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Southern-inspired breakfast
Shrimp and grits from Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, North Carolina.

What: Country ham, shrimp and grits, biscuits—you know what we’re talking about. If you’re like us, once you’re below the Mason-Dixon line you gotta have some Southern food…particularly for breakfast. Asheville does not disappoint. In fact, most of its Southern food is raised up a notch, combining super fresh, local ingredients; lots of vegetarian-friendly options; and creative twists on old classics.

Where: Southern-comfort eatery Early Girl Eatery (8 Wall St., map) knows it’s good at breakfast, so serves it all day. The restaurant bills itself as farm to table, partnering with a host of local farms, breweries, and other suppliers.

When: Mon, 7:30am-3pm; Tues-Fri, 7:30am-9pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-9pm

Order: We loved the spicy shrimp and creamy, stone-ground grits ($10, pictured), with andouille sausage; the smothered biscuits and thick (Benton’s smoky bacon) gravy, which we paired with local pork sausage; the beautifully plated fried green tomato, stacked with goat cheese over a bed of grits; and the “Early Girl Benny” sandwich, a tasty Southern take on eggs Benedict with spinach, tomato gravy, avocado, and poached eggs atop grit cakes. Much of the food here is made from scratch, and it shows. Bonus: Local beers and delicious Fire From the Mountain hot sauce, based in Zionville, North Carolina.

Alternatively: Another great all-day-breakfast joint is Sunny Point Cafe (626 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, map), with appropriately bright and airy indoor-outdoor seating and a beautiful garden in the back, from which the restaurant sources whenever possible. More touristy is the popular Tupelo Honey Cafe (two locations including 12 College St., map), which similarly puts a creative, locally grown, scratch-made spin on Southern classics, with plenty of goat-cheese grits and sweet-potato pancakes to go around. In South Asheville, Corner Kitchen (3 Boston Way, map) is yet another good bet, a century-old home turned restaurant with a good-looking weekend brunch menu and a lovely porch on which to eat it.

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