36 best breakfasts in Kansas City that will make you a morning person

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The Merica at The Shack is one of the best breakfasts in Kansas City/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

Brunch is great at all, but there’s something special about lingering over a nice breakfast on a weekend morning. There are a ton of great Kansas City breakfasts, and we scoured both sides of the state line to find the best morning dishes for the first meal of the day, from sweet pastries and pancake stacks to homestyle biscuits and breakfast sandwiches. Here are the 36 best breakfasts in Kansas City.

Chicken & Waffles at Niecie’s

6441 Troost Ave.,KCMO

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Niecie’s Chicken and Waffles/Photo by Zach Bauman

Kansas City has no shortage of great chicken and waffles. But if you want the best combination of the two, you’ll find yourself in a booth at Niecie’s, where you’ll find warm service and a full day’s menu (open 5:30 am to 8 pm) prepared with care. Dishes like grilled wings are made to order (accordingly, the menu warns the wait could be forty minutes) and pair well with satisfying sides like candied yams, cornbread dressing and homestyle mac and cheese. The fluffy waffle comes with a scoop of butter, and the fried chicken has a crisp, lightly seasoned batter that allows the bird to soar. —Martin Cizmar

Avocado Toast at Banksia

Multiple locations

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Avocado Toast at Banksia/Photo by Zach Bauman

To your average American, avocado toast is a food trend that landed from Mars a few years back, displacing butter on nutty natural breads and spurring a heated cultural debate about how millennials spend their money. The dish actually comes from a land down under, where women glow and men plunder, and where friendly, bright, healthy-ish cafe culture has been the norm for some twenty years. After conquering New York in 2018, the Australian cafe trend came to KC thanks to Banksia, where you’ll find an avo toast made from a slab of sourdough that’s lightly smeared with white miso then topped with avocado, sesame seeds, pan-roasted cherry tomatoes and an over-easy egg. Another standout is the pavlova, a crusty meringue topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. —Martin Cizmar

The Franklin at Denver Biscuit Co.

4144 Pennsylvania Ave., KCMO

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The Frankin at Denver Biscuit Co./Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

On any given weekend morning, you’ll find scads of brunchers lining up outside the revamped historical ice house building in Westport for bottomless coffee and Denver Biscuit Co.’s renowned layers-high biscuit sandwiches. Try The Franklin: Crunchy fried chicken, crispy bacon, gooey cheddar cheese and a nice soaking of sausage gravy between two fluffy biscuits is just what the doctor ordered for a Chiefs pre-game meal. —Nicole Bradley

The Vermonter at Seven Swans Creperie

1746 Washington St., KCMO

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The Vermonter at Seven Swans Creperie/Photo by Zach Bauman

You probably think of crepes as delicate, fussy little French pancakes, and you’re right—unless you’re getting them from Seven Swans Creperie. Kate Bryan’s sweet and savory crepes are delicate but substantial, and they definitely aren’t little. Order the Vermonterwith rosemary sausage, white cheddar and caramelized apples. It’s a little bite of autumn in every forkful. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, go for the Campfire with chocolate ganache, homemade graham cracker and toasted local marshmallows. —Natalie Gallagher

Country Omelette at Neighborhood Cafe

Multiple locations

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Country Omelette at Neighborhood Cafe/Photo by Zach Bauman

The best thing at Neighborhood Cafe is free. That’d be the cinnamon rolls, which land at your table gratis after you’re seated at this downhome breakfast spot with two locations in downtown Lee’s Summit and Waldo. The second best thing will cost you twelve bucks—that’s this country omelette in the classic diner style, a thin and crispy layer of eggs wrapped tightly around a heaping slurry of sausage, bacon, cheddar and onions, then sopped with the house’s decadent gravy. —Martin Cizmar

Croque Madame at Ça Va

4149 Pennsylvania Ave., KCMO

The menu at Ça Va is full of elegant French dishes, and topping our list of favorites is the croque madame. This classic grilled sandwich is filled with comté (a French Alpine cheese) and thin slices of Fantasma’s Finest ham from Paradise Locker Meats and is topped with a sunny Campo Lindo egg. —Natalie Gallagher

Merica at The Shack

Multiple locations

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Merica at The Shack/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

The Shack draws big weekend crowds with its classic diner fare (Denver omelette, corned beef hash) with names that could take an entire meal to explain (see: “Please Dad Don’t Buy That Affliction Shirt” and “Gary’s Drunk Ghost at Laclede”). The Shack chain started in St. Louis, but the three local spots are all in Johnson County (Overland Park and Lenexa), where you’ll find the “Merica” French toast, which gets its patriotic colors from strawberries and blueberries but gets most of its flavor from a decadent mascarpone honey glaze, which we’d buy by the gallon. —Martin Cizmar

