By now we’re all pretty familiar with the various breakfast trends blowing up in the Bay Area, so it’s going to take a lot more than avocado on malty artisan bread to leave a mark on our breakfast memory. Luckily, Marin rises to the challenge. Locals experience morning nirvana in an expertly brewed cup of coffee, a location that’s perfect for pre-hike calories, or a signature dish at their favorite spots. Whatever does it for you in terms of morning meals, the following eateries have stood the test of time among Marinites for good reason. We invite you to stop for breakfast at one of the spots your neighbors can’t stop raving about and find your own reasons for coming back.
With its scenic location near the water, Cibo is an easy choice for a pitstop on your bike ride around the Bay. Order from their selection of simple yet wholesome breakfast offerings or grab one of their attractive pastries that are baked on-site, proudly distributed by founders and power couple Tera and Alfredo. Menu items include their poached egg on toast (pictured above) and their filling frittata with pea pesto. Coffee is certainly a mainstay of this establishment; the coffee bar is separate where caffeine fiends can grab an instant fix and where coffee is sold retail or wholesale. The best of what Cibo has to offer can be had with a latté and fruit danish.
A classic casual diner, Fred’s is the place to go for an all-American breakfast in huge portions and no frills. This place serves up all the batter and protein you could want in a quintessential American breakfast that’s great for the soul. In addition to the deep-fried French toast, there’s one thing regulars will never let a newcomer walk away without trying: Millionaire's Bacon — the thickest-sliced bacon baked for four hours with brown sugar, cayenne, chili flakes and black pepper. You wouldn’t be the first to make a beeline for Fred’s after reading that description. The sidewalk seating à la parisienne offers the perfect environment to enjoy bottomless mimosas too.
Family-run and operated with Maxine Gilbert at the helm, the Parkside Beach Cafe has been a landmark on the Stinson Beach shoreline since the 1960s, a go-to at the end of a beach day for families generation after generation. Their standard breakfast menu offers an assortment of civilized drinks for sipping in the AM beyond bloody marys and mimosas. No time for a leisurely breakfast? Don’t miss out and have a freshly brewed coffee with a bakery item from their espresso and pastry kiosk instead. In addition to their on-site bakery that churns out breads and pastries for retail or wholesale, you’ll also find a snack bar for beach treats and a marketplace to buy local products or handmade ceramics.
This local secret is a bakery and innovation center, an experimental laboratory where Craig Ponsford offers his goods to the community and creates products for clients all over the globe. Further to developing products for his clients, Craig also helps to optimize systems for bakeries, from small artisan scales to commercial operations. Featuring sweet and savory treats, Ponsford’s Place offers baked goods made of seasonally available ingredients and therefore the menu changes daily. Craig is no longer able to bake on a regular basis, so join the mailing list or like them on Facebook to receive updates on the next bread or pizza pop-up.
Shoreline Coffee Shop is another diner to make it on the list — this time with a bit of Mexican-inspired flair. The restaurant is conveniently on the way to popular hiking destinations, so don’t be surprised to see fellow dining patrons a few paces ahead of you on the trail! Because of its strategic proximity to scenic locations, you can expect major tourist crowds on the weekends. It’ll be worth it to end a day of trekking with the Machaca Hash — crisp hash browns topped with bulbous poached eggs and saucy braised beef. If you haven’t been wowed by avocado toast yet, try the Tennessee Valley Toast for one with bells and whistles.
No classic American diner is complete without kitschy hodge-podge decor. As the name suggests, Theresa and Johnny’s serves up comfort food that allows you to completely lose your inhibitions and order that cookies and cream milkshake to wash down the fried chicken and waffles. It’s a little weird that Cheddar Grits comes with the tell-tale, perfectly square orange cheese imprint, but really, would you expect anything different? This place is cash only, so come prepared otherwise you’ll meet a $1.75 fee at the ATM inside.