The Friendly Toast, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
It’s not just owner Melissa Jasper’s epic collection of vintage kitsch that draws people into “the Toast” for late-night snacks, leisurely brunches, and everything between–though it’s awfully fun to sit at a ’50s dinette set, admire the old board games and Orange Crush ads lining the red walls, and play “count the Kewpie dolls” with your tablemates. It’s the food, as bold and layered as the decor: anadama and oatmeal breads made from scratch, gingerbread waffles with pomegranate molasses, pumpkin pancakes with Raisinettes, and a long list of stuffed-to-the-gills omelets. The restaurant drew such crowds that in 2009, Melissa opened a second branch in Cambridge, Massachusetts, promptly winning several “Best Breakfast” awards.
In either state, we’re partial to the “New Hampshire’s Finest Scramble,” a pitch-perfect combo of scrambled eggs, local goat cheese, asparagus, scallions, and bacon. With a thick slice of anadama on the side, it’s the ultimate New England wake-up call.