In order to be truly comforting I would argue that any breakfast worth waking up hungover for needs a starch component. Bread is all well and good, but some form of potato or corn is especially desirable as they tend to bring significant flavor enhancement to the meal. Frankly, there is something rather perverse about a diner breakfast without home fries, hash brown potatoes, or grits. Here then are five variations on the morning starch theme worth seeking out.
Grits: Pie's 'n Thighs
Southern comfort food specialist Pie's 'N Thighs may be best known for fried chicken biscuits but the restaurant also serves up some delightfully goopy grits with cheddar and hot sauce, either with eggs or, even better, with fried catfish.
Potato Pancakes: Veselka
"We used to make home fries but I wasn't happy with the quality" says Veselka owner Tom Birchard when question as to why he stopped serving the diner staple. It is unlikely anyone complained when the Ukrainian restaurant switched to the bronze hued potatoes pancakes — with their supremely crispy crust and a creamy interior — as the standard breakfast side. They are a compelling dish on their own or as part of a bacon or kielbasa and egg breakfast.
Home Fries: Joe Junior Diner
The home fried potato is the staple of any diner breakfast and Joe Junior serves a classic version. The diner goes through between two and four heaping hotel pans full of the potatoes during the day. At breakfast there will be a mountain of spuds on the griddle at all times.
Home Fries: Santina
Santina may have killed breakfast recently, but you can still get these impressively crisp and surprisingly piquant potatoes as early as 10 a.m.. Eater critic Ryan Sutton found them mesmerizing -- "they evoke spicy vegetarian pork rinds stuffed with more pork."
Hash Browns: Tick Tock Diner
The shredded hash brown has far more currency in diners outside of the city than it does in NYC greasy spoons, which tend to favor the home fried potato. But if you know where to look you can find the rarer, but arguably superior, shredded alternative. Like Tick Tock Diner, for example, which will serve you up a heaping tangle anytime, day or night.