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The Best Breakfast in Durham (15+ Essential Restaurants to Start Your Day!)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on June 4, 2024.

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Searching for breakfast in Durham NC?

As Durham locals, we love our home city’s restaurants, including those that serve the most important meal of the day!

After years of early meals with our kids, just the two of us, and on our own, we created this guide to help you find classic diners, delicious biscuits, pastries, and more.

If you’re a Durham local like us, a new resident, or a frequent visitor, we’ve got you covered. If you live in the area and wonder, “What are the best breakfast restaurants near me?” we know this NC food guide will help you! 

Read More: Things to Do in Durham NC (aka The Durham Bucket List)

Where to Find Breakfast in Durham NC (Map)

Breakfast in Durham NC Map

You can use the following maps to plan your Breakfast in Durham adventures:

List of Durham NC Breakfast Restaurants in This Guide

  • Beyu Caffe
  • Bull and Bean
  • Early Bird Donuts
  • Elmo’s Diner
  • Everything Bagels
  • GRUB
  • Guglhupf
  • Hope Valley Diner
  • Isaac’s Bagels
  • Joe Van Gogh
  • Monuts
  • Ninth Street Bakery
  • People’s Coffee
  • Rise Durham
  • Silver Spoon
  • True Flavors Diner

Beyu Caffe

Downtown Durham Address: 341 W Main St, Durham, NC

Beyu Caffe is a place where you can truly “be you.” Founded on the principle that we all have more in common than our differences, Beyu is a downtown Durham restaurant with its signature coffee blend and catering operation.

With no need to transition from breakfast to lunch, all items on the menu are served all day.

A Carver’s Peanut Butter Latte is a great pick-me-up after a meal. It’s crafted with espresso, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.

Another option is Beyu’s Mexican Coffee. I like it the way it comes, but some people like to add a little Tabasco to theirs.

Read More: Black-owned Restaurants in Durham

Bull and Bean

Address: 3710 Shannon Rd #100, Durham, NC

Bull and Bean is in the same shopping center as Hope Valley Diner (see below) and is one of our favorite places to grab breakfast in Durham.

Grab a pastry or a cookie with your coffee, or go in with one of Bull and Bean’s breakfast entrees.

Breakfast is served all day here, with vegan options on the menu, too!

The Big Bull Breakfast will fill you up for most of the day, while lighter options like an Acai Bowl or Quinoa Bowl are great starts, too!

Read More: The Best Coffee Shops in Durham, NC

Early Bird Donuts

Address: 2816 Erwin Rd #101, Durham, NC
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Early Bird Donuts Durham NC Breakfast Restaurants

Early Bird Donuts is the first donut-focused place we’ll mention in this Durham breakfast guide, an unassuming shop that makes large and light California-style donuts from scratch.

We always try to make our half-dozen or dozen boxes as colorful as possible, sampling as many yummy flavors as possible. An original glazed always hits the spot, though, so be open to adding one to your order.

Sometimes, one of us is not in the mood for a sweet start, and Early Bird also makes biscuits and croissants to complement their donuts.

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Elmo’s Diner

Address: 776 Ninth St, Durham, NC

Elmos Diner Durham NC Breakfast Restaurants

Ask many people their pick for breakfast restaurants in Durham and they’ll likely start with Elmo’s Diner.

This Downtown Durham restaurant is an institution, and on weekend mornings, you’ll hardly ever walk by without seeing a line out the door.

If it’s on Sunday, they’re likely waiting for the best brunch in Durham! Everything is delicious here, but their quiche is something to die for!

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Everything Bagels

Address: 530 Foster St Ste 1-E, Durham, NC

Everything Bagels Breakfast in Durham NC Image by NC Tripping

Everything Bagels is the perfect answer to anyone’s need for yummy bagels in Durham. Stop by this wonderful eatery in the Durham Food Hall, and you’ll agree with us.

We recommend you order ahead because everyone else knows about Everything Bagels, too. Their bagel sandwiches range from the basic Egg and Cheese to the adventurous Breakfast Banh Mi, with tons of delicious opportunities in between.

It’ll take you a long time to work through this menu, so we’ll wait to hear about your favorite.

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Address: 1200 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC

Restaurants Durham NC GRUB Image

GRUB makes some of the best lunch in Durham, but we think of it as an absolute breakfast go-to.

Housed in a renovated 1950s Pure Gas Station, this is a great place to grab a milkshake, breakfast, and bites throughout the day.

Their eclectic décor and melt-in-your-mouth biscuits make GRUB a must-eat Durham breakfast restaurant. The choices here are endless, and our favorites include chicken biscuits, smoothies, and flapjacks.

Read More: 50 of the Best Day Trips from Durham


Address: 2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC

Guglhupf Durham NC Breakfast Restaurants

At Guglhopf, you can choose between tasty breakfast plates, pastries, and bread from the bakery.

The inside and outdoor portion of Guglhupf is beautifully decorated, adding a nice ambiance to an already peaceful setting.

Guglhopf might be one of the most popular breakfast spots in Durham, so we highly recommend getting there as early as possible, especially on weekends.

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Hope Valley Diner

Address: 3710 Shannon Rd, Durham, NC

Hope Valley Diner Durham NC Breakfast Restaurants

Hope Valley Diner is on the other side of Shannon Plaza, the shopping center it shares with Bull and Bean. This classic diner serves lunch and dinner, but we keep returning for the lovely breakfast.

