There’s only one way to begin a day in Ann Arbor, and that’s with a delicious meal. Luckily, whether you prefer a no-frills diner, a modern and healthy restaurant or a relaxed café, there are many amazing places to find a great breakfast or brunch in the city. Here are the top 10 to check out.
Diner, American, $$$
This breakfast institution right on the University of Michigan campus dates back to the 1950s and is still in the same Greek-American family that started it. Expect to wait at meal times, but once inside, you’re treated to large and tasty portions of classic diner-style breakfast food and a retro, friendly atmosphere.
The Ann Arbor outpost of one of Detroit’s most popular bakeries, the Avalon Cafe and Kitchen has become one of the top destinations in the city for hip and modern breakfast dishes, including avocado on toast and frittata sandwiches, and fancy brunch options on the weekend. It uses quality ingredients in every meal, and trying some of its freshly baked goods is a must.
Serving brunch from Sunday to Thursday, Café Zola offers many excellent options such as the smoked salmon platter, crab cake eggs benedict, and several Turkish specialties, as well as a selection of superior crepes, waffles, and omelettes. The ingredients and overall taste are without a doubt among the best in the city, but the prices reflect that. Brunch options are available until 4 pm.
Just one establishment in the Zingerman’s empire that has taken over Ann Arbor, the Roadhouse west of the city has breakfast and brunch menus that feature classic dishes and a few unique twists, such as the mac and cheese with eggs and bacon. Breakfast is served until 11 am Monday through Friday, while a separate brunch menu is served on the weekends until 2 pm. Don’t forget to check out the daily specials.
If you’re looking for something on the healthy side but know that doesn’t mean compromising on flavor, then head to Juicy Kitchen. Northwest of downtown, its menu features a lot of fresh vegetables, prioritizing local and seasonal produce, in a number of creative spins on the classics. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a good spot for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Afternoon Delight has long been a favorite of locals, students, and Ann Arbor visitors, so expect a busy and bustling atmosphere. Its breakfast menu includes a selection of benedicts and giant omelettes, as well as waffles, pancakes, and a variety of baked goods. It serves breakfast until 1 pm Monday to Friday, and all day on Saturday and Sunday. There’s often a queue, but it moves quickly and is worth the wait.
This vegan restaurant in Kerrytown is a popular spot for Sunday brunch thanks to its healthy and creative options. Try the vegan pancakes or biscuits, topped with tofu bacon, herby seitan sausages or cashew cheese, or get a taste of the Southwest with the tofu scramble or breakfast burrito. Brunch is served from 10 am to 3 pm on Sundays.
With a sweet and welcoming atmosphere to match its name, Benny’s Family Dining is yet another Ann Arbor diner institution, most famous as the post-morning-swim-practice refueling spot of none other than Olympic legend Michael Phelps. Talk about breakfast of champions. Breakfast is served all day and has something for everyone, with options such as chocolate chip pancakes and steak and eggs.
The Northside Grill is another casual family diner in the city, located in a former dairy. It serves up big portions of a large selection of breakfast comfort food, from biscuits and gravy and country scrambles to skillets and breakfast sandwiches. It’s been voted the best breakfast in Washtenaw County a number of times, so expect to wait during the morning rush.
There are two Songbird Cafes in Ann Arbor, one on the north side and one west of downtown. The cozy spot in the Plymouth Road Mall has a simple breakfast menu on weekdays, with eggs available on a sandwich, with toast or in a number of omelettes. For weekend brunch, it has more creative rotating offerings though, including avocado toast, buckwheat and cornmeal waffles, and more elaborate sandwiches.