Sun’z Up Cafe – Wildwood Crest, NJ

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We recently took a family day trip to the sandy shores of Wildwood Crest, NJ to soak up some sun and have some beach fun. It was our first chance to visit the ocean this summer, and my first time in about 14 years! We just so happened to pick the absolute hottest day of the season so far, so we knew we’d need to start the day with a good breakfast to keep our energy up. Since I hadn’t been to the shore in forever, I had no idea about the breakfast scene there, so I turned to Yelp for assistance. I discovered that The Wildwoods have absolutely no shortage of great local breakfast places to choose from. Ultimately, we decided to begin our day with some morning grub from Sun’z Up Cafe in Wildwood Crest, which was just a few blocks from our beach destination.

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Sun’z Up Cafe is a great little spot along New Jersey Ave, sort of on the outskirts of all the hustle and bustle that is Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. It was a bright and cheerful place, just what you’d expect from a breakfast and brunch cafe near the shore. The beach-themed decor was nicely done without being too tacky. Even though the space was small (the picture above is 1/2 of the entire restaurant), it didn’t feel closed in, thanks to one whole wall being large windows that looked out over their outdoor patio area, in addition to the big windows in the front and on the opposite wall, too. Lots of sunshine!

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The outdoor covered patio was a really nice space as well, but it was just too darn hot for us, and for most folks, on this particular day. Otherwise, I can imagine that this area is probably prime real estate most mornings and especially on weekends.

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We started with some coffee and iced tea. I’m not sure what it is, but I really dig the whole drinking from mason jars thing. The boy said it made his chocolate milk taste better too. It’s magic!

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One of the things that drew me to this place when searching online was the fact that their menu included some pretty great-sounding specialties. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice plate of fried eggs & bacon as much as any breakfast-loving fool does, but sometimes it’s nice to venture off the standard diner breakfast page of the menu.

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When all was said and done, we ended up with a nice mix of specialty dishes and classic breakfast.

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The wife ordered something called The Bliss ($7.95), which honestly was indeed oh so blissful! I really wish I would have grabbed a closeup photo of this dish so you could truly appreciate it for what it was. It consisted of 3 scrambled eggs, diced bacon, chives and cream cheese that were whipped together until it created a light and airy whip – almost like a fancy spread – atop a toasted English muffin. I really have never tasted anything like it. The wife raved about it until I had to try a bite. It was absolutely amazing! It was creamy and light, and yet very filling and hardy. We decided that we’ve got to try to make this at home! It was excellent on the muffin. Her meal also came with a side of fried potatoes that were done nicely. She also got a side of toast, which was sort of weird; I think our server may have been new or just filling in, because I don’t believe the dish usually comes with extra carbs.

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We also ordered a Short Stack of Cornmeal Pancakes ($4.95). This was my idea, because I was sort of in a pancake mood, but I didn’t want just pancakes for breakfast, so the wife agreed to split a short stack (2) with me. Cornmeal pancakes are just something we never really order when we go out, but something we both enjoy. These were light and yummy. I missed the crispy edges that I’m accustomed to when Mrs. Grub Guy makes these at home though.

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For second breakfast (this is becoming a bad habit for me), I ordered the Huevos Rancheros ($8.25). It was a huge portion that could have probably fed two people (the picture doesn’t capture the true girth of the entree). It was a pretty tasty and satisfying version made up of layered crispy corn tortillas, a big helping of a refried bean medley which was really quite good, two over easy eggs, cheddar jack cheese, sour cream, salsa and jalapenos. I’d score this dish a triple…had I been offered some Sriracha to top it off, and maybe thought to add some avocado, it would have been a home run for sure. Overall, a really good breakfast, though.

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Our boy, Steven, is a creature of habit. It doesn’t matter where we go, we can always figure on him ordering his favorite breakfast dish, the French Toast (Full Stack – $6.45). He chugged down his jar of milk before the food arrived at our table, so his belly was pretty full – thus Dad had to help him a little bit with this (third breakfast?!?). It came as three big slices of cinnamon and vanilla-battered, Texas-style toast, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. There were no complaints out of the boy, or me. It was really very tasty.

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I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Sun’z Up Cafe for breakfast the next time we plan a trip to the shore. The food was really, really good, the prices were reasonable, and the staff was friendly. The only critique I might give was that our server was really kind of slow and seemed not to know the menu very well at all (she didn’t know they served cornmeal pancakes), but again, that would certainly be understandable if she were new. It could also be because the cafe was packed and really busy during our entire visit. Either way, it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the meal.

