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EC: Definitive Ratings of Breakfast Potatoes from 5 NYC Chains
Credit: Photos by Sarah Bellman

New York City is filled with a wide array of excellent restaurants, and the city's chains are just as unique. If you’re craving Mediterranean, Mexican, traditional fast food, or something healthy, you can find a chain restaurant that suits your needs. Of course, that goes for breakfast, too. But even with all these options, it can be tough to find the right place to get your morning feast on. So to track down the perfect spot for one of our key dining needs (breakfast potatoes), we decided to tour NYC to find the best potato dishes and rate them. From hash browns to home fries, breakfast potato sides are one of the most important breakfast staples, and a great way to judge if a fast food chain knows what they’re doing.

Sure, some days you may want to drop by a McDonald’s or Dunkin’ and grab a greasy but filling breakfast to-go, but when you’re in the city, why not try something special to New York? The endless options might seem daunting, but we’ve got you covered. So without further ado, here are definitive ratings of five popular New York fast food chains’ potatoes.

Fresh & Co

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Fresh & Co is an extremely popular chain, and a staple for hungry workers throughout the city. The food is just as you’d expect it would be: healthy, trendy, easy, and fast. While it’s best known for its lunch options, Fresh & Co also doles out some unique breakfast choices. For instance, it offers its own take on home fries, a vegetable medley that combines purple, orange, and yellow potatoes.

Fresh & Co overall can be very hit or miss. Unfortunately the potatoes here fall into the “miss” category. Although the dish was nicely seasoned, the potatoes were soggy, a little cold, and simply not as compelling as it sounds on paper. It wasn’t bad, per se, but at the same time, it wasn’t something worth going out of your way to order (check out their quinoa bowls instead).

Rating: 6.5/10

The Grey Dog

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While The Grey Dog has an interesting menu, when it comes to breakfast, the eclectic hot spot serves up simple food. If you’re feeling like ordering up something nice and basic, we suggest you try their home fries. The deep fried potato cubes embellished with sauteed onions are crisp, fresh, and tasty. It might not be anything too special, but it’s definitely a solid side.

Just as a side note, let’s talk about The Grey Dog’s ambiance. I mean, you could just pop in to get some breakfast to-go, but thanks to this chain’s quirky Americana vibe—for example the Union Square location has a giant wooden rooster that greets you when you come in—it’s worth enjoying your meal there.

Rating: 7.5/10

Hu Kitchen

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Hu Kitchen is all about real food. In fact, its motto is “get back to human.” The trendy, hippyish spot is popular among vegans, paleos, or people on a health kick, and their hash reflects that.

The small potato side features perfectly seasoned grated sweet potatoes mixed with a few pieces of onion. It doesn’t leave you feeling bloated throughout the rest of the day like some heavier potato dishes do. However, even though it was served early in the morning, the side was a tad cold. Also, if you plan to order other breakfast dishes, like their avocado toast or “no-yo” matcha parfait (which you probably should seeing that sweet potato hash’s serving size is small), the price can seem a bit steep. But don’t worry, the flavor made up for it.

Rating: 8/10


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by CHLOE. only serves vegan food, but you wouldn’t notice from the chain’s delicious options. It might be known as a popular lunch destination, but by CHLOE. also creates awesome breakfast dishes. Take their mouthwatering quinoa hash browns with “sour cream,” smoked paprika, and scallions. Not only is the side beautiful, but it has nuanced flavors with just the right amount of spice that will help you kick-start your day. This is a dish that would be harder to replicate at home, so it’s a fun treat to have before heading to the office.

You may not get a lot of bang for your buck (it’s $4 for a tiny potato pancake), but if you want to eat something special in the morning, it’s worth the splurge. Fun fact: It’s gluten free!

Rating: 9/10

Benvenuto Cafe

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This might come as a surprise to you, but all New York chains serve up fancy potato dishes. In fact, Benvenuto Cafe gives you exactly what you order: a steaming, ample serving of potatoes. It’s a no-frills, hearty side. However, it doesn’t exactly shine. Although there’s nothing wrong with simplicity, I wished there was more to the hash than meets the eye.

After the first few bites of the addicting crispy sizzling bits, you’re left eating what is essentially chunky mashed potatoes. That’s fine if it’s dished out in a small portion alongside some bacon and fried eggs, but alone in massive quantities, it can be extremely monotonous. Added ketchup and tabasco just wasn’t enough to have our palettes fully satisfied. Another issue with the dish was that they used too much salt. Look, salty potatoes are amazing, but we all have our limits.

Rating: 6/10