all before you haul off for the day.
Opens at 7:30am || The Comfort Diner is everything its name promises - a real, actually-good, actually-pleasant diner in the armpit of Midtown East. This is the kind of place where you can come and order pretty much anything off the menu and know it’s going to come out exactly like you’re expecting. And sometimes, especially in this part of town, that’s all you need.
Opens at 6am || The Upper East Side has many diners, but Viand is one of the best. You’ll be happy with any order here, but our move at breakfast is always the turkey omelette (they roast their own every day). If you need to meet someone on the Upper West Side, there’s a location there, too. And if you’re an insomniac (or have to be at work at an ungodly hour) Viand’s ready to serve you starting at 6am.
Opens at 7am || Look, sometimes you need to eat breakfast in Hell’s Kitchen. We aren’t here to endorse El Original as a legitimate Tex-Mex establishment. But our job is to provide you with options in every neighborhood, and this is one of your only real ones in the area. From 7-9am, El Original serves an American breakfast buffet (yes, really), and at 9am the offerings turn towards breakfast tacos, migas, and the like.
Opens at 8am || Need breakfast near Columbia? Community Food & Juice is great for diner-y food with a slightly healthy slant (and possibly the best blueberry pancakes in the city). Even more convincing: there’s a weekday special from 8am to 9am that gets you those blueberry pancakes, orange juice, and bottomless coffee, all for $12. Run don’t walk.
Opens at 7:30am || We get it. You’re tired of hearing about The Smith. But here’s the thing - The Smith is like the NYC version of Chili’s, if Chili’s were good. Which means it consistently delivers solid, classic food in a casual yet polished environment that’s great for meetings of all kinds. Once you factor in their two convenient Midtown locations, The Smith is pretty much unstoppable. Admit it, you like Chili’s anyway.
Opens at 6:30am || While you may know Eisenberg’s as an old-school lunch counter go-to for reubens and matzo ball soup, it’s also home to the most legit diner breakfast in Flatiron. You won’t find avocado toast, “muesli,” exotic greek yogurts, or generally anything you’d want to post to your Instagram here. But Eisenberg’s is a spot you can count on for eggs any style, breakfast sandwiches, and matzo brei. Breakfast like god intended.
Opens at 8am || Like all the best Upper East Side breakfast joints, Mon Petit Cafe’s been at it for decades, serving classic French food in a “cute” (but not too cute) bistro space that works for everything from a meal with grandma to a meal with your boss. The breakfast menu setup is prix fixe: your choice of French entree, orange juice, and coffee (but you can also order a la carte if you’d prefer). Breakfast ratatouille, anyone?
Opens at 8am || A newish spot on the southern side of Koreatown/northern end of Flatiron, Blank Slate is an excellent addition to this neighborhood’s breakfast scene. It’s a bright, casual space that’s perfect for your next networking meeting, AKA the times when you pretend to be someone’s friend so you can mutually benefit from each other. Isn’t the working world awesome?