Anybody who knows the Wildwoods knows that there are literally dozens of little cafe’s, diners, bars and other eateries all up and down the shore. And while you could probably pick any of them and have a decent breakfast experience, make sure you keep Sun’z Up Cafe in mind next time you make the trip.

Sun’z Up Cafe is located at 6708 New Jersey Ave, Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Sunday, 7:00 am – 3:00 pm. For more info, check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

HubBub Coffee – Radnor, PA

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve tried several local roasters and coffee shops, and I’ve really been enjoying getting to know the local coffee scene more. So when Emily Kovach of HubBub Coffee invited me to have a cuppa joe with her at their Radnor coffee shop, I was all in. Still being somewhat new to the area, I had only tried HubBub once before, but hadn’t yet visited any of their three Philly-area shops. This shop on the Main Line is their newest, with the others being in Center City at 1717 Arch Street, and across the street from their original truck location at 3736 Spruce St.

I got to hear a lot of the history behind HubBub Coffee from Emily, including the story of how the company began as a coffee truck, born out of the memories of the cozy, street corner coffee kiosks that owner Drew Crockett came to love while spending time in Australia. When he returned to Philly, he wanted to recreate that same spirit, and finally did so by offering his coffee from the window of a small truck that ultimately became his own coffee company origin.

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The Radnor shop is a really warm and inviting space. It’s stylishly designed, decorated in lots of natural wood with pops of brightness (like the red chairs) scattered throughout. The laid back atmosphere is definitely there, which is essential in achieving the coffee shop vibe that all shops strive for.

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The long counter is fully stocked with brewing equipment for just about anything your coffee-loving heart could want. They serve a lot of your standard drinks like pour overs, espresso, chai, cold brew and more. The baristas were very friendly and seemed pretty knowledgeable about the beverages they served.

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As we sat and talked about the history of HubBub, my 10-year old boy Steven and I enjoyed one of their delicious cinnamon rolls. HubBub uses local food purveyors to provide the delicious snacks that they serve at all of their stores. Our pastry was made by a local bakery in Narberth called Au Fournil. They also serve donuts by Dottie’s Donuts, bagels by The Original Bagel in Broomall and lots of other yummy treats. Just about everything – even down to the peanut butter they use – is locally sourced. That’s just awesome.

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I tried their Nitro cold brew coffee, which was done really well. It’s one of my favorite summer treats. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend that you give it a go when you visit. For those who are not familiar with the Nitro brew, the coffee is pushed through the tap with nitrogen; the nitro bubbles are much smaller than carbon dioxide, so rather than being bubbly and fizzy it’s smooth and creamy. The nitrogen ascends to the top to create a small layer of foam. The resulting drink really highlights the coffee’s flavor profile, and it’s devoid of bitterness.

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I also sampled an Iced latte, which is made with whole milk from Trickling Springs Creamery out of Chambersburg, PA. It too was refreshing and delicious.

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Another really cool thing about HubBub is that you can now get their cold brew coffee poured into a growler to take with you. To me, this would be perfect to carry out when you stop in for your morning cup. Trust me, your office mates will thank you! This would be awesome to take to a picnic, cookout, or even to the shore. What’s even better is that you can now actually get this delivered…um, yeah, that’s right…DELIVERED…throughout the Philadelphia area thanks to HubBub’s partnership with Caviar food delivery!

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HubBub recently started roasting their own coffee, and now sells beans at all of their shops. They also feature several guest roasters throughout the year and offer bags of their coffee as well. Smaller, upstart roasters around the country are getting some extra exposure thanks to HubBub. Current Single origin, guest roasters include Metric Coffee out of Chicago, Neat Coffee out of Connecticut, and ReAnimator from right here in Philly.

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They also recently started offering Juice Hub juices, a 100% raw and organic, cold pressed juice line made locally by Juice Dr. in Ardmore. Emily generously offered me a couple of bottles to sample. I’m now a big fan! I especially loved the pineapple, carrot, turmeric and lime version. Sweet. Spicy. Delicious.

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I really enjoyed spending the afternoon visiting Hubbub Coffee and learning about the company. It’s a great local business that is truly passionate about supporting other local businesses. I love that. They are sincere in their quest for producing the best coffee available, and then providing that product to the people of Philadelphia. It’s a business I will definitely continue to support.

And you can too….

HubBub Coffee has generously offered a gift pack to give away to one of my readers which includes a $10 gift card and other cool HubBub swag! It’s the perfect way to introduce you to their product (you can use the gift card at any of their three shops). If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post, or on any of my social media sites, and let me know your favorite coffee drink. I will randomly choose a winner on Sunday evening, 7/24, at 11:00pm. I will announce the winner here on Monday morning!

