September is National Breakfast Month, and while ordering a stack of pancakes somewhere may satisfy your craving for a delicious breakfast, it won’t let you get the most out of one of Virginia’s most enchanting seasons. Head to some of these great breakfast restaurants located near scenic fall destinations to add a side of autumn charm to your plate.
L’Dee’s Pancake House—Front Royal
Nearby Fall Attractions: Scenic drives down Route 522 and Skyline Drive, Shenandoah River
Helpful Tip: The restaurant does not accept credit cards, although there is an ATM on-site.
A favorite of tourists and locals alike, L’Dee’s Pancake House is decorated like an old-fashioned diner, with spinning counter chairs and vinyl booths. Many of the locals visit this restaurant almost every day, but instead of being wary of tourists, the restaurant welcomes them with open arms. In addition to a friendly environment, you’ll find reasonable prices and hearty breakfast options, like the Egg Platters and the Specialty Pancakes. Breakfast is served all day long, so if you have a hankering for waffles at dinner, L’Dees is the place to go.
Nearby Fall Attractions: Scenic drives on Route 211 and Route 17
Helpful Tip: Both serve pastries, but only the Marshall location has hot biscuits and more substantial breakfast items.
50 miles west of Washington, D.C., Red Truck Bakery is a quaint rural bakery that serves up delectable sweet treats at the Warrenton location, but head only 15 minutes north on Route 17 to the Marshall location if you’re craving an equally tasty breakfast. The biscuit sandwiches are heavenly, and they offer several other hot breakfast specials in addition to a multitude of freshly baked pastries, muffins, and croissants. After breakfast, get on Route 211 and head west towards the picturesque town of Washington.
The Little Grill Collective—Harrisonburg
Nearby Fall Attractions: Massanutten, scenic drive on Route 33
Helpful Tip: Cash or check only.
Since the 1940’s, the Little Grill Collective has been a staple of the Harrisonburg dining scene. There are many vegetarian and vegan items on the menu at the restaurant, but they also have dishes that cater to the meat lovers, with almost everything on the breakfast menu made from scratch. Prices are more than reasonable at the Little Grill Collective, with no dish exceeding $10. Some favorite menu choices are the Hueves Rancheros, Blue Monkey Pancakes, made with blueberries and bananas, and the Cinnamon Sourdough French Toast, but you really can’t go wrong at this Harrisonburg gem.
Bob & Edith’s—Arlington
Nearby Fall Attractions: George Washington Memorial Parkway for a scenic drive, Mount Vernon,
Helpful Tip: Because of its popularity, getting refills isn’t always easy. Consider ordering two drinks and asking for the check early if you are in a hurry.
Don’t let the basic diner décor at Bob & Edith’s Diner fool you; this place knows how to cook up a seriously delicious breakfast. This Arlington restaurant is extremely popular with the locals, and although the menu is filled with basic breakfast items, they stay true to the classic diner style, and you’ll leave full and happy.
Nearby Fall Attractions: The Roanoke Star for a scenic view of the city, a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or Route 220 to view the autumn leaves
Helpful Tip: Although the restaurant is usually pretty busy, don’t let that discourage you. The wait time for a table is typically only 15 minutes or less.
Located in the City Market Building in downtown Roanoke, Scrambled is known for using organic, high-quality ingredients in their menu. Kids can get a healthy yet filling breakfast at Scrambled for an affordable price, and one of the most popular items from the kid’s menu is the “Little Peep”, comprised of a farm fresh egg, a choice of thick-cut apple cider bacon, pork sausage, or turkey sausage, and a biscuit or toast, comes to only $5.49. If you’re an adult, consider ordering the restaurant’s namesake food and try the scrambled eggs.
Blue Talon Bistro—Williamsburg
Nearby Fall Attractions: Route 5 and Colonial Parkway both offer scenic drives. Colonial Williamsburg is beautiful in the fall.
Helpful Tip: For a limited time, the restaurant offers a free espresso with a Yelp check-in.
If you are in the Williamsburg area and looking for a great breakfast, try Blue Talon Bistro to start your day with a breakfast that is both filling and appetizing. The generous portions ensure you won’t leave hungry, and the restaurant’s elegant ambience make eating breakfast at Blue Talon Bistro an experience in itself. For a little caffeine, try the Illy Coffee; it is one of the best cups of coffee you’ll find in Williamsburg.
Nearby Fall Attractions: Monticello, scenic drives on Route 151, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Skyline Drive, countless wineries nearby
Helpful Tip: Don’t be discouraged by a long wait time; when you arrive at the restaurant, put your name on the clipboard to the left of the door. Often, many groups leave and what was originally an hour wait time could turn in 15 minutes.
Bluegrass Grill is only a few blocks from the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, and with that location, the restaurant is pretty popular with the locals. Weekends see the biggest rush, but the weekdays are still by no means slow. Although you might have to endure a short wait for a table, the breakfast at Bluegrass Grill is worth it. The corned beef hash is out of this world, and even vegetarians don’t have to miss out, with a Tofu Hash available that loses the meat, but not the excellent flavors.