Breakfast Burrito at Yoli Tortilleria

1668 Jefferson St. #100, KCMO

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Breakfast Burrito at Yoli Tortilleria/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

It would have been enough if Yoli Tortilleria would have just stuck to the gorgeous, flaky Sonoran flour tortillas and stone-ground corn tortillas they sell out of at their Westside storefront. But Marissa and Mark Gencarelli kicked it up a notch with their breakfast burritos: Stuffed with chorizo from Local Pig, Campo Lindo eggs, potatoes and onion, these babies are big enough to split. Wash ’em down with Yoli’s house-made horchata. —Natalie Gallagher

Down on the Bayou at Ronnie’s

12812 W. 87th St., Lenexa

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Down on the Bayou at Ronnie’s/Photo by Zach Bauman

Ronnie’s is a classic American diner with waffles, pancakes, scrambles and various types of Benedict. Ronnie’s gets a little local flair by employing local products, such as the sliced Scimeca’s andouille sausage you’ll find in this omelette, which is served with square-cut hash browns and thick slabs of toast. —Martin Cizmar

Salt Bagel with Smoked Salmon at Meshuggah

Multiple locations

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Salt Bagel with Smoked Salmon at Meshuggah Bagels/Photo by Natalea Bonjour

Before they opened Meshuggah, Janna and Pete Linde used to fly to New York and smuggle bagels back to freeze. That’s what the rest of us would have to do if the Lindes hadn’t opened these Midwestern embassies of boiled-then-baked bageldom in Westport and Overland Park. Pete is an engineer by trade, a native New Yorker of Jewish heritage who learned the process of making bagels that have the classic chewy crust (burlap-covered cedar boards are required) for this no-frills operation, which eschews egg sandwiches in favor of NY deli staples like Whitefish Salad. Our favorite combo is the salt bagel with smoked salmon, but your mileage may vary. —Martin Cizmar

Barbacoa Chilaquiles at GG’s Barbacoa Café

210 S. 7th St., KCMO

Nachos for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do. At GG’s, a Mexican barbecue pit in KCK, fried corn tortilla chips get simmered in a lightly spiced red sauce and piled with tender barbacoa, two over-easy eggs, shredded white cheese and sour cream. To the hungover, it’s a holy trinity: fried crunchy chips, spicy sauce and melted cheese. —Natalie Gallagher

Mattie’s Toaster at Mattie’s Foods

633 E. 63rd St., #110, KCMO

Plant-based eating is easy at Mattie’s Foods. Everything in this sunny Brookside shop is vegan—including the incredible Mattie Bon, a cinnamon roll so perfectly gooey and buttery it will make you suspicious. Craving savory? Get the Mattie Toasterfeaturing a lightly spiced house-made sausage patty (or bacon), hashbrowns and cheese sauce tucked between thick slices of Texas-style toast. —Natalie Gallagher

Butterscotch Brioche Cinnamon Roll at Heirloom

401 E. 63rd St., KCMO

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Butterscotch Brioche Cinnamon Roll at Heirloom Bakery/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

Brookside’s Heirloom Bakery is a wonderland of tasty baked goods, but among the cases (or, during the pandemic, the neatly printed paper menus hung by the outdoor ordering window), our favorite is this rich cinnamon roll. Building a cinnamon roll from soft, buttery brioche is almost cheating. Then they take it even further with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and a drizzle of butterscotch syrup. —Martin Cizmar

Biscuits and Gravy at Happy Gillis

549 Gillis St., KCMO

Biscuits and gravy are a breakfast menu staple, and there is perhaps no better example of the dish than what you’ll find at Happy Gillis, where monster biscuits are drowned in a lightly spicy gravy made with pork sausage from Broadway Butcher. The menu at this Columbus Park neighborhood favorite rotates frequently, but the B&G are a constant. Get a half or a full order, and don’t forget to top with a fried egg. —Natalie Gallagher

Breakfast Sandwich at M&M Bakery & Delicatessen

1721 E. 31st St., KCMO

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Breakfast Sandwich at M&M Bakery & Delicatessen/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

M&M stacks some of the best sandwiches in town—we’re looking at you, Hook ’Em Up—and their breakfast sandwich is no exception. Turkey ham, a fried egg (ask for two if you’d like) and melted Swiss and American cheeses are nestled between a freshly baked house bun, which is soft and spongy with just the right amount of sweetness. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a courtesy glazed donut in my to-go sack, which was equally warm and fresh. —Nicole Bradley 