I’d like to thank Emily and HubBub Coffee for generously providing samples of their products as part of this review. All opinions are my own.

HubBub Coffee is located at 232 N. Radnor Chester Rd, Radnor, PA 19087 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 6:30am – 6:00pm, and Saturday – Sunday, 8:00am – 5:00pm. For more info on HubBub, feel free to visit their website, or check them out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

Not So Brekkie: Warminster Deli – Warminster, PA

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So, I’m really getting into these little neighborhood deli shops. I don’t normally write about take-out food – in fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever written about take-out food in the last 4 years of writing this blog – but not for any other reason than the fact that other than cheap Chinese food, I’ve never really had a lot of exposure to it. We really didn’t have many of these types of convenient little places where I lived in Columbus (I can think of maybe 2 off hand is all). I know that seems hard to believe, since they’re pretty much all over the place around here, but really, there were not many places where you could stop in to get a quick cheesesteak, hoagie, or even a salad – we ordered from pizza shops or Jimmy Johns for that type of thing. But I’ve found several deli’s in the area that provide a pretty decent lunch alternative to the fast food joints or Chinese take-out shops, and so I thought I’d highlight one of the new favorites that I’ve happened upon recently, the Warminster Deli. Warminster Deli is located along a stretch of County Line Rd, just between Hatboro and Warminster, that is pretty scarce when it comes to lunch options during the work week. I work in this area, and really, it’s been my go-to place recently when I’ve wanted to eat out for lunch.

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Warminster Deli is a very simple and uncomplicated place. They’ve got two deli cases – one for meats, one for cheeses & cold salads – a couple of drink coolers, a pickle barrel, a chip rack and a pay counter. And that’s all you need, really. It’s run by two friendly, hardworking guys who are there every time I visit, and are always willing to chat. One of the guys works the deli cases, the other works the grill. Smooth operation.

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From what I understand, the menu at Warminster Deli is really not all that different than most of the corner deli’s scattered around the city and the surrounding area. Aside from their take-out deli service, they’ve got your standard steaks, hoagies, other hot & cold sandwiches, wraps, salads, appetizers such as chicken fingers and cheese fries, etc. They do have a few specialty items that I’ve not really seen before, like the Rachel (counterpart to the Reuben – with hot turkey breast, swiss cheese and coleslaw) or the Spicy & Spicy hoagie (buffalo chicken & pepper jack cheese). They have a specials board located inside the shop which usually features a couple of selected sandwiches at a discounted price, and they’ve also recently added a few different tortas (Mexican sandwiches) to the board. I’ve only tried a handful of things that they offer, but I think what separates this place from the other deli’s I’ve tried is that everything I’ve had so far has been really flavorful and seasoned well…something that it seems could be easily overlooked when preparing food at a place like this.

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One of my favorites is the Special Cheesesteak ($6.95). It’s a big, 12-inch sandwich filled with chopped steak, fried onions, peppers, mushrooms, a river of melted white American cheese on the bottom, and pizza sauce on top (I always get it sans the sauce). They use a really good, sturdy roll that holds everything in really well and provides the desired chew with each bite.

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I’ve been told that true Philadelphian’s don’t eat peppers on their steaks, but hey, I’m not from around these parts, so I like it this way. The amount of meat they pile into this sandwich is ridiculous, in a very, very good way and it’s not the least bit gristly. The cheese:meat ratio is always just right, and they season the steak perfectly during the grilling process. This is probably my favorite steak I’ve had so far since moving here (although admittedly there are still tons of top spots I still haven’t tried yet), and it is definitely worth the trip alone, IMO.

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One of the other sandwiches we’ve tried is the Hot Pork Italian special (w/ fries for $7.50). Roast pork sandwiches like this are just not something you find in Columbus, so I am pretty new to this one. Again, I know there are more popular places to buy these at, but I just haven’t gotten there yet. But this version was pretty darn tasty. What makes this sandwich “Italian” is the addition of sharp provolone cheese and roasted red peppers along with the roast pork and broccoli rabe.

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Again, I was very pleased with the seasoning of the pork itself…slightly salty, slightly garlicky, and the rabe gave it good flavor as well. The one criticism I have is that unfortunately they didn’t spread the rabe throughout the whole sandwich, so sometimes you’re getting mostly pork, cheese & bread (as seen above, which wasn’t a bad thing in itself), but then some bites are all rabe. I’d like it a little more evenly disbursed. That being said, this sandwich is definitely worth a stop for as well. The fries are good…from a bag, but cooked and salted well.

