The cat's out of the bag: Worcester, New England's second-largest city, is brimming with new developments and growth. And with that comes a thriving food scene that includes some pretty stellar brunch spots that are worth the trip.

Shrimp and Yellow Grits and the Hangover Pub in Worcester, MA
Shrimp and Yellow Grits at the Hangover Pub
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The Hangover Pub

The menu at The Hangover Pub (New England’s first bacon gastro-pub) is influenced by Italian, Japanese, and Hispanic cuisine, and a little something bacon. That's right, they're using America's favorite food to create some of the most inventive dishes you can find in Central Massachusetts.

We're big fans of their 'modern-take-on-classic dishes' approach with weekly brunch specials, like Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffles. But when it comes to the regular menu, we couldn't be more in love with the Shrimp and Yellow Grits made with bacon, sharp white cheddar and cracked pepper polenta, topped with sauteed shrimp and a perfectly fried egg. It's an unforgettable dish. We recommend the Crab Rangoon made with scallion pancakes, eggs, kimchi, cream cheese, fresh crab meat and jalapeños, for a brunch option off the beaten path. And regional classics like delectable Porguguese rolls and doughnuts are always on the menu.

102 Green St., Worcester, 508-459-1511,

Also featured inThey're Bringin’ The Bacon At One Of The Coolest Pubs In Worcester.

Bloody Mary's at Armsby Abbey in Worcester, ma
Bloody Mary's at Armsby Abbey
Brian Samuels

Armsby Abbey

Armsby Abbey is a well-known "hidden gem" in Worcester, lauded for their top notch draft beer selection. But they're also doing good on brunch, churning out dishes with local ingredients, like Apple Pie pancakes with cinnamon maple syrup and honeycomb caramel, and Pastrami & Hash Browns made with smoked beef heart pastrami, crispy waffle pressed hash browns, pickled red onions, chive crème fraiche, and a soft egg.

No matter what you order, you're going to want to wash it down with a Bloody Mary from Armsby Abbey's award-winning bar. Each one starts with a house-made Bloody Mary mix—and with several heat, spirit, garnish and rim options—is customized to your individual taste.

144 Main St., Worcester, 508-795-1012,

Also featured in Get Out Of Town! The Best Restaurants Outside Of Boston.

The Buffalo Chicken Omelet at Lou Roc's Diner in Worcester, MA
The Buffalo Chicken Omelet at Lou Roc's Diner
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Lou Roc's Diner

Lou Roc’s Diner is a timeless Worcester staple known for its good food, fast service, and cheap prices. We can't get enough of their trademark 3-egg omelets, and oh my are they big! The menu is chock full of them, in addition to a variety of scrambles, Benedicts and pancakes, waffles, and french toast platters stuffed with ingredients like bacon and sausage, or various popular cereals. They're incredible.

Pro tip: Lou Roc's is cash only, so come prepared, and come early to avoid a wait. Closing time is 3pm.

1074 W Boylston St., Worcester, 508-852-6888,

Malawah with nutella, chocolate, and fresh berries. At Fatima's Cafe in Worcester, MA.
Malawah with Nutella, chocolate, and fresh berries
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Fatima's Café

They're serving East African vegetarian cuisine at Fatima’s Café, and breakfast is an all day affair with a variety that includes samosas and breakfast anjero (an African sourdough pancake). You're bound to find something that'll please your taste buds.

We love the Mandazi, an East African doughnut that's light, fluffy and incredibly tasty. (And 12 for $3 is an absolute steal.) But our hearts belong to the Malawah, a sweet crepe-like pancake served with honey Nutella spread and sliced banana. YUM. Match that with their home-brewed Kenyan Chai tea, and you’ve got a meal that you'll be thinking about for the rest of the day.

43 W Boylston St., Worcester, 508-762-9797,

Also featured in Worcester Has Become A Goldmine For Good Eats.

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes at The Broadway in Worcester, MA.
Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes
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The Broadway

How many brunch spots in Worcester can boast homemade ice cream? We honestly don't know, but we know the most important one is The Broadway. In addition to serving delicious New York-style deli sandwiches and handmade burgers, they're also making fresh, rich, super premium ice cream all year, and we can't get enough of it.

But we're here for breakfast, and The Broadway wears the "Best place for brunch on the weekend" patch proudly on its sleeve. Their specialty pancakes and french toast are out of this world, cooked to a golden brown and finished with generous portion of your favorite toppings. Always busy, but rarely a long wait, The Broadway is a must for Sunday brunch.

100 Water St., Worcester, 508-556-0218,

The steak breakfast panini at Livia's Dish in Worcester, MA.
The steak breakfast panini at Livia's Dish
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Livia's Dish

Livia’s Dish is a top notch brunch spot that specializes in taking classic dishes and putting an Italian/Mediterranean spin on them. We love their broken egg breakfast paninis stuffed with farm fresh eggs and ingredients like steak, fresh herbs and Portobello mushrooms, pressed on house-baked focaccia bread and served with a generous side of homefries.

But if that isn't enough to get you looking west, their bucket of bubbles will be. Available only on Sunday's, these delightful brunch treats come with a bottle of champagne and four different juices so you can create your own mimosas.

1394 Main St., Worcester, 508-926-8861,