Mabry Mill Restaurant
Nearby Fall Attractions: Scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the on-site Mabry Mill for which the restaurant is named.
Helpful Tip: The wheat and grits used on the menu come from the on-site mill.
At milepost 176 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mabry Mill Restaurant is a wonderful breakfast spot for those traveling the famous scenic road. The country-style menu includes southern favorites like biscuits and gravy and buckwheat pancakes. While there is often a wait for a table because of the restaurant’s small size and prime location, you can check out the gift shop and walk the grounds to see the mill before your meal.
Nearby Fall Attractions: The New River, Smithfield Plantation, scenic drives on Route 621 through the Allegheny Mountains, Route 11, and the Blue Ridge Parkway
Helpful Tip: Weekends are busy, but the food is worth the wait.
Ask a current or former Virginia Tech student or a local Blacksburg resident where to get the best breakfast in town and chances are they will point you towards Gillie’s Restaurant. Prices are reasonable, portions are huge, and the restaurant blends progressive vegetarian dishes with southern country classics for a balanced and interesting menu. A go-to order for those in the known is the 122 Special: two eggs any way with the signature potatoes or grits and a homemade buttermilk biscuit or toast.
Bill’s Prime Seafood & Steaks—Chincoteague
Nearby Fall Attractions: Scenic Drive down Route 13 on the Eastern Shore, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Helpful Tip: Order one of the breakfast items that contains crab if you enjoy seafood. Located right beside the ocean, the restaurant’s seafood options can’t get much fresher.
Like the name suggests, Bill’s Prime Seafood & Steaks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia cooks up great steaks and seafood, but their excellence translates to the breakfast menu, as well. There are several “Heart Healthy” options for those that want something a little lighter, and plenty of heartier plates for those that want to tuck in to a full spread. Get a glimpse of the famous Chincoteague wild ponies or just visit the less crowded beaches of the Eastern Shore after your breakfast at Bill’s.
Blue Ridge Restaurant—Floyd
Nearby Fall Attractions:
Blue Ridge Restaurant makes many of their items, like the oatmeal, grits, hot cakes, biscuits and gravy, and French toast, from scratch. In an old bank building, the restaurant creatively converted the safe into a walk-in freezer and kept the old-fashioned charm that is common in the small towns of Virginia. If you’re looking for a filling, southern-style breakfast, go for the biscuits and gravy, and consider a side of the potato cakes, as they are some of the best around.
Nearby Fall Attractions: Shenandoah National Park, scenic drives on Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Carter Mountain Orchard
With an extensive breakfast menu, Kathy’s Restaurant has been voted best breakfast in the Shenandoah Valley for six years running. The restaurant is known for the light and fluffy gourmet pancakes, and locals show up day after day to start their day with owner Kathy’s homemade and hearty selections. But if you don’t make it first thing in the morning, don’t worry. Kathy’s serves breakfast all day long, allowing you to get a truly southern meal with made-from-scratch sausage gravy and biscuits, a dazzling array of omelets, and their famous fruit-filled pancake roll-ups.
Nearby Fall Attractions: Scenic Shenandoah Valley, Shenandoah River, drive down Route 678
Helpful Tip: The coffee is locally roasted, fair trade, and a can’t-miss at Cristina’s.
Using as many local and sustainable ingredients on their seasonally focused menu as possible, Cristina’s Café in Strasburg serves up fresh and interesting breakfast items. Many of the ingredients are even sourced from their own farm, allowing them to keep quality as the main focus for the restaurant. This results in amazing dishes, like Amanda’s Hot Mess, made with herb-roasted potatoes, crispy bacon, an over-easy egg, white cheddar cheese, and finally topped with scallions and a chipotle aioli.
Mojo’s Trailside Café & Coffee—Damascus
Nearby Fall Attractions: Scenic drives on Route 58 and Route 16, Grayson Highlands State Park, Mount Rogers, Appalachian Trail
Helpful Tip: Anyone can walk a portion of the Appalachian Trail when visiting Mojo’s; the trail goes right through the town of Damascus, adding a bit of adventure after breakfast.
Only steps away from the Appalachian Trail, Mojo’s Trailside Café & Coffee is a stop-off for many hikers going through Damascus looking for a hot meal and a cozy environment to eat. This restaurant may be in one of the smaller towns in southwest Virginia, but the food is incredible, and the coffee is even better, if that is even possible. Try the Crabcake Sammy on Texas Toast, topped with Sriracha aioli, lettuce, & tomato or the Low Country Shrimp & Grits.
While there are hundreds of great breakfast spots around Virginia, we chose these 14 restaurants for both their excellent reputations as places to get a tasty homemade breakfast and their proximity to some of the state’s most can’t-miss fall locations. Where is your go-to spot for a great breakfast when traveling in Virginia during the autumn?
© pkeppel for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2016. |