Six Birmingham-area restaurants for a great breakfast

Birmingham suffered a major blow to its culinary scene this month. The beloved Bogue’s Restaurant has closed after 84 years. The iconic restaurant, known for its breakfast offerings and Miss Ella’s sweet rolls, first opened in Birmingham city center in 1938.

Related: A fundraiser has begun for ‘Miss Ella’, a longtime baker at Bogue’s restaurant

No restaurant can replace the famous brioches and the warm atmosphere of Bogue’s. We don’t want either. But Bogue’s departure is a timely reminder to celebrate Birmingham’s gems, so we wanted to list some of the area’s classic and simple breakfasts.

Before you get carried away, we’re not hitting on the new restaurants in town that serve up creative brunches to pair with artfully crafted cocktails. We simply celebrate the appeal and aesthetics of the humble restaurant. There’s a reason diners are ingrained in America’s cultural fabric – a bustling, no-frills restaurant serving pancakes, eggs, oatmeal, breakfast meats and rolls is a must. special art that deserves to be grilled a million times.

Looking for a classic southern breakfast in the Birmingham area? Here are some suggestions to help you get started.


If we’re going to talk about East Mississippi Diner in Ensley, we have to start with the specials. The Cowboy’s Special includes two eggs and a choice of meat. For people who want to keep it simple, the restaurant offers the classics: bacon, sausage patties, bologna and ham. But the selections get even more special further down the line with salmon patties, four-piece fried chicken wings, fried fish, and rib eye. Then there’s the Road Special: two eggs, with a choice of oatmeal, rice or hash browns and with two pieces of fish and six fried or grilled shrimp.

Another option: order Eastern Mississippi deli meats in a cookie or sandwich between two slices of toast. And for a heartier sandwich, customers can add eggs, egg whites, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes for less than a dollar. Check the menu here.

East of the Mississippi Diner | 3103 Ensley 5 Points W Ave, Birmingham, AL 35208


Breakfast at Salem’s Diner in Homewood is served from 6:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Breakfast sandwiches and rolls are obviously popular, but if we had to focus on one part of Salem’s Diner’s menu, we’d choose the plates. Let’s start with the trash. For $11.95 (before taxes, of course), you can order a plate of hash browns, onions, tomatoes and spicy sausage. Put a lid on it (i.e. add two eggs) for an extra dollar. Then there’s the Hall of Famer omelet served with onions, feta cheese, peppers, and jalapenos. In 2014, Eric Valesco of The Birmingham News described Salem’s Diner as a restaurant devoted to classics. “On this day of joints super loaded with mixed breakfast pans, boutique bacon and gluten-free cookies,” Valesco wrote, “Salem’s specializes in the basics.” Check the menu here.

Salem’s Diner|2913 18th St S, Birmingham, AL 35209


Before the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ted’s Restaurant was renowned for its early morning breakfasts. But, as we know, the pandemic has shaken up the restaurant industry and ushered in a new normal. Without the downtown morning workforce, Ted’s owners, Tasos and Beba Touloupis, had to focus on other aspects of the restaurant, like lunch and dinner. But the Touloupises didn’t want to leave guests without breakfast options for long. Instead of weekday breakfast, the couple have started offering Saturday morning brunch, an extension of the famous meat and three weekday breakfast classics. In addition to the beloved omelets, the couple added new options including buildable breakfast bowls with an oatmeal or potato base and a range of toppings from applewood smoked bacon and chicken sausage with spinach and zucchini. View the menu here.

Restaurant Ted| 328 12th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233


If Yo Mama’s in Birmingham keeps two things coming, it’s the accolades and the great food, especially the famous chicken and waffles. Chicken and waffles had been a lunchtime staple since the restaurant opened. The fan favorite was also on Yo Mama’s brunch menu, which the restaurant held every second and last Saturday of the month. In 2019, Yo Mama’s began serving breakfast daily, offering customers the option of having the famous dish, along with chicken and pancakes and salmon croquettes, before 10:00 a.m. In 2020, amid months of restaurant industry closures due to COVID-19, Yo Mama owners Crystal and Denise Peterson had to change their restaurant strategy, closing the breakfast option daily. But the second and final Saturday brunches have since returned to Yo Mama’s lineup. In addition to pancakes and waffles, try the savory brunch options, including fried tilapia and grits with white cheddar, asiago and cream cheese, served with toast, or the salmon croquettes served with two eggs, rice and a buttermilk biscuit. View the menu here.

Yo Mama’s| 2328 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203


In 2017, veteran chef Beverly Russell opened Olivia’s Transit Café, the home-style cafe at Birmingham’s intermodal facility next to MAX Central Station as part of the three-block bus and train station between the 17th and 19th streets. Designed to serve downtown traffic, Olivia’s offers quick plates and grab-and-go items for travelers waiting on Greyhound, Megabus and Amtrak trains. So if you’re looking for a quick on-the-go breakfast, your best bet is cookies. Choose one with just meat (ham, sausage and bacon) or eggs and meat. Check the menu here.

Olivia’s Transit Cafe | 1701 Morris Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35203


Fife’s has served Birmingham from its location on 4th Avenue since 1959. Originally opened by Ernest and Margaret Fife, restaurateur John Kostakis took over Fife’s and has run the restaurant since 1989. Breakfast at Fife’s starts early and early at 6am. Breakfast classics are on the menu, including pancakes, eggs, oatmeal, cookies and, of course, Conecuh sausage.

Restaurants Fife | 2321 4th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203


If you’re willing to travel more than 15 minutes outside Birmingham city limits for a classic, simple breakfast, Pelham Diner should be on your list. There are tons of nuggets on the menu, but we’ll start with the gigantic pancake. Instead of a stack of rolls, Pelham Diner serves a large, slightly thick golden pancake (of course, no one is stopping you from ordering more than one). If you’re feeling peckish, get the pancake as part of the Patriot breakfast plate with two eggs, grits, and a side of bacon or sausage. The restaurant also offers three additional special breakfast plates: country scramble (two split biscuits topped with scrambled eggs, white peppercorn sauce and a choice of bacon or sausage), oxmoor breakfast (three eggs , two meats, oatmeal or hash browns, biscuits or toast, and a large bowl or gravy) and a hearty breakfast (four eggs, a choice of eight-ounce ground beef, four slices of bacon or three sausage patties, oatmeal or hash browns, biscuits or toast and a big bowl of gravy). Fancy a bite to eat? Try their famous cinnamon rolls. View the menu here.

Pelham Dinner| 2147 Pelham Pkwy, Pelham, AL 35124

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