With sandwich quality hitting high marks like these, this place will probably stay a definite lunchtime stop for me as long as I’m in the neighborhood. If you are, or happen to be driving through, give them a try. I’ve just barely scratched the surface of what they offer, but I’m looking forward to trying some of the other things they’re cooking up at this great little spot, and some of their deli sandwiches, too.

Warminster Deli is located at 275 E. County Line Rd, Warminster, PA 19040. They’re open Monday – Saturday, from 8:30am – 7:00pm, and Sunday 8:30am – 6:00pm. 

Warminster Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters – West Chester, PA

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This past weekend I drove out to West Chester to check out the Artisan Exchange market. For those who don’t know, the Artisan Exchange is a collaboration of like-minded entrepreneurs who gather every Saturday, year round, to promote business and sell their hand-crafted, sustainable foods and other artisan goods. The market typically includes over 50 vendors and is open to the public. One of the main attractions at the market is Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters, whose roasting facility is attached to the market’s main corridor.

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Frank and Maryann Baldassarre have owned and operated Golden Valley Farms for the last 30 years. I met them both at the market when I visited and got a chance to talk with them quite a bit about their business, their roasting process, their coffee and tea, and the market itself. Maryann and their daughter, Jackie, were manning the booth on the day we were there, offering samples of their shade-grown coffees, including their new cold brew.

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Maryann offered to give me a tour of their roasting facility, which is located right next to the market. It was a pretty large space which included their roaster and equipment (obviously) and a bottling/production area. She said that her sons, one of whom studied and mastered his craft in Vermont and the other on the west coast, do most of GVF’s small-batch roasting. The rest of the family works in sales, national distribution, and company branding and advertising.

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Golden Valley Farms is one of the few roasters who are triple certified as a USDA Organic, Fair Trade, and Bird-Friendly roaster. I had never even heard of that last one, but Maryann explained that their coffees come from farms that are certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center. These farms guarantee not to chop down their canopy of trees growing naturally over their coffee plants. This preserves the habitat of birds that would otherwise fly to their seasonal homes only to find them decimated by deforestation. Without this safekeeping, birds die every year by the thousands. Golden Valley Farms partners with the Smithsonian to support this environmentally critical program by purchasing many of their coffees from farms that have achieved this coveted Bird-Friendly seal. Pretty sweet!

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They offer quite the extensive lineup of blends in medium, dark and French roasts. They also offer their coffees in single serve cups (K-cups). Their beans (whole and ground) are available to both wholesale and retail customers and can be found in our area at many area Whole Foods stores, specialty shops, and of course, at the Artisan Exchange market.

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They also recently started bottling their new cold brew coffee. Based on the nearly empty ice bucket I found when I visited their booth at the market, I’d say it’s catching on quite nicely. They also offer Cold Brew Pouches for at-home brewing.

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The Baldassarre’s offered me a couple of samples to take home and try, including this bag of Guatemalan blend. It’s a medium roast with flavors of brown sugar, maple and figs. I haven’t ground any yet, but I’m eagerly anticipating this delicious bag-o-beans.

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I also got to try some of their bottled cold brew which was excellent! Smooth and strong, it’s a delightful drink to sip with breakfast or any time of the day really, especially when it’s hot outside.

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It was really refreshing. It’s a bold, dark blend that can be sweetened if you’d like, which is the way Mrs. Grub Guy enjoyed it. But if you’re a black coffee drinker, you’ll love it, too!

I’d like to thank Maryann, Frank and Jackie for their hospitality and for taking the time to show me around and talk with me about their product. Seriously guys, if you’re looking for a really great, local coffee roaster who cares about their coffee – both in origin and end result – then give Golden Valley Farms a try. You can find them at the Artisan Exchange market all year round!

Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters is located at 208 Carter Dr, Ste 13B, West Chester, PA, 19382(Map). You can find them at the Artisan Exchange market every Saturday, from 10:00am – 2:00pm. For more info, feel free to visit their website, or check them out of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Keystone Grill – Eagleville, PA

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Last weekend, the wife and I decided we would get our Sunday brunch on, and after driving for a few minutes to what I had planned as our original destination, I realized that I had not been paying attention and had mistakenly been driving in the wrong direction (yay me). Without realizing where I was, I pulled into the Keystone Grill’s parking lot to turn around and head back the other way down Main Street. Once I saw where we were, I said to the wife, “Hey, you wanna just check this place out?”. She agreed, so we did. Keystone Grill – also known as the Family Bistro – is one of many diners along Main Street in the Norristown/Trooper/Eagleville area of Montgomery County. Although I would classify it as a slight step up from several other “greasy spoon” eateries in the area, one of their main attractions is a really good diner-style breakfast, which always gets huge brownie points from me.

