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Iowa City’s Best Brunch Spots

In San Francisco, brunching is a sport. Here? Not so much. Luckily, Iowa City has managed to assuage my fears of living life without truly delicious breakfast food thanks to a small group of great restaurants scattered around town. Just in case you’re looking for a place to snag some bacon or sip some mimosas this Sunday, I’ve rounded up and illustrated my favorite spots for mid-morning feasting. Enjoy!

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Pullman Bar & Diner // This place is pretty new in town, but always seems to be bustling. At brunch, it’s all about the bacon. It’s cured in-house and cut really thick, so it almost tastes like a piece of smokey pork belly. And the best part? It comes standard in the Bloody Mary.

Bluebird Diner // I love eating hash browns for breakfast, and I especially love the Krakatoa hash browns at Bluebird. They’re made with pecan-smoked bacon, jalapeños, garlic and red onions and then covered in pepper jack cheese. I also love that if you order a cup of coffee with brunch, they’ll offer you a fresh to-go cup for the road.

Leaf Kitchen // I’m not going to lie, my favorite thing about Leaf is the atmosphere. The fact that it doubles as a tea house in the afternoon is aesthetically apparent as soon as you walk in the door. Vintage coffee mugs, colorful chairs, brick walls and a comfy window seat booth create a cozy vibe.

The Mill // The Mill is where you go when you don’t feel like waiting for a table and you just want a good ol’ classic Farmer’s Breakfast (that’s three eggs, breakfast potatoes and three strips of bacon) for five bucks. It’s worth noting that the breakfast potatoes are pretty darn good, and the full bar is helpful in hair-of-the-dog situations.

Ride // Another new place in town, Ride has become one of our go-to spots lately. Everything I’ve tried has been delicious, and they have one of the best Moscow mules I’ve ever tasted. They also offer some unique (and delicious) brunch dishes like the old English favorite, bubble and squeak.

Salt Fork Kitchen // Sure, it’s not technically in Iowa City, but Salt Fork is definitely worth the 10-minute drive to Solon. Everything on the menu is super fresh and locally sourced—including the eggs, which come from the owners’ own farm. I also especially love the griddled and buttered biscuits served with homemade jam.