To the late Ann Sather,
I'm writing to express my gratitude for your restaurant hosting me for breakfast during my visit to Chicago. It was not as windy as they say, but the city was not short on excitement. The day was spent in Wrigleyville, where the sin tax is as merciless as the bus drivers (though not many other places will you see a group of college students nonchalantly attempt to load a recliner onto a city bus), and it began with a good old fashioned sit down breakfast at your Broadway location. Had I known of its existence, a more serious attempt would have been made to dine at your original Belmont location to see where the magic all started.
Nonetheless, your attempt at luring a hungry passerby in from the street with wafting scents of baked cinnamon and melted sugar was successful - the infamous sticky buns and cinnamon rolls were undoubtedly the largest I've encountered thus far.
While I'll admit I've always been a sucker for diners, your restaurant has charm - paper menus, crammed tables, murals painted with warm colors and a glass case stacked with the aforementioned sweets - and on that morning it had the quiet hum of clanking dishes and private conversations which added a certain comfort to the experience. The service was straightforward; almost too straight forward at times, but still commendable considering server put a stop to his round in order to engage with the toddler from a neighboring table, doing so by calling her by first name. I couldn't help but feel that this was the type of joint that would suck you into becoming a weekend regular and then be the reason for you jumping up three waist sizes, all before you know it.
The staff was cordial and swift at first. Shortly following the initial water deliverance came our coffee ($2.25); a brew that flowed with a rich density like all bottomless drip should, but this would be the climax of attention from our server. After delivering our plates - for myself the Chicken Fajita Omelet ($11.95) and for my eating partner a Denver Omelet - our server seemingly disappeared without making a reappearance for even a single refill of coffee. It must be pointed out that while a casual outing such as this does not rely on highly attentive service, excuses were in short due to the dining room being otherwise nearly empty.
No less, the dish and it's two sides, a bowl of fruit and mound of potatoes, was a portion large enough to compensate for the lagging service. With its careful assortment of varying colors, the side fruit was so intense and commanding in size and flavor that I might have guessed it to be genetically modified (even if it is, I won't tell anyone). Sour peaches, ripe cherries and juicy watermelon were among the prime components, all of which helped curb the seemingly insatiable sweet craving created by your pastries.
Though listed as hash browns, my potatoes arrived as a heap of quartered and halved potatoes that were tender and rich with oil and salt (it might be wise to specify this distinct difference for the finicky type). Before even slicing into the omelet I began to feel full. Though, once I did cut into the omelet; which was filled to the brim with a generous portion of bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and chicken, I found it difficult to stop. Outside of maintaining its composure, the actual omelet faltered with flavor and remained uninspiring. Not even the side of 'homemade salsa' could do much to restore balance, ultimately leaving the seared edges of fajita chicken and roast bell peppers to assert interesting flavors.
Though unexciting, the meal was satisfying as it hit on a number of standard tasting points while providing the sort of warm atmosphere one seeks on an early morning in unfamiliar territory. Had the service been more attentive (a line cook came to clear our plates), I may mark your operation as one essential for revisit, but it's difficult to ignore negligence in favor of above-average food. If I'm to return, it will only be for copious amounts of sticky buns and cinnamon rolls.
(Items ordered: Coffee, Chicken Fajita Omelet)
Rating: 6 & 1/2 Sour Peaches (out of Ten)
3415 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657