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The restaurant is quite a bit larger than I expected inside, with the main dining area seating probably a hundred or so people in both tables and booths. They also have a small overflow dining area in the back of the house that was full too! They were quite busy on the morning that we were there, with clientele of all demographics seemingly enjoying their meals. We took this as a good sign – either the food was great, the prices were good, or both! And even for as busy as they were, it didn’t feel overly crowded. I hate being smashed when I eat. One thing we both noticed was how it felt like it should be a lot darker inside than it actually was. Thankfully there was an abundance of keystone-shaped windows letting in lots of natural lighting. Otherwise, it might have felt like we were eating inside of a military bunker or something. Seriously though, it was very open and comfortable.

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We waited for about 10 minutes for an open table, and there were probably 4-5 couples waiting behind us as we were seated. What was it about this place? As soon as I opened the menu, I knew. The large menu (as in actual size of the pages) was filled with tons of classic diner food options, a few specialties, build-your-owns, a kids menu, drinks and more…and the prices were terrific! Aside from the steaks, I don’t think there was a single meal on the menu above $7.99! The wife and I browsed as our friendly waitress brought coffee and water. She was very pleasant, but too busy to chat, which was totally understandable.

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Ok, so I couldn’t pick just one breakfast. The first thing that caught my eye was the Florentine Benedict ($6.99). I mean, how can you go wrong with that? Slightly crisp English muffin, sauteed baby spinach, feta cheese, poached eggs, and hollandaise. It came with a side of fried potatoes which were really tasty.

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To me, this benedict was perfectly executed. The muffin was toasted with a slightly crispy edge but still soft in the middle. It was constructed with a good helping of feta and spinach underneath of the poached eggs, and the hollandaise had a great consistency and flavor. Sometimes I’m a little leary about hollandaise, because when it’s too lemony, it’s all just ruined for me. But this was about as good as I’ve had.

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Keeping with the hollandaise vibe, Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the Massachusetts Omelet ($7.49), which was a 2-egger made with fresh ingredients. They have a dozen or so “State Omelets”, but I’m not really sure how they decided which states got which fillers. This one had sliced turkey breast, bacon, onions, peppers, tomatoes and was topped with that delicious hollandaise. This is where my breakfast pet peeves come into play. Many restaurants and diners confuse what I would call a “scramble” for an omelet. I totally understand that it’s quicker and easier to mix everything together this way rather than to cook the traditional fold-over egg blanket with the filler in the middle, so…why not just call it a scramble on the menu? Anyway, the wife enjoyed it. She said it all tasted really fresh and had good flavor, but it would have been better as an actual omelet. She also got some potatoes and buttered rye toast with her breakfast.

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We also tried the Grilled Cinnamon Roll ($2.49). This came out more like a cinnamon roll french toast. It was yummy for what it was, but it could have been outstanding had it included a sweet icing drizzle, or maybe some maple butter or something. Heck, I’d have even taken some basic maple syrup. As it was, we just added a little butter and ate it that way. Like I said, it was pretty good, but it could have been great with a little more effort.

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And so we come to my second breakfast. Yes, I ordered two breakfasts. I couldn’t resist. Sausage gravy & biscuits are just my thing, and I really haven’t found it all that often in this area (I guess it’s a cultural thing, as I’ve found that more diners around here lean more toward the creamed chipped beef option instead). Keystone Grill’s Sausage Gravy & Biscuit ($5.99) was a very pleasant surprise. It was one split biscuit topped with a river of very creamy, white sage gravy and a ton of sliced sausage link pieces.

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Oh my gosh you guys…this gravy was SO GOOD! It was on the thinner side, which was fine, and the flavor was amazing! The heaviness on the sage gave this a really unique taste, and the plentiful sausage pieces added a bit of spice. It wasn’t greasy at all, neither was it too floury. The biscuit itself was delicious too – soft, moist and fresh. It also came with a big helping of the fried potatoes, which we doggie-bagged, along with one of the biscuit halves covered in gravy and sausage. I’d go here again just to get this!

Overall, we were really pleased with breakfast/brunch at Keystone Grill. Some of the things we ordered were really on point (hollandaise, sausage gravy) while others might benefit from a little refining (omelet, cinnamon roll), but more importantly, everything was really fresh and flavorful. The service was good even for as busy as they were, and the staff was friendly. And as for the prices, bottom line is it’s tough to beat this place. Honestly, considering these factors, it’s a better option for my money than some of the other diners in the immediate area. I’m sure we’ll be back whenever we’re in the mood for a quick family breakfast.

