Salem is a destination that's heavily associated with colonial history, specifically that of the Salem Witch Trials. It was also a seaport that was once home to famed gothic-romance author Nathanial Hawthorne, but even that isn't the reason we're giving travelers for wanting to visit. Rather, our reason is something a little more modern and appeals to everyone, not just history lovers: the breakfast food scene.

The culinary offerings in Salem are so tremendous that the founder of Salem Food Tours, Karen Scalia, was even quoted as saying they consider themselves "the number one food city on the North Shore." Here's what your stomach shouldn't be missing out on before you set off to explore this incredible city.


Early-Morning Fuel-Up To Start The Day

When it comes to starting the day off right, food is the number one way to put oneself in a good mood. In Salem, there's certainly no shortage of ways to do that, whether it's a dine-in restaurant, cafe, or bakery.

Pilgrim Diner, AKA Deb's Diner

This diner has been around for decades now and is a full staple in Salem. Fans and visitors alike have fallen in love with every aspect of this retro diner, from its atmosphere to its food. For a great dine-in breakfast, this menu, and location, are sure to strike a chord.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Pancakes and stuffed french toast
  • Address: 4 Boston St, Salem, MA 01970

Ugly Mug Diner

Just as the name implies, the Ugly Mug Diner does have some pretty unique mugs but they're in no way 'ugly!' It's another favorite with locals and visitors are sure to get a kick out of its uniquely named menu items and, of course, these crazy cups.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Elivs Waffle, Dueling Crustaceans
  • Address: 122 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970

Gulu-Gulu Cafe

Gulu-Gulu Cafe sees plenty of traffic on the weekends and it's in a space that's unique, fun, and super casual. The face recently underwent a new look and now the aesthetic is even more on-point with the food -and drinks - this cafe delivers.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Coffee, vegan dishes, the crepes
  • Address: 247 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

Jaho Tea & Coffee

Jaho Tea & Coffee is a fun place to stop in and get a barista-style coffee and a quick bite to eat. The interior of the cafe is just as wonderful as the coffee that's coming out of it, and another location was opened in Tokyo, Japan, not too long ago.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Gelato, any pastry, and the seasonal flavors (especially during the fall)
  • Address: 197 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

Jolie Tea Company

For those who prefer tea over coffee - caffeinated or not - Jolie Tea Company is conveniently located right across the street from the historic Hawthorne Hotel. The wide tea selection is sure to overwhelm tea lovers in the best way possible, and it's a nice place to relax and people-watch.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Scones, macarons, any of the house blends
  • Address: 316 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

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Caramel Patisserie

For anyone with a sweet tooth, Caramel Patisserie is the place to go. The macarons are a work of art, just as everything else in this bakery's display case. Dimitri and Sophie Vallier are the owners of this beautiful French patisserie and it's worth stopping in to see them and their baked goods.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Macarons, croissants, the Sophie
  • Address: 281 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

Jodi Bee Bakes

Those leading a vegan lifestyle will be happy to stumble upon Jodi Bee Bakes. This vegan bakery and cafe is a great way to start the day, especially when these baked treats look just as good as they taste.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Cinnamon rolls, cookies, the sandwiches
  • Address: 7 Church St, Salem, MA 01970

A&J King

Front Street Coffeehouse

For travelers who happen to be near Old Town Hall, the Front Street Coffeehouse is the place to go. For an all-around fantastic cup of joe and a sandwich or pastry, it's sure to provide a great start to the day. Smoothies and other coffee-based beverages can also be purchased here, so be sure to peruse the menu!

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Iced coffee and housemade sandwiches
  • Address: 20 Front St, Salem, MA 01970

Red Line Cafe

For a quick cup of coffee or tea, Red Line Cafe is the perfect mid-day or brunch option. Offering a great selection of crepes, pastries, and sandwiches, this chic cafe would also be a great lunch stop. Red Line Cafe even offers a mid-day happy hour from 3 PM to 5 PM during which pastries are 20% off, which is a great way to try multiple things.

  • Cost: $
  • Must-Try Dish(es): Panini and fresh-made crepes
  • Address: 188 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

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