Long Beach is a breakfast city—there’s really no other way of putting it.
We take our breakfast-ing seriously. Breakfast joints in Long Beach become local chains given their popularity (as in Potholder/Potholder, Too/P3—part of our list). Hell, we even have a place called The Breakfast Bar (also one of our essentials listed below and kicking off the list).
So now, in no particular order, your list of essential Long Beach breakfast joints…
Photo by Brian Addison.
The Breakfast Bar (70 Atlantic Ave.)
When Pam and Joshua Beadel opened The Breakfast Bar—in a joint that once tried to create a Margaritaville-like space complete with tinted windows and a lack of taste—Long Beach didn’t quite know what they were getting.
The Breakfast Bar is the place you go to get breakfast food you can’t get elsewhere. Their Hung Over plate—a dish of fries slathered in gravy, eggs, sausage, pico de gallo, and sour cream—is nothing short of wondrous (and acts very Hair of the Dog-ish when paired with one of their breakfast Mai Tais or mimosas).
Uncle Marcee’s Omelet Casserole—a dish that is prepared a day ahead—is worth every eggy, cheesy bite. Hell, even their Naked Cakes—whole wheat berries freshly ground, blended with buttermilk, and stacked after grilling—are easily the best pancakes in DTLB.
Photo by Brian Addison
Coffee Cup Cafe (3734 E 4th St.)
Long Before soyrizo became a thing and Mexican cuisine invaded (in the best way possible) every aspect of our food culture, Coffee Cup Cafe was servin’ up chicken chile verde and veggie-friendly options by the minute.
It is one of the true staples of Long Beach breakfast—y’know, up there with The Breakfast Bar and The Potholder in terms of status as a local icon. Their Baja Breakfast Burrito is one of the grub hub’s best offerings. (And in all honesty, I hope one day they take their undeniably fantastic Chicken Chile Verde and convert it into a breakfast burrito because I would be on cloud nine.) Their Enchilada Eggs, pictured above, are beyond addicting.
And that Chicken Chile Verde? It’s is par none: a spicy, cheesy wonder of an omelette whose heat depends on the attitude of the chef who whipped it up in the wee hours of the morning.
Photo by Brian Addison
Jongewaard’s Bake-n-Broil (3697 Atlantic Ave.)
There’s really no other way of putting it. Bixby Knolls’ Bake-n-Broil is famed, iconic, a staple—and for damn good reason: they are arguably the best bakery in town, serving up carby’n’classic sweets that can even put Grandma’s skills to the test while offering up breakfast classics like quiche.
Their muffins? Unlike any you’ve ever had. You think you’ve had a blueberry or a lemon or a banana walnut or an apple cinnamon muffin but in all honesty, you haven’t until you have had Bake-n-Broil’s absurdly large, muffin-top-expanding-into-impossible spaces muffins.
In other words, just go.
Photo by Brian Addison
Wide Eyes Open Palms (416 Cherry Ave.)
I’ve touted about Long Beach’s coffee scene, particularly its roasting scene. Wide Eyes Open Palms (WeOp), located the western edge of Retro Row, is part of that touting.
Girlfriend team Kat McIver and Angie Evans have long been a part of the Long Beach coffee scene. Starting as a popup at farmers markets throughout the region, WeOp had long established itself as one of the few places to score cold brew made from Four Barrel beans while grubbing down on vegan and vegetarian friendly grub.
And it’s not just their coffee that is spectacular. Their food is genuinely great and speaks to the inner Italian of many.
Their jam and ricotta toast? Almost on the level of LA’s Republique: a thick slice of a rustic country loaf slathered with housemade ricotta and jam—is nothing short of addictive. My suggestion? Get the half-and-half if they have two jam flavors because I guarantee you that you’ll love both.
Add to this frittatas, cocottes (cream-baked egg), and granola and you’re set.
Photo by Joinie Di
The Pan (3550 Long Beach Blvd.)
I am baffled as to why The Pan doesn’t get more love—or perhaps more appropriately put, why it hasn’t gotten much media love.
The place is constantly filled with diners awaiting Pan-specific concoctions like their Loaded Hash Browns–a massive plate of hashies scrambled with eggs, cheese, bacon, green onion, and chili aioli—or their crazy assortment of pancakes.