Keystone Grill is located at 2838 W. Main St, Eagleville, PA 19403 (MAP). They’re open 7 days a week from 6:00AM – 10:PM and serve breakfast all day. To find out more, visit their Facebook page HERE.

Keystone Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Just a few homemade breakfasts…

Hey there, remember me??

Yeah, I’ve really been slacking off lately in the breakfast review department since I’m still adjusting to this new job I took on a couple of months ago – you know how it is…busy with new responsibilities, new schedules, etc. But don’t worry…more new reviews of breakfast in and around Philadelphia are coming very soon!!

In the meantime, I’ve been having some really great homemade breakfasts lately, some made by me and others created by the talented Mrs. Grub Guy. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to just throw out some of the awesome eats I’ve been grubbing on. Now keep in mind, most of these photos have already been shared on my Instagram feed, so if you’re not following along there, WHY NOT?? Click HERE to follow me!

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Mrs. Grub Guy makes some of the most delicious pancakes around!

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This is a scramble I threw together made with eggs, cheddar cheese, homemade salsa, diced avocado and Passanante’s jalapeno cheddar chicken sausage. It was most righteous!

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One of my favorite breakfasts in the world is a plate of chunky sausage gravy and homemade buttermilk biscuits. I swear, I could eat this stuff on top of anything!!

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One Saturday morning I tried to be healthy….yeah, it didn’t turn out too well. But this breakfast looked nice, right? Here’s a simple peanut butter toast with berries, coffee, and some most excellent reading material.

Sausage-Potato-and-Egg-Breakfast-Tacos

I have definitely been on a breakfast taco kick lately. We recently made a couple versions at home after trying some serious tacos at Honest Tom’s in Philly. Here’s my scrambled eggs, steak and potatoes taco.

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And here’s another delicious taco version…the chorizo and eggs.

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Ok, I can’t take credit for these beauties, but how good do these Eggs in a Nest look?? The wife fried these up the other day with a little yogurt w/ raspberry preserves and coffee on the side. Breakfast fuel.

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Whether you call this stuff pork roll or Taylor Ham, it’s mighty darn tasty…especially inside of an egg sandwich! We recently discovered this Jersey favorite (Being from the midwest, I had never heard of the stuff!)

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All I can say here is….O.M.G!!!

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Another wifey creation…baby bella, green onion and cheddar omelette with a side of fresh fruit. Healthy AND delicious!

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So, here’s my take on a hearty breakfast burrito – eggs, potatoes, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, black beans and goat cheese inside of a warm tortilla!

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Finally, let us not forget about the classic diner breakfast – fried eggs (usually over medium for me), some crispy fried potatoes, and toast. Quite often we fix this with breakfast meat on the side. It’s our at home old-standby.

Hope you enjoyed these pics. Don’t forget….more reviews (breakfast and “Not So Brekkie”) coming soon!!!

Father’s Day in Philly: A Local Gift Guide for Your Foodie Dad

Well, here we are in June, and Father’s Day is just a couple of short weeks away. It’s time to start contemplating how to show your old man how much you love him and how you appreciate all the crap he’s put up with from you over the last few decades.

Dad’s are easy to buy for. We like anything, really. But this year, instead of a goofy card and a Blu-ray of some flick he wanted to see last year, I’m thinking you can do a little better. Put a little thought into it, man! Or better yet, let me do your thinking for you! I’ve put together a short (but mighty) list of gifts your dad is sure to dig, especially if he’s a foodie. And he doesn’t necessarily have to be the “stand on a chair with his phone in the middle of the restaurant to get the perfect Insta-food picture” kind of foodie (we can’t all be that cool), to enjoy these gifts.

Trust me, he’ll love these….

1. Treat Dad to Brunch (Obviously)

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Taking Mom to brunch on Mother’s Day is HUGE. But hey, guess what…we Dad’s love brunch too! Maybe even more! Dear old Dad has forked out the cash for probably hundreds of dine out meals during your lifetime, so what better way to say “Thanks, Dad” than to treat him to one of the hottest brunch spots in Philly? The Hungry Pigeon in the Queens Village neighborhood is tearing it up with one of the best breakfast sandwiches anywhere right now, and their kimchi Breakfast Bowl is to die for; How about a Dutch Baby pancake filled with smoked sausage or sweetened with sugar and fruit? You can get that at The Dutch in Pennsport; Or maybe a ginger-citrus-cured salmon benedict served atop scallion pancakes at Susanna Foo’s SuGa restaurant in Center City? Speaking of benedicts, you could let Dad try the Low Country benedict at The Little Lion in Old City, which is topped with things like crawfish and spinach, or their delicious Red Velvet French Toast. These fine eateries and many, many more are serving awesome brunch menus every weekend. I guarantee that Dad’s heart, and his belly, would be muy satisfied.