Pho at Vietnam Cafe

522 Campbell St., KCMO

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Pho at Vietnam Cafe/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

If you’ve been resisting the cramped, always bustling environs of the Columbus Park Vietnam Cafe during the pandemic, never fear. They’ve quietly multiplied the space with a stylish renovation that took over the space next door, leaving plenty of room for appropriately spaced tables at what remains an extremely popular pho shop. The pho is still our favorite in town, with a rich beef broth they spend days simmering, and can be enjoyed for breakfast starting at 9 am, as is traditional in Southeast Asia. —Martin Cizmar

Million Dollar Bacon at First Watch

Multiple locations

There’s nothing more breakfast-y than bacon, and First Watch takes this to the next level with its Million Dollar Bacon. Pork belly is hardwood smoked and seasoned with cayenne pepper, black pepper and brown sugar. Then it gets the big money treatment: a drizzle of maple syrup that’s caramelized to perfection to make it a sweet and savory treat. This bacon is great with one of First Watch’s giant pancakes or frittatas. —Lauren Underwood

The Standard at Mildred’s

Multiple locations

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The Standard at Mildred’s/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

The Standard at Mildred’s is your straight-up, no-frills, always-hits-the-spot breakfast sandwich. The fluffiness of the steamed eggs contrasted with super-crispy bacon tucked between two slices of your choice of bread (try the jalapeno) is, like the name suggests, pretty standard, but incredibly delicious. The generous slather of pepper Dijon mustard gives it an extra kick. Also try one of the ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies in the pastries case—you won’t regret it. —Nicole Bradley

Mofongo Burger at Blue Caribe Restaurant

402 N. 5th St., KCK

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Mofongo Burger at Caribe Blue/Photo by Zach Bauman

It’s cold outside, but inside Blue Caribe, it feels like a little slice of Miami. There’s a cross-section of Cuban, Puerto Rican and Caribbean foods on the menu, like Cuban ropa vieja (a stewy pulled beef with vegetables), amarillitos (fried sweet plantains) and Puerto Rican bacalao guisado (salted cod in a tomato stew with vegetables). Most of these rotate through the buffet. Blue Caribe opens at 7 am Wednesday through Saturday and 8 am on Sunday, so if it’s a cafe con leche and tostada with cheese you’re after—the traditional Cuban breakfast—you’re in luck. Also noteworthy: the mofongo burger, where scoops of mofongo (pickled and fried plantains mashed with salt and garlic) replace buns on a ground beef burger patty with cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato. Make it a proper breakfast by adding a fried egg. —Natalie Gallagher

Coco’s Ricotta Toast at Caffetteria

25 On The Mall, Prairie Village

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Coco’s Ricotta Toast at Caffetteria/Photo by Zach Bauman

This must-try breakfast item from Caffetteria is the perfect way to channel your inner millennial. An English muffin is topped with ricotta cheese, lavender-lemon honey syrup and a sprinkle of basil. The highlight of this Instagram-worthy breakfast is definitely the slight tartness of the lemon mixing with the creaminess of the cheese. Pair it with Caffetteria’s overnight oats to make this breakfast feel extra bougie. —Lauren Underwood

Ranch Hand Breakfast Tacos

Multiple locations

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Ranch Hand reakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos

Breakfast tacos are Austin’s greatest contribution to American cuisine, and Lonestar export Torchy’s does them well. Torchy’s started as a food truck on South First Street in the capital of the Lonestar State and is now a seven-state chain with two locations in the KC area. The breakfast tacos you’ll get at the Ward Parkway location are just like the ones I sampled back at ye olde truck so many years ago: heaps of meat and eggs accented with well-constructed salsas. The Ranch Hand, with tender marinated beef and a spicy diablo sauce, is the way to go, and even at breakfast you’ll want to get the chips and salsa, which come in a small bucket and disappear faster than a food truck lot in a gentrifying neighborhood. —Martin Cizmar

Deluxe Chicken and Donut Sandwich at Brown Sugar

3708 State Ave., KCK

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Deluxe Chicken and Donut Sandwich at Brown Sugar Donuts/Photo by Zach Bauman