Their pancake list is the stuff of legend. From Chocolate Peanut Butter Pancakes (complete with peanut butter butter) to their mythical Banana Pancakes (that comes with this addicting banana cinnamon purée)…
It’s just great food in a homey joint filled with good vibes and good people.
Bigmista’s Morning Wood (4331 E Carson St. in Lakewood Village)
BBQ for breakfast? Abso-fuckin’-lutely.
The thing with Bigmista’s is that they’re already well known for the BBQ—and rightfully so. Pullin’ a food truck around LA, the most charming wife’n’husband team, Phyllis and Neal Strawder, garnered a bigger following in LA than they did in Long Beach—even after opening their brick-and-mortar near the Traffic Circle.
But like any tried-and-true Long Beacher, these folks kept it LB, refusing to step outside the city limits despite their almost cult-like following in LA. After success, they found out that they needed to stretch their abilities into the world of breakfast, sacred ground for Long Beach considering our love of the AM Menu.
Bigmista’s Morning Wood—unquestionably the best damn name for a breakfast joint ever uttered—is Southern, rooster-crowin’ hospitality at its finest.
I am not normally that you-gotta-kn0w-what-to-order kinda foodie but hot damn, Aaron’s Fattie Benedict is one of the best clogged-artery-inducing breakfast plates I’ve had in a while. And why this dish—two biscuits topped with two thick-ass sausage patties, some poaches eggs, and smothered in some Lawd-this-has-got-to-be-lard gravy—makes me so happy is that they knew to separate their BBQ joint from here.
And it’s because it’s an entirely different beast.
Blackbird Cafe (3405 Orange Ave.)
Nestled in California Heights at Wardlow & Orange, Blackbird joins Roxanne’s as the two businesses that have completely altered the sleep neighborhood with one simple thing: good grub and in massive portions.
Hell, their dishes even brag about the size of their food—just take a gander at the artery-inducing wonder that is the Home Fried and Superfied, their version of loaded spuds complete with fried potatoes, a lactose-intole-what? amount of cheese, some bacon for protein, some mushrooms and grilled onions for balance, and sour cream because cows are awesome.
To top it off, they have a New Mexican vibe to some of their dishes. (And I mean the state of New Mexico, not contemporary Mexican food.) A lotta avocado, hatch chiles, peppers, corn, spicy soyrizo…
All in a neighborhood filled with charm and a vibe that’s outright heartwarming.
The Potholder/Egg Heaven Cafe (Various Locations)
How dare I clump these institutions? Well, because they have the same menus—the only caveat is that Potholder’s menu is larger.
Is their food spectacular? No, not even near. But they’re culturally important because they started decades ago, creating throngs of followers who share “Eat at the Potholder” picture while on vacation. That’s how much folks love ’em.
Long Beach’s Egg Heaven Cafe in Belmont Heights is one of the oldest breakfast joints in the city while the Potholder has three locations: its OG location on Broadway, also in Belmont Heights, its DTLB location, and the joint it has near the Traffic Circle. You’ll find a ton of similarities between Heaven and the more popular Potholder—even down to the way they cook their potatoes. The Maui at Potholder? That’s the Queen Maria at Egg Heaven Cafe.
Either way, these local institutions are ways to score classic, big-plate breakfast. And if you’re at the Potholder, get the Flintstone French Toast. This wonderful creation is a staple of the breakfast canon—the classic and humble French toast—dipped in Fruity Pebbles. Yes, you read that right. Add some butter and whipped cream and you’re set. (Syrup optional but not necessary.)
When you’re torn between cereal and French toast, milky and crunchy, here you have an answer.
The Social List (2105 E 4th St.)
It, admittedly, took a bit for The Social List to get its footing.
When owner Luis Navarro tried to go for a European inspired tapas-like menu, it didn’t quite click—so he slowly began approaching angles of things he liked. And it worked—especially when he decided to head into the breakfast arenas on the weekend.
Brunch at The Social List is a special one: a limited menu with great items—the peanut butter waffles are not to be missed, nor are the chilaquiles rojo—in an area that is one of the defining parts of Long Beach, Retro Row.