2. Take Dad on a Philly Food Tour

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Help Dad explore new eateries or a new area of the city with a food tour! There are many tours that run in and around the Philly area, most of which require a ticket and a reservation, so be sure to click the links to check out websites for upcoming tour dates , prices, etc. Chew Philly Food Tours offers probably the most “touristy” one with their “Authentic Philly” tour which focuses on classic Philly foods like cheesesteaks, tomato pie, soft pretzels and more. They’ve also got a Chestnut Hill walking tour for the more adventurous eater. There’s also the unofficial “Philly Cheesesteak Tour” which samples FIVE different steaks at some of Philly’s most well-known shops like Jim’s, Pat’s, Geno’s and more! VisitPhilly.com also has some great self-plan/self-drive tours mapped out for anything from finding the best roast pork sandwiches in the city to a restaurant tour along East Passyunk Avenue, also called Philly’s “Restaurant Row”. Looking to explore the South Jersey culinary landscape? On the Town Food Tours is one company that offers a taste of what is available in our neighboring state. They have four unique tours that will allow you to explore the foods of Haddonfield, Collingswood, Mount Holly and Bordentown.

3. Take a stroll through Reading Terminal Market 

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You and I already love Philly’s historic food hall, so why not introduce Dad to Reading Terminal Market? Make a day of it. Walk the aisles and stop at as many food stalls as he wants to try. Get him a donut from Beiler’s; a double scoop at Bassett’s Ice Cream; buy him a book to get his creative juices flowing at the Cookbook Stall; have a full, stick-to-your-ribs Amish meal at Dutch Eating Place, or any of the dozens of awesome eats at this fat guy’s paradise.

4. Di Bruno Bros. Gift Boxes

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Ok, Dad’s LOVE meat. Di Bruno Bros. knows this well. That’s why they’ve created two special Father’s Day gift crates full of the finest meats, exquisite cheeses and hand-selected specialty foods that will have Dad’s taste buds dancing for joy. The Papa Robusto is a bold gift crate with rustic Soppressata, spicy Cheddar, and a host of BBQ must-have’s. The Papa Bello is a little something for the big guy…namely a standout Gruyere, Tishbi Onion Cabernet Preserves and more! Both look incredible. Pre-order your box today!

5. Buy him a bag or two of locally roasted coffee

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We are truly lucky that we live in a city with so much good coffee available to us. Philly, and the surrounding area, is home to many of the best coffee roasters in the country, and I’m willing to bet that if your Dad is anything like mine and has to have his standard 3 cups of java every morning, this would make his day terrific. I know I absolutely LOVE grinding and enjoying fresh beans (many roasters sell ground coffee, too) from a local roast shop or retail space. La Colombe, Rival Bros, Reanimator Coffee, Elixr Coffee Roasters, Philly Fair Trade Roasters, Brandywine Coffee Roasters and many others are available for take home consumption. A bag or two should last him a while, so in the words of cousin Eddie Griswald, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving”.

6. There’s nothing like a box of waffles

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I recently had a chance to try a sampler box of Waffatopia’s liege waffles (you can check out my review here) and these things are crazy insane delicious! Waffatopia sells 6-8 different flavors of their Belgian-style, pearl sugar waffles stuffed with everything from chocolate to maple bacon. These waffles are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or as a hand-held snack! They’re a local company located in Conshohocken, and a quick visit to their website can harvest a special delivery right to Dad’s front door in a matter of just a couple of days. It’s the perfect gift for a Dad who might live too far away for you to spend time with on his special day, but you still want to let him know you’re thinking of him.

7. Give him the Righteous Felon experience

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Righteous Felon Jerky Cartel is a local company making some of the finest jerky I believe I’ve ever tasted. A friend of mine brought some back from the Tough Mudder event this year, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Trust me, if Dad loves jerky, he will LOVE Righteous Felon. They make their product using beef from the Mid-Atlantic’s premier Black Angus producer, Roseda Black Angus Farm near Coatesville, PA. Flavors range from the mild Baby Blues Sweet Kick BBQ to the hellacious Halo Diablo.

So, there it is. Like I said…it’s just a short list, but hopefully I’ve inspired you to think outside of the (necktie) box a little bit when it comes to gifting for your pops this year. I mean, after all…he deserves it right?

Angel’s Donuts – Hatboro, PA

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So I discovered Angel’s Donuts simply by drive-by. I had no idea that this place was nestled inside one of the older strip malls along County Line Rd. in the Hatboro/Warminster section of the suburbs until I spotted it by chance one day on the drive to my new place of work. I could tell just from the exterior that this would be a place that would definitely need some further exploration. I finally had a chance to stop in recently to check them out, and I was not disappointed with what I found inside.

