Busy mornings and caffeine deprivation aside, breakfast doesn’t seem like that tough of a meal. Most of us can scramble eggs or cook oatmeal, and it’s not that hard to make waffles or pancakes. And if you’re a cold-cereal fan, hey, just add milk.
And yet breakfast-centric restaurants are booming. Tarrant County already has some long-established spots, such as Ol’ South Pancake House and Paris Coffee Shop in Fort Worth, and Old West Cafe in Arlington, Bedford and Grapevine, and that’s just what came to mind. Newer spots like Brewed and Righteous Foods are doing their own takes on wakeup food.
Maybe we just like having someone make those pancakes for us, especially if they do something wacky like throw cinnamon chips in them.
A half-dozen breakfast-centric chains — Chicago-based Yolk, Phoenix’s Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles, Florida’s First Watch (which took over the Egg and I chain), Portland-founded Original Pancake House and Woodlands-based Black Walnut Cafe — have opened or added locations in Tarrant County this year. Bread Winners, a small Dallas-based chain, has locations in the works in Fort Worth and Trophy Club.
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And Louisiana-based Another Broken Egg Cafe opened its first Tarrant location in Southlake in October. During the next few days, we’ll be doing a breakfast crawl in an attempt to visit all these restaurants, and Another Broken Egg is where we started.
Another Broken Egg Cafe
The history: According to a release, Ron Green found the first Another Broken Egg Cafe in 1996 in Old Mandeville, Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. The chain now has nearly 60 restaurants across the southeastern United States, California, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas.
Double R Restaurant Group, the largest franchise partner of Another Broken Egg Cafe, opened the Southlake location. There are other Another Broken Egg Cafes in Texas, including one in Dallas, but the Southlake location is the first one under Double R, which plans two more in DFW by 2017.
The vibe: Friendly and laid-back: Even the guy cleaning up the small patio at the Southlake location gave a pleasant greeting, and hosts and severs were accommodating without being obtrusive. The restaurant has a pleasant orange-and-muted-yellow scheme, with some attractive lighting, some knickknack shelves and a few decorative shutters adorning one wall. If you can get past the parking-lot view, the patio looks out over some green athletic fields.
There is a bar area, as well as a main dining room. The only two TVs I noticed, both mercifully muted, were behind the bar, one airing CNN and one ESPN. The only thing off about the vibe was the music, which skewed toward contemporary artists like Katy Perry and Wiz Khalifa. One thing I’m noticing more and more at restaurants is music that is totally at odds with the atmosphere, and while the music might fit listening to your car radio while you’re scarfing something down during morning drive, it really didn’t fit the Another Broken Egg ambiance.
The food: The breakfast menu is divided among apps, “From the Griddle,” omelets and scramblers, a half-dozen Benedicts, and “The Healthy Side.” Four items are listed under “Specialty Brunches,” including huevos rancheros, which might make many Texans look at the “specialty” word a little quizzically, since they’re a pretty common breakfast item around these parts.
Much is intriguing. Blackberry grits? Hmm. Baked Brie Delight — apples, pecans, raisins sauteed in a Grand Marnier butter sauce over warmed brie — sounds worth trying out. Cinnamon Roll French Toast and Thick Sliced Hawaiian French Toast get my sweet tooth’s attention.
But I was distracted by the seasonal menu, available till Jan. 1, with such items as Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake French Toast and — this is all one item — City Grits and Crawfish Souffle. And the Cranberry Turkey Benedict ($10.99), which I had, because I have a thing for foods with twists on Thanksgiving.
Described as “sliced turkey and poached eggs over toasted stuffing squares, topped with hollaindaise and cranberry chutney,” the Benedict came in a roomy skillet-style dish with a lot of extra space, making room for a good runny-yolk flow from the poached eggs. The chutney had some full cranberries in it, making for some appealing tartness, and the stuffing squares put the comfort-food aspect over the top. The hollandaise, when isolated, was a little overbearing, but mostly it played a supporting role.
Coffee was fairly standard, but refilled steadily (and it comes in a very attractive mug). You have the option of adding Kahlua, Bailey’s or Godiva liqueur to it for an extra $2.49, which certainly makes it more interesting. There are several coffee drinks and breakfast cocktails.
The verdict: Another Broken Egg is a good start on this breakfast crawl. There are items that will call us back (including some burgers on the lunch menu). But it’s just a start — we’re on to the next egg, broken or not.