Your mother always told you to start your day with a healthy and filling breakfast. In South Carolina, that can mean anything from the traditional eggs and bacon to exotic breads and pastries. And of course, if you're anywhere near the Atlantic, nothing goes better with that Southern staple, grits, than fresh-from-the-sea shrimp.
Here's a sampling of some of the most popular places to satisfy your breakfast cravings.
Ray's Diner, 3110 Two Notch Road; (803) 661-8175
Nothing fancy: just great omelets, huge fluffy pancakes, endless hot coffee and silky-smooth grits. Oh, and the waitresses call everyone "hon." They serve lunch, too, but go for the breakfast.
The Original Pancake House, 4840 Forest Drive; (803) 782-6742
A staple of southeast Columbia, OPH has a variety of choices, but pancakes are its thing: apple, buttermilk, buckwheat and even coconut, wheat germ, Hawaiian and potato pancakes.
Cafe Strudel, 300 State St.; (803) 794-6634
In the heart of West Columbia's riverfront area, this cafe and espresso bar is renowned for its "hangover hash browns," plus new takes on traditional favorites. Also serves lunch, with beer and wine on hand.
Stax Omega Diner & Bakery, 72 Orchard Park Drive; (864) 297-6639
A family-owned business since 1988, Stax focuses on "comfort food." Favorites include shrimp and grits, tiramisu pancakes, Rocky Mountain crepes and blueberry granola "crunchcakes." You'll love the coffee, fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, too.
Mary Beth's Restaurant, 500 E. McBee Ave.; (864) 242-2535
In the heart of downtown Greenville, this cozy location serves up traditional breakfast fare. Specialty of the house is made-from-scratch blueberry pancakes, served up with a side of bacon.
The Farmer's Table, 149 S. Daniel Morgan Ave.; (864) 582-6554
Located in Spartanburg's booming downtown, this is just what the name implies: farm-to-table foods, including an all-day breakfast menu featuring apple crumb French toast, Bay Side Benedict and the BEC biscuit with bacon, egg and cheese.
The Skillet, 435 E. Main St.; (864) 342-9978
What's better than an authentic diner breakfast of made-to-order Southern staples cooked in an open-air kitchen? Arrive early as this small space fills quickly each morning.
Three Little Birds Cafe, 65 Windermere Blvd.; (843) 225-3065
A genuine locals place in South Windermere Shopping Center, it's difficult to find (behind the main section of the shopping center), but worth the effort. You'll enjoy good food at reasonable prices, like the shrimp and grits for $11. Regulars say they're never disappointed.
Page's Okra Grill, 302 Coleman Blvd.; (843) 881-3333
Warning: Get to this Mount Pleasant restaurant early, or plan on waiting on the outdoor deck. Parking can be difficult, too. Extensive menu for breakfast - and lunch - with large omelets, pancakes and a delicious shrimp and grits entree.
Hominy Grill, 207 Rutledge Ave.; (843) 937-0930
Located in a historic Charleston house, this popular breakfast spot has built a sterling reputation in a city chock-full of first-class cuisine. Chef Robert Stehling, a James Beard Award winner, is also renowned for his brunch.
Johnny D's Waffles and Bakery, 33301 N. Kings Highway.; (843) 448-6789
Billing itself as "the best breakfast spot in Myrtle Beach," this restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere with an American diner vibe. Chef Jamie Saunders offers up specialty waffles (try the red velvet variety) and pancakes, plus fresh-baked breads.
John's Restaurant, 402 24th Avenue N.; (843) 626-2016
Enjoy breakfast or brunch - lunch, too - in a low-key downtown atmosphere that includes patio seating, made-to-order omelets, homemade sausage, gravy and biscuits, pancakes and Belgian waffles. A tourists' favorite since the 1990s.
Corner Perk, 1297 May River Road; (843) 816-5674
Located in the middle of Old Town Bluffton, Corner Perk is noted for its dark-roast coffees, but they also serve up a great brunch featuring skillets, omelets, French toast, sandwiches and wraps - and to wash it down, mimosas, Moscow mules and coffee, of course.