Kind Coffee's bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on an everything bagel

As much as I like the idea of it, I am not good at being an early riser—but I do love coffee and breakfast. In fact, one of the only ways you’re going to get me out of the house before 8 a.m. is with a breakfast sandwich that far surpasses anything I could make at home. Whether you like yours on a bagel or a Portuguese bolo levedo, or whether you like sliced flank steak, Manchego cheese, or tempeh bacon with blackberry habanero sauce, Portland’s got a brekkie sandwich for all kinds. Here are some of our favorites.

Bernstein’s 

Rightly beloved bagel spot Bernstein’s has an impressive array of eggy morning sandwiches on offer, but for my money, the best-bet breakfast option is their lemony, well-spiced trout salad. For a respectable $7, you’ll get fresh-tasting fish folded into an irresistible bomb of sour cream, sweet fennel, citrus, and Old Bay seasoning on one of the shop’s legendary hand-rolled bagels (personally, my loyalties lie with the everything). —CR

Cafe Rowan

The three breakfast sandwich choices at this airy storefront at SE 39th and Holgate are well-edited, each one starring fried eggs. If you like it runny, make sure to specify this to the kitchen; otherwise, it will come out firm-verging-on-crispy. We tried “The Dame,” a tribute to the Trailblazer, for $8 with house-made, satisfyingly savory sausage, manchego cheese, gochujang, and an aioli made with the ubiquitous-for-good-reason Mama Lil’s peppers, all on a squashy Grand Central Bakery brioche bun. Verdict: An absolutely elevated and heartfelt variation on the classic Sausage McMuffin with Egg, but could have used even more of the spice and heat from the gochujang and aioli to offset the richness of the familiar egg-meat-cheese combo. —JS

Ditto 

When eggs, meat, and cheese are both the building blocks of breakfast sandwiches and the leading banned items of a vegan diet, there isn’t much left aside from the bread. Or so we thought. The 100% plant based food cart DITTO is giving vegans a chance to enjoy this previously illicit breakfast. Slinging sandwiches with tempeh bacon, vegan sausage patties, “egg” patties and vegan cheese, DITTO offers that same comfort food feel without any animal products. Try their popular "Bea," an eggy patty with tempeh bacon, grilled apples, cheddar cheese, and their sweet and spicy blackberry habanero sauce, all squeezed into an everything-seasoned English muffin. —MS

Either/Or 

First and foremost, I would like to say that I have been eating Either/Or’s Eggs Ray Spex sandwich for the better part of two years, and it has just come to my attention that its name is a pun on “X-Ray Spex.” Crucially, it is good enough to stand on its own, even if you, like me, are too dense to vibe with its linguistic whimsy. Indeed: this little number from this Elliott Smith-nodding coffee shop-slash-bar is probably my favorite breakfast sandwich in the entire city. The first key to the Spex’s success is its choice of bread: two sweet, pliable slices of Portuguese bolo levedo, which house a fried egg, obscenely melty cheddar, and one of the least-tacky sriracha aiolis of all time. The real kicker, though, is the gingery, scallion-filled sausage patty, which is loaded with secret-weapon shiitake mushrooms that wrap the whole production in an irresistible blanket of umami goodness. —CR

Fried Egg I’m in Love

This music pun-themed breakfast sandwich shop started as a single cart and now boasts two cart locations and a brick and mortar on SE Hawthorne, propelled by its signature sandwich: the Yolko Ono. Oniony sausage patties get slathered with pesto, layered with a fried egg, and sandwiched between two slices of buttery toasted sourdough. —KH

Kind Coffee 

At this no-nonsense cart, owner Francesca Cucolo and crew churn out endlessly customizable fried egg breakfast sandwiches at an impressive speed, plus tasty drip coffee and espresso drinks, all at a price markedly lower than most other shops in town. Our go-to on an early weekend morning is the sausage, egg, and American cheese sandwich on an English muffin. The housemade sausage patty is the star, juicy pork enhanced by herbs and a maple-like sweetness. The sausage’s sophisticated flavors pair perfectly with the nostalgic creamy, melty American cheese, while the English muffin soaks up all that meaty goodness. —KH

Lottie & Zula’s 

The Buzzard's Bay from Lottie & Zula's

This self-described Southern New England-style sandwich shop has a wide array of breakfast noshes, from the FRED (basically a brunchy burger) to the BOB (a sausage patty with egg, lettuce, and cheese on a hoagie). But if you’re in the mood for a well-done, classic sandwich, we think the Buzzard’s Bay is a good way to go: bacon, a fried egg, and melty cheddar and American cheese on a slightly sweet, fluffy, crispy-topped bolo levedo. That’s a Portuguese muffin, for all who are unfamiliar. Move over, English. —KH

Meat Cheese Bread 

This Portland sandwich mainstay reimagines a diner breakfast in sandwich form: steak and eggs. Thinly sliced flank steak—complete with little bits of fat for maximum juiciness—gets layered with a runny fried egg, crumbles of blue cheese, and a creamy-tangy blue cheese aioli. But one of the biggest stars is the housemade roll, an herby, fluffy delight that’s perfectly toasted and crackles gently with each bite. —KH

Nana’s Guilty Pleasures 

The sausage and egg breakfast sandwich from Nana's on brioche.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have your own nana nearby for some good home cooking, Nana’s Guilty Pleasures in Westmoreland is here to fill that void. Owner Kim Sutter opened this cart in 2018 right next to her childhood home, which she still lives in today and was once home to her mother’s naturopathic and chiropractic practice that opened in 1945. She’ll chat you up while she helms the kitchen all on her own, slinging sandwiches like housemade sausage with cheddar, egg, and avocado on fluffy-sweet Grand Central brioche. Other things that make this place exceptional: free coffee upon request, and housemade cinnamon rolls with butter cream cheese frosting. Because they’re frosted to order, you can ask for as little or as much as you’d like, but this frosting is so tangy, creamy, and lightly sweetened that we recommend going for the max—what Nana refers to as “gag me” levels. —KH 

*Note: Nana's will be closed from August 29-Sept 15 (Nana's getting married!)

Prince Coffee

If a stroopwafel, this coffee shop’s housemade signature treat, counts as a breakfast sandwich (hey, it’s two wafers with caramel in the middle!), then that’s absolutely the sandwich to get here—cinnamony wafers that straddle the border between crispy and chewy, with notes of toasty sugar from the caramel. But if you’re in the mood for something savory, the pesto sandwich is a solid choice: a fluffy disc of baked egg with cashew pesto, melted Boerenkaas cheese (think nutty, creamy Gouda), and bitter arugula to balance things out, all on an English muffin. Of course, don’t miss the coffee either, made with beans from some of Portland’s best roasters, including Proud Mary and Heart. —KH

Toki 

Brunch at Toki, the January 2021-opened restaurant from Peter Cho and Sun Young Park of Han Oak, is a genre-busting phenomenon (see the excellent bao cheeseburger), and their pork belly breakfast sando is no exception. Super-juicy koji-cured grilled pork belly is the star, flanked by a fluffy egg omelette and gooey American cheese, and sandwiched inside a lightly sweet, airy bao bun sprinkled with everything seasoning. For vegetarians, there’s also an option that swaps out the pork belly for japchae. —KH

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