Omelets, hotcakes, and waffles usually make their way to our table, but we like to branch out with some Steak and Eggs or a daily special on occasion.

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Isaac’s Bagels

Address: 1003 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC

Issacs Bagels Durham

Isaac’s Bagels sits just down Chapel Hill St from GRUB and usually gets a stop from one of us on our way downtown during the week. You can order bagels by the dozen with cream cheese or treat yourself to one of their bagel sandwiches to start your day.

All of the above is also welcome.

They also serve pastries if you’re looking for something sweet. We always leave with a cold brew coffee, a drip, or something with a shot or two of espresso.

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Joe Van Gogh

Broad Street Location Address: 1104 Broad St B, Durham, NC
Woodcroft Address: 4711 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC

Durham Coffeeshops Joe Van Gogh2

Joe Van Gogh is one of the Research Triangle’s biggest names in coffee. Durham is lucky to have a couple of JVG coffee shops, with locations on Broad St near Duke University and Woodcroft in South Durham.

We’ve enjoyed a hand-poured nitro cold brew and cappuccinos and will always come back as long as Joe Van Gogh will have us.

While they had us at coffee, the scones, muffins, and those oh-so-delicious ham and cheddar biscuits made us JVG loyalists for life.

Read More: Adventurous Outdoor Things to Do in Durham (Hikes, Biking Paths, and More!)


Address: 1002 Ninth St, Durham, NC

Monuts Breakfast in Durham NC

Monuts is another place that gets our vote for the best breakfast in Durham.

At Monuts, there’s usually a line out the door. But with a fresh list of cake or dough selections, Monuts is THE breakfast spot and totally worth the wait!

Don’t like doughnuts? They also have incredible breakfast sandwiches and bowls!

Every person who orders gets a fun fact card to read while they wait, too!

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Ninth Street Bakery

Address: 136 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC

Ninth Street Bakery has been in Durham since 1981, originally starting as a small cafe on Ninth Street. Years of consistent growth have led the Durham icon to move a couple of times, and today, NSB sits in the heart of downtown.

You can find their loaves in grocery stores throughout the area, but we recommend a visit to the massive building that houses Ninth Street’s production facility and cafe.

NSB is one of our go-to for lunch, but they also make great pastries that are available in the morning.

If you can beat the rush, a ham and cheese croissant is always good, but there are plenty of other savory and sweet options if those popular items run out.

Read More: Unique Things to Do In North Carolina (Your NC Bucket List)

People’s Coffee

Address: 7830 NC-751 Suite 120, Durham, NC

Peoples Coffee Durham NC Breakfast Restaurants

If you’re driving through the area and need a quick stop that’s not a chain, we highly recommend People’s Coffee.

Just off I-40 (Exit 274) in South Durham, this place is home to tasty waffles, amazing coffee, seasonal drinks, and more. As one of the few coffee shops we’ve seen offering Vietnamese Coffee, we are huge fans of this spot!

I love stopping at People’s Coffee on my way toward Raleigh and its neighbors to the east. You can also use it as your last stop before heading to Jordan Lake, which I have many times!

Read More: Fun Things to Do in Wake County (Raleigh and Beyond!)

Rise Durham

Downtown Durham Address: 401 Foster St, Durham, NC
Southpoint Durham Address: 8200 Renaissance Pkwy, Durham, NC

Rise Biscuits Durham NC Restaurants Image

Yes, Rise is a franchise but many of us knew it when there were just a few locations in the area, especially the one located by the Farmers’ Market and Durham Central Park.

That’s why we give Rise a pass and have included it in our guide to breakfast in Durham.

At Rise, you’ll find a showcase of the most amazing and fluffiest biscuits you’ll ever see. Personally, I could always go for a simple Bacon, Egg, and Cheese but everyone likes something different.

Two tasty examples are Rise’s Righteous Chicken biscuit AND their Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Biscuit.


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Silver Spoon

Address: 5230 North Roxboro Rd, Durham, NC

Tell someone you ate at Silver Spoon and they’ll know you won’t be needing anything else for the rest of the day. It’s our favorite place to grab breakfast in North Durham.

You may get overwhelmed by their massive menu the first time, but remember that Silver Spoon’s breakfast skillets are what many people come for. 

We love them, too, but anything else that comes out, like the basics—pancakes with a couple of meats and eggs.

Also, don’t forget to grab some baklava on your way out because it’s amazing!

Read More: 5 Great Things to Do in Eno River State Park (Trails + More)

True Flavors Diner

Address: 5410 Highway 55 Suite AJ AK, Durham, NC

Last but not least is True Flavors Diner, a longtime favorite of ours. This place dishes up upscale southern favorites in a casual atmosphere.

Personal loves include their smooth cheesy grits, duck hash, and buttery biscuits. This spot is one of the best places to eat in Durham, especially for breakfast, so what are you waiting for?

Hungry for Breakfast in Durham NC?

These are not the only breakfast restaurants in Durham, but what we think are the best in the city. Based on our years of eating in Bull City, this list will help you start your day right!

If you’ve explored some of the Bull City’s breakfast restaurants, what’s been your favorite so far? Where should we eat our next breakfast in Durham?

Let us know here in the comments section. Don’t forget to share your Durham NC adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group.

Photos are welcome.

More Things to Do (after Breakfast in Durham)

We’ve created many more travel guides that feature these Durham breakfast restaurants and other things to do. Here are a few of them.

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