I don't expect a lot of people to feel sorry for me. But lately, my job as F&W's restaurant editor has gotten more difficult. It used to be hard enough to pick a place for dinner; now, many of the best spots are also open for breakfast, lunch and late-night snacks. So I don't just have to choose restaurants, I have to choose meals. There is, however, an upside: I can eat well all the time. Here, great dishes for all hours from excellent places around the US.
A perfect example is 24 Diner in Austin: There, chef Andrew Curren offers the exact same menu of reinvented American standards 24 hours a day. "I swore I wouldn't open a restaurant that served brunch. And now I have a place that serves brunch all the time," he says. One of his best sellers is a cheesy beef-and-pork meat loaf that he serves with onion gravy. "I've seen customers order the meat loaf as early as 10 a.m., and as lateor is that early?as 5 a.m."
There are a few reasons why chefs and restaurateurs are working extra-hard these days. It makes economic sense: If you're open for three or four meals a day instead of just one, you probably make more money. And then there's the rise of the really good local restaurant. "The defining characteristic of a neighborhood place is that it's open for every meal," says Noah Bernamoff, chef-owner of Brooklyn, New York's Mile End, which serves a satisfying dish of scrambled eggs with strips of fried salami and watercress. "You want to be there for your 'hood all the time."