Humans are programmed to love the taste of fried chicken. It’s that combination of salt and fat and the ultra-satisfying crunch that gives us life. At KCK’s cozy Brown Sugar Chicken & Donuts, the fried chicken stars across the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Brown Sugar’s hero is the deluxe chicken and donut sandwich, where a husky breast, fried egg and strips of bacon are stacked between slices of a fluffy glazed donut. That chicken gets a forty-eight-hour brine with oil, barbecue seasoning and a secret third ingredient the owner isn’t willing to disclose. —Natalie Gallagher

Quiche Lorraine at Aixois French Bistro

251 E. 55th St., KCMO

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Quiche Lorraine at Aixois French Bistro/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

If you’re looking for the lightest, fluffiest, creamiest quiche in town, you’ll find yourself seated at a cozy bistro table inside Aixois, where the windows face the Trolly Track and the music tilts toward college rock of the early noughties. Aixois’ quiche lorraine is served with lightly dressed arugula, a marvel of well-executed elegance that’s perfect with a latte. —Martin Cizmar

Cinnamon Roll at Lamar’s Donuts

Multiple locations

The donuts aren’t necessarily what keep me coming back to LaMar’s weekend after weekend—though I do love me a chocolate Oreo cake donut. The cinnamon rolls, basically donuts themselves, are flat, frisbee-like cinnamon coils roughly the size of your head and coated in a thick glaze of icing. —Nicole Bradley

Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy at Blue Bird Bistro

1700 Summit St., KCMO

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Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy at Blue Bird Bistro/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

Nothing warmly fills up every crevice of your stomach like a pile of biscuits and gravy. All-natural Westside diner Blue Bird Bistro has a great brunch, and their version of the humble dish uses mushroom gravy instead of sausage. Vegan biscuits are also available by request. —Nicole Bradley

Burnt End Hash at Rye

Multiple locations

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Burnt End Hash at Rye

Leave it to Kansas City to build a bridge between breakfast and barbecue. The Burnt End Hash at local chain Rye is the ideal meal for ’cue enthusiasts, carnivores and the massively hungover. Picture a pile of cubed roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with red bell peppers and onions in a spicy tomato sauce, plus tender brisket burnt ends—all topped with sunny side-up eggs and dotted with fresh chives.  —Natalie Gallagher

Green Goddess Smoothie at Gigi’s Wellness Cafe

1103 Westport Road, KCMO

The menu at Westport’s cozy Gigi’s Wellness Cafe isn’t big, but it does pack a flavorful punch. Put your best foot forward in the morning with a Green Goddess Smoothie: Fistfuls of kale, sliced kiwi and dates are blended with a house-made banana nut milk. The result is twelve ounces of bountiful, craveable nutrition. —Natalie Gallagher

Haystack Sandwich at Town Topic

Multiple locations

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Haystack Sandwich at Town Topic/Photo by Natalea Bonjour

The Haystack is a not-so-secret secret menu item at all three locations of Town Topic. Everyone knows what you’re talking about when you order it: It’s the standard breakfast sandwich—an over-easy egg with your choice of meat (sausage, ham or bacon) and cheese on Texas toast, with the added bonus of crispy hash browns layered in. It’s your everything-but-the-kitchen-sink hangover cure or just the right amount of fuel your body needs to tackle the day. —Natalie Gallagher

Breakfast Flatbread at You Say Tomato

2801 Holmes St., KCMO

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Breakfast Flatbread at You Say Tomato/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

More of a spherical personal pizza than a traditional rectangular flatbread, You Say Tomato’s version of a breakfast ’za is steps above what you’ll pick up at the nearest QuikTrip. Scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes and cheddar cheese top a vegetarian gravy spread over a crispy crust. The only way it can get more Midwestern is by dipping it in ranch. —Nicole Bradley

Breakfast at Clay & Fire

815 W. 17th St., KCMO

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Breakfast at Clay & Fire/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

Brent Gunnels is quick to admit he’s “not really a breakfast person.”

Luckily, the breakfast menu he’s serving at Clay & Fire, a new Near Eastern restaurant in the Westside neighborhood, bears little resemblance to the confectionery creations from the American out-to-eat breakfast cannon.

Rather, the breakfast menu at Clay & Fire is built around egg dishes from Azerbaijan and Iran, with special attention to Kahvalti, or Turkish breakfast.

Turkish breakfast is a smorgasbord of fresh cheeses, olives, pistachios and dips of fruit and nuts, served with salads of tomatoes, peppers and cucumber, plus a bounty of bread. As much a ritual as a meal, Turkish breakfast can take an hour or more, the time unmetered thanks to lively conversation and infinite refills of Turkish tea in tiny glass cups.

