Pleasant Hill is a small town located deep in the East Bay near the better-known Californian city of Walnut Creek. The town may be small and suburban, but it’s still a hotspot for great brunch food if you know where to look. From classic neighborhood diners to trendy, eclectic restaurants, check out our favorite spots to grab a morning bite.
Cafe, Restaurant, American, Coffee
Sunshine Café | Courtesy of Neil O./Yelp
At Sunshine Café, the many regulars are greeted by name, and some even have their own labeled mugs stored on a shelf in the corner. The restaurant is small and family-run with a comforting atmosphere that makes it the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday morning, and you can even bring your pooch if you sit outside.The cafe offers hefty portions, is cash only, and is easily the best value you will find for brunch in the area. The service is fast and friendly, and watching the chef cook with impressive speed and skill on a busy morning is a treat. Regulars rave about Sunshine Café’s classic egg dishes and recommend ordering the hash browns extra crispy.
Giant Chef Burger prides itself on being the oldest diner in Pleasant Hill. Often referred to as a ‘greasy spoon,’ this popular brunch spot radiates the homey vibes of a classic American diner. The food is consistently served steaming hot and fresh in generous portions, and the restaurant is notorious for preparing your food perfectly no matter how particular your order. This spot is popular among locals, but with plenty of seating, including a covered outdoor patio and the wait is never long. Expect excellent service from kind, experienced servers, most of whom have worked at the restaurant for many years, and come prepared to pay with cash since there is no ATM on-site.
Eggs Benedict with Shrimp & Avocado at Plaza Cafe | Courtesy of Timothy Y./Yelp
This hidden brunch spot is tucked into the corner of a shopping center a few blocks away from Downtown Pleasant Hill and Pleasant Hill Park. Plaza Cafe is beloved for its flavorful and creative diner food, especially the coffee cake and the crab and avocado Benedict. The servers are praised for being consistently attentive and smiling and always keeping the coffee mugs full. For an affordably healthy twist on your classic American breakfast, the restaurant will let you swap your starchy sides for fresh fruit at no additional cost. The small café is often crowded, with as many tables squeezed in as possible, so come early or expect a 30-minute wait for weekend brunch. The restaurant only accepts cash, but an ATM is available on-site.
A few blocks away from Sunvalley Shopping Center, Magoo’s Grill doubles as a neighborhood diner and sports bar. Originally a biker bar, the restaurant has made a number of improvements over the past 25 years to evolve into a foodie haven. Now, it’s a great spot to enjoy multiple happy hours and to visit with locals while watching sports across the bar. If you prefer a more calm atmosphere, bring your family to the dining room instead. The restaurant is welcoming to large groups, and sports teams can often be found convening there after games. For brunch food, try Magoo’s famous tri-tip, either in a sandwich or a Benedict, and grab a mimosa or a bloody Mary, too.
Nation’s is a classic, all-American burger chain. The menu is small and simple, famous for its huge burgers and delicious pies. If you’re craving a late night breakfast, Nation’s is your best bet, since it’s open until 2AM and breakfast is available at all hours. It’s also one of the most affordable spots for brunch in town, while still providing high quality food with incredibly fresh ingredients. Grab your food at the counter and take a seat at one of the indoor booths, or step outside for a breezy, shaded table seat. You can even snag free wifi from the Starbucks next door.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Beer, Mediterranean, $$$
Eggs Benedict at Jack’s | Courtesy of Dustin T./Yelp
Since Jack’s 2010 opening, it has become one of the city’s most popular spots to eat. The restaurant has an extensive, creative menu, providing high-quality food and impeccable service. Try the Bananas Fosters Pancakes while relaxing on the restaurant’s luxurious patio seating. The restaurant is conveniently located in Downtown Pleasant Hill, so make a day of it by exploring the downtown shops or catching a movie at the Century 16 across the street. Jack’s is more trendy than homey, and easily the most upscale spot on this list. This restaurant is consistently busy and does not take reservations, so expect to wait for a table.
The Original Pancake House is a diner chain famous for its extensive menu of creative pancakes and waffles, from Coconut Waffles to 49’er Flap Jacks. People rave about the restaurant’s Dutch Baby and thick bacon, you can even order Bacon Pancakes. The service is friendly, and even the manager has been known to come around to interact with customers and make sure everyone is happy with their food. The diner has a casual atmosphere with plenty of booth space. It’s nestled in right next to Pleasant Hill Park, so stop by for brunch on a family trip to the pool or the playground.
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