They say all good things must come to an end, and the owners of Bellingham’s popular Homeskillet recently announced they’re retiring from the restaurant game. It’s a sad moment for anyone who’s witnessed (and ingested) the greatness of this particular breakfast juggernaut, but thankfully there are plenty of other area eateries for those who crave something special first thing in the morning.

Whether you’re looking for a simple plate of eggs, bacon, and toast, omelets filled with almost any egg-friendly ingredient you can think of, pancakes or French toast, tofu scrambles or chicken fried steak, Whatcom County is full of places that serve up delicious, filling morning fuel. Here are just a few local options.

The Smokestack Diner

210 West Main Street in Everson

A new restaurant in an old building, the Smokestack makes meals from scratch using quality ingredients. Photo credit: Steven Arbuckle

Housed in a building more than a century old, the Smokestack Diner is also in the shadow of one of the few old smokestacks that remain in Whatcom County.

Owner Josh McConnell developed his culinary skills across the street at Herb Niemann’s steakhouse before opening his own place. “Being the owner and cook, I can start with a little bit better ingredients,” he says, referring to fresh-never-frozen, made-from-scratch dishes.

Photo courtesy: Smokestack Diner

Pie might not be considered by all to be a breakfast food, so avoid the counter if you don’t want to be tempted by those homemade beauties. Also, it’s said that the hash brown sandwich was invented here. Other people may disagree, so some research is definitely in order.

Three Flavors Kitchen

507 Nooksack Avenue in Nooksack

You can be as adventurous or as traditional as you want at Three Flavors in Nooksack. Photo credit: Steven Arbuckle

I must admit that when I first read the restaurant’s sign, which reads: Italian Cuisine, Mexican Food, Asian Delights, I anticipated a potentially confusing menu. But there was no need to worry, since breakfast is a mix of old favorites and fresh new twists. In addition to traditional Eggs Benedict, there are six other varieties, including Irish and Italian options. You can order your scramble with ham and cheese or with gyro meat and all the fixings.

Three Flavors Kitchen is a family-run business and also offers up an extensive list of sides, so you can pull together your ideal dream breakfast. Beyond that, you’ll find a full lunch menu, kids’ and seniors’ menus, the Italian, Asian and Mexican menus, the specials, appetizers and desserts, and more.

“We recommend you come in on an empty stomach and be ready to have a fresh, nice, homemade meal,” says Three Flavors’ owner and chef Nicholas Apreza. “Don’t let our enormous menu overwhelm you.”

Rusty Wagon Old Tyme Food

6937 Hannegan Road in Lynden

There’s something new to see around every corner at Rusty Wagon Old Tyme Food. Photo credit: Steven Arbuckle Photo credit: Steven Arbuckle

I recommend you take the trip to the Rusty Wagon when you have a little extra time on your hands. The menu has plenty to offer, with traditional favorites, omelets, hotcakes, and French toast. The “Pile-Ups” are also certainly worth perusing. You’ll find different combinations of meats, veggies, cheeses, hash browns, and gravy stacked up high enough to satisfy any hunger.

Eggs Benedict is just one of the dozens of delicious breakfast options served up at the Rusty Wagon. Photo courtesy: Rusty Wagon

But while you wait for your food to arrive, be sure to take in all the décor both inside and out. Kids of all ages will enjoy the giant wagon, the character cutouts for souvenir pictures, the little sheriff’s office, post office, telegram office, and bank—every time you turn a corner, there’s something else to look at.

Hilltop Restaurant

5645 Guide Meridian in Bellingham

When you first step into the Hilltop, the large, wide-open room with big booths and no clutter makes it possible to mistake the restaurant for a franchise in a national chain. But a look at the menu proves it’s a much homier sort of establishment, with specialties like center cut ham steak and eggs, corned beef and hash, top sirloin and eggs, pecan waffles, and much more.

It’s also clear that the folks at the Hilltop don’t want you to leave hungry. Their dishes are full of the kind of rich and wholesome ingredients that can fuel a person for any adventure and remind us why breakfast is called the most important meal of the day. They also offer catering, to bring the goodness to you.

Old Town Cafe

316 West Holly Street in Bellingham

Long a staple of downtown Bellingham, Old Town is the place to go for foodies, and also those with dietary considerations. Photo credit: Steven Arbuckle

If you haven’t been to the Old Town, you might need to reconsider how you spend your mornings! As you step down through the front door onto the hardwood floors, with wooden booths and tables all around and huge windows flooding the rooms with natural light, you’ll know you’re in the right place. There’s also a community table for singles who don’t need to tie up a whole table, or for avoiding the waiting list.

Two recent patrons enjoy Old Town breakfasts, orange juice mimosas, and oat milk lattes in the eatery’s outdoor seating area. Photo courtesy: Old Town Cafe

The menu is familiar and adventurous at the same time and will meet many diverse dietary needs. Most ingredients are local and organic, and they take care to use healthy flours, oils, and sweeteners in all of their homemade pastries and meals.

Love tofu scrambles? Old Town offers several takes on the dish, including a Greek tofu scramble with fresh spinach, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and garlic, as well as a garden tofu scramble with mushrooms, red onions, garlic, grated carrots, and red cabbage.

Little Cheerful Cafe

133 East Holly Street in Bellingham

Photo credit: Stacee Sledge

The Cheerful is a mainstay on the local breakfast map for a few reasons. The menu is strong, with an array of scrambles and omelets, some traditional items, and a few more adventurous specialties. There are some simple dishes, and an extensive list of sides for building a custom breakfast. The downtown Bellingham location can’t be beat, with big plate-glass windows that look out on the endless entertainment at the intersection of Holly and Railroad.

Everything is tied together with quality ingredients and, importantly, a solid sense of humor. They also dispense hot meals to people who can’t afford them, making the choice to support them an easy one.

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