At Clay & Fire, you’ll find Gunnels’ take on it—jam made from biquinho peppers and feta they find at various markets are highlights. The menu was developed through Skype conversations with the restaurant’s would-be proprietors, who are still stuck in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Before the pandemic, Gunnels was set to open Tree Haus Cafe, a “botanical saloon” serving non-alcoholic cocktails. (Gunnels says any future iteration of Tree Haus Cafe will be different than the version previously reported on.) Clay & Fire, which sits in a little house on top of the hill in the Westside, was set to be run by Turkish restaurateur Orcan Yigit, a friend of the space’s owner, Adam Jones.

If Gunnels’ name looks familiar, it might be because we’ve showered praise on his backyard pizza pop-up, Cult of Pi. Gunnels made Jones’ acquaintance through the Cult in late summer.

“I’ve approached him so many times about this space because I just love this space,” Gunnels says. “It’s one of my favorite restaurant spaces in this city.”

Six weeks later, Clay & Fire was open for breakfast, with plans to add dinner following the completion of a clay oven.

It was, Gunnels says, “an insane six weeks. I was either scrubbing something or reading a book about Turkey or Skyping with the partners in Turkey to understand the cuisine.”

The result has been a marriage of Southern and Near Eastern hospitality, with five novel-to-KC egg dishes and extra flavor thanks to red and green za’atar spice blends sourced from the nation’s capital of Middle Eastern culture, Dearborn, Michigan.

“There is nobody else in town that’s offering any sort of breakfast like this,” Gunnels says. —Martin Cizmar

Palmier at Black Dog Coffeehouse

12815 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa

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Palmier at Black Dog Coffeehouse/Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

This very popular cafe’s breads and pastries come from its partners at Ibis Bakery, which makes some of the finest baked goods in town. For whatever reason, at Black Dog Coffeehouse we always gravitate to one of the cheapest, simplest items on the menu: the Palmier. This French treat is made from puff pastry that gets cinnamon and sugar folded into it before being crisped to perfection. It runs just two bucks and is perfect for dipping in a cup of Messenger drip coffee. —Martin Cizmar

Chorizo Waffles at Mockingbird Lounge

204 Orchard St., KCK

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Chorizo Waffles at Mockingbird Lounge

Whether you’re in the mood for brunch or breakfast for dinner, the Mockingbird Lounge, perched on Strawberry Hill overlooking downtown KC, should be topping your list. Chorizo Waffles, a fan-favorite, feature a fluffy and sweet waffle topped with two over-easy eggs, slightly spicy chorizo and a fresh pico de gallo. This dish is a must for anyone who loves a sweet and savory item that will easily earn a place in the clean plate club. —Rob Henrichs

Milwaukee’s Hangover Bloody Mary at Coach’s

Multiple locations

This Bloody Mary from Coach’s is the granddaddy of hair-of-the-dog cocktails. Skewers of andouille sausage, bacon, beef jerky, assorted cheese cubes, shrimp, veggies and a cheese and bacon burger slider sit packed in a pint filled with house bloody mix and two shots of your choice of vodka. They sell these until 2 pm on the weekends, so make sure to get there before then. —Nicole Bradley

The Brick House at Brick House

400 E. 31st St., KCMO

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The Brick House at Brick House/Photo by Natalea Bonjour

Brick House on Martini Corner is the place to be on a summer weekend—gaggles of bachelorette partygoers and hungover twenty-somethings make their way to the beer garden to play bags and take advantage of the spot’s generous bottomless mimosa pours. The signature namesake dish at Brick House, however, is one that I’d suggest to warm you up on a winter day: A slab of crispy fried chicken over biscuits is drenched in wholesome gravy and topped with bacon bits and a fried egg. —Nicole Bradley

Sticky Biscuit at Big Biscuit

Multiple locations

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Sticky Biscuit at Big Biscuit/Photo by Natalea Bonjour

When it comes to biscuits, I tend to steer savory instead of sweet. Not at popular local chain Big Biscuit, where the house’s signature sticky biscuits sweetened with caramelized brown sugar and lathered in vanilla icing. It’s the ideal way to start any breakfast here. —Martin Cizmar

Country Fried Steak at Dagwood’s

1117 Southwest Boulevard, KCK

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Country Fried Steak at Dagwood’s

At Dagwood’s Cafe you’ll find a classic American diner breakfast: the country fried steak and two eggs. Delicious is an understatement for this plate. It has everything you want, including crispy country fried steak with sausage gravy, two eggs cooked to order, hash browns or home fries, and your choice of rye, white or wheat toast or an English muffin. —Rob Henrich

Categories: Features, Food