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Angel’s Donuts is what I would classify as a classic, old-school donut shop in pretty much every sense of the term. This right here is model Delaware Valley Donut Trail material, folks. The shop is just a small space…really dated inside and out (they’ve been here for 26 years!) but a perfect find for a guy like me. I visited the shop at around 10:00am on Tuesday morning, and the super friendly lady that was working (I didn’t catch her name, but for the sake of storytelling, I’ll henceforth refer to her as Esmerelda…don’t ask me why) said that I had just missed the morning rush and the crowd of regular “old guys” who gather every morning for their usual coffee and donuts (apparently they just sit in the chairs that line the walls and chat while they enjoy their morning treats?). She was busy putting out freshly filled trays of rounds into the front case.

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The pricing/menu board that hung on the wall is exactly what you’d expect from a place like this, aesthetically speaking. And I loved it. The prices were pretty great, too. I mean, take a look..aside from ice cream (yes, they serve ice cream, too!), there’s not a single item over $1.85.

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As far as donuts go, these were classic all the way. I feel pretty safe saying that if you’re looking for donuts coated in Fruit Loops or chunks of Snickers bar, you don’t want to come here. You won’t find them. But if you’re looking for classic donuts, Angel’s Donuts has you covered. I set my sights on the HUGE Apple Fritters. Esmerelda said they were their best seller. I’m a big fan of fritters…apple, cherry, pineapple, whatever. I knew one of these was coming home with me.

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Some of their other popular styles are the “regular” (white) cream, the Boston cream filled, classic glazed, and more.

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Take a look at those buns!! “Coffee Rolls” and Sticky Buns looked amazing, though I didn’t get to try these this time around.

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If you’re on a diet….I’m sorry.

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I was quite surprised to find Black Raspberry filled donuts, because my wife is a fanatic of these. They’re a pretty tough find. The Butter Croissants looked good, too.

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Filled danish, and MORE donuts…..

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more, and more, and more…..

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And a whole lot more.

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Now that you’re paying attention, I’ll tell you about this MONSTER Apple fritter I got. It was perfectly fried on the outside and the glaze was sweet and amazing. Oh, and it was almost as big as my face (that’s the best part!).

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Honestly, I’ve been trying to cut down on the sugar intake lately, so Mrs. Grub Guy and I split one of these. The apple bits weren’t as plentiful as I was expecting, which was a little disappointing, but the donut itself still had a very pleasant apple fritter flavor overall. The dough was fresh and a little chewy, just like you want this kind of donut to be.

Angel’s Donuts obviously knows donuts. With almost three decades of frying under their belt, they’ve got the winning recipe for old-school charm in this area. Super fresh, tasty cakes, friendly service, and dependability….three things that fans like me of classic donuts and classic donut shops just can’t get enough of.

Angel’s Donuts is located at 267 E. County Line Rd, Hatboro, PA 19040 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 5:30am – 5:00pm, Saturday, 6:00am – 5:30pm, and Sunday from 6:30am – 12:30am. For more info visit their Facebook page HERE.

Introducing The Delaware Valley Donut Trail!!

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I’ve wanted to start a donut page on TBGG for quite a while, but the time was just never right. Until now.

Donuts are the quintessential breakfast treat. In my opinion, there is absolutely no better indulgence than a fresh, old-school style donut – moist, light cake shelled by a slightly crisp exterior and drowned in a heavenly sweet glaze. I absolutely love the spirit, the quality, the aroma and the flavors of classic glazed and filled cakes, as well as the dedication of those who provide such delicacies to shlubs like me. Some of these places have been making these golden rounds for decades, and know the ins and outs of donuts like the backs of their hands. But not every old-school donut shop has to be housed in a decades old building. To me, a great donut is more about quality. I’ve visited many newer, trendy donut shops who produce a high quality product as well. Both of these kinds of places, and more importantly the delicious donuts they’re frying, is what The Delaware Valley Donut Trail is all about.

Inspired by my pal Jim Ellison’s “Ohio Donut Trail” on his longstanding Columbus food blog CMH Gourmand, I’ve decided to launch the Donut Trail to not only bring you reports and visual aides of all of the yummy donuts near you, but also to provide a calorie-free form of therapy to satisfy your inner fat kid (you’re welcome). This page will chronicle my donut discoveries throughout Eastern PA, Southern New Jersey and Delaware. And there’s only one rule…NO CHAINS!!

I’ve previously reviewed a couple of donut shops in the area