Best cities in America to eat brunch and where Denver ranks

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Following the darkness of night, breakfast food transforms tired zombies into functional humans.

The brunchy bounty of eggs and coffee brings near-magical properties to the table. As Ron Swanson, a character on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” said, “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.”

Breakfast food enthusiasts tend to flock to the restaurants that can fulfill their mimosa-fueled desires.

These brunch spots can hold a key place in weekend culture. However, not everything is sunny-side up.

Critics of brunch note how the meal is a marker of gentrification and the “gaping divide between America’s haves and have-nots.”

The New York Daily News labeled brunch as a decadence and “ritual that is corroding the soul of America.”

Whether brunch butters your toast or scrambles your eggs, the U.S. hosts a multitude of restaurants that cater to breakfast lovers.

The data scientists at FindTheHome, a real estate intelligence site powered by Graphiq, crunched the numbers to determine the best cities to find the top breakfast or brunch restaurants.

Using data from Yelp and the 2014 American Community Survey, we created a comprehensive rating that accounts for quality, popularity and quantity. Our “Breakfast Score” equally weighs the following data:

  • Density of 4-plus Yelp Star breakfast establishments
  • Reviews per restaurant, normalized
  • Number of breakfast and brunch restaurants per 10,000 people

Only cities with a population of more than 100,000 people and at least 50 breakfast or brunch restaurants were considered in the analysis. Restaurants needed at least one Yelp rating to be included. The following list of top cities for breakfast aficionados is ranked from lowest to highest “Breakfast Score.”

Note: Because some cities are simply more active on Yelp than others, we used the number of reviews at chain restaurants (IHOP, Denny’s Starbucks and Applebee’s) to normalize the “reviews per restaurant” figure across locations.

Washington

Breakfast Score: 73.8
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 0.8
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 174.0
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 2.8
Number of breakfast restaurants in Washington: 175

Population: 633,736

New Orleans

Breakfast Score: 76.3
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 1.7
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 128.0
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 3.3
Number of breakfast restaurants in New Orleans: 121

Population: 368,471

San Diego

Breakfast Score: 77.9
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 1.1
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 184.9
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 2.1
Number of breakfast restaurants in San Diego: 287

Population: 1,341,510

Denver

Breakfast Score: 84.0
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 1.1
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 282.1
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 2.4
Number of breakfast restaurants in Denver: 155

Population: 633,777

San Francisco

Breakfast Score: 85.1
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 1.8
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 168.9
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 3.6
Number of breakfast restaurants in San Francisco: 298

Population: 829,072

Paradise, Nev.

Breakfast Score: 86.0
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 0.9
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 272.4
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 3.3
Number of breakfast restaurants in Paradise: 74

Population: 223,182

Minneapolis

Breakfast Score: 90.0
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 1.5
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 299.1
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 2.9
Number of breakfast restaurants in Minneapolis: 114

Population: 394,424

Charleston, S.C.

Breakfast Score: 94.6
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 1.9
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 226.1
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 4.5
Number of breakfast restaurants in Charleston: 56

Population: 125,458

Berkeley, Calif.

Breakfast Score: 95.3
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 2.0
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 209.1
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 4.5
Number of breakfast restaurants in Berkeley: 52

Population: 115,688

Portland, Ore.

Breakfast Score: 95.9
Density of 4-plus Yelp star breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 2.2
Reviews per restaurant, normalized: 248.0
Number of breakfast restaurants per 10,000 people: 3.7
Number of breakfast restaurants in Portland: 220

Population: 602,568

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