Claire’s at the Museum (2300 E Ocean Blvd.)
Claire’s is bad ass for a multitude of reasons.
First and foremost, them views. Situated on the bluff amidst the classic Craftsmen-style of buildings that make up the Long Beach Museum of Art, Claire’s offers what is arguably the best patio in the city, with views overlooking the ocean, the Queen Mary, Belmont Pier, and DTLB.
But perhaps most importantly is that they’ve upped their culinary game.
Not long ago, Claire’s was mediocre when it came to the food; one was always paying for the view. With an upgrade to their alcohol license came an upgrade to the kitchen: I am talkin’ Salmon Benedict, Nutella Pancakes, Creme Brulee French Toast, and more.
Add to this champagne with everything from kumquat juice to pear juice and you got yourself a perfect start to the AM.
The Crooked Duck (5096 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.)
The legend of The Crooked Duck, as told to owner Joseph Rooney when he was young, goes like this: “Everyone was horrified as a man accidentally hit a duck while he was out water-skiing on the lake; it was unlikely the poor duck had survived such a beating. As everyone sat there staring at the water in disbelief, and what they thought was a dead duck, it started to move.
“All of a sudden, it started to swim towards the shore in a very peculiar manner. When it reached the lake’s shore it waddled away, but it was quite obvious the duck’s neck was now crooked. The duck with the crooked neck was seen from time to time by people out on the lake, an acknowledgement to the resilience of a duck.”
Though the story has little to do with the food—which is great, particularly the corned beef hash—it is impossible to disconnect from the resilience of the restaurant itself, now celebrating over five years in The LBC.
5th Avenue Bagelry (247 Pine Ave)
The best bagels in Long Beach are found at 5th Avenue Bagelry in DTLB.
Hold up, lemme re-phrase that: the best bagels in the region are found in DTLB.
Owner Bau Tran is one of the most humble, hard-workin’ folks you’ll meet—and his slow-rise, East Coast process to his precious creations are what makes these bagels the best thing you can get outside the East Coast.
From oddities like banana strawberry to their outright spectacular jalapeño cheddar, 5th Avenue can give you a simple creation with just good ol’ Neufchâtel or you can make it a breakfast bagel to satisfy your inner New Yorker.
The Local Spot (6200 E Pacific Coast Hwy)
Hidden at the odd corner of PCH and Loynes, The Local Spot is breakfast grub served up with quality and a lack of frills.
The no-fuss place, situated amidst a handful of other local businesses—what’s up, Enrique’s?—in a tiny strip mall, offers solid food (hence it’s phenomenal 4.5 star rating on Yelp! and while I try to refrain from ever mentioning that hideous company because I think they are a disaster to food, its users tend to speak the truth in masses).
Their Blueberry Pancakes are outstanding. Their spuds are awesomely buttery. And their biscuits’n’gravy, both made in-house every day, are approved by white trash relatives and are by my estimation some of the best around. There you have it.
Photo by Brian Addison
Starling Diner (4114 E 3rd St.)
Overpriced? Somewhat. Slightly overrated? Yeah.
But Starling Diner provides you a handful of things that others don’t: it is smack dab in the middle of Belmont Heights, surrounded by homes, and makes you feel like you’re on a set more than at a restaurant.
And while there is nothing particularly standout about the joint—though I do recommend getting the double-cream scones if they haven’t run out of ’em—it is a place worth visiting if just for the atmosphere.
Photo by Christine Adway
The Attic (3441 E Broadway.)
This joint has gotten a shit ton of attention and I would be remiss to not include it out of the sheer popularity of the joint that became famous for putting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on their mac’n’cheese.
Overrated? I could argue so…
Locally renowned for their Make Your Own Bloody Mary menu and a variety of Southern-but-not-quite-Southern dishes like Chicken Fried Steak Benedict, The Attic—which long ago replaced Lasher’s, now on 2nd Street—is a place that is steadily growing as a brunch and breakfast staple.
Editor’s note: this article originally included Sweet Dixie Kitchen on its list; it was removed because it was discovered that Sweet Dixie buys and resells fast food items on its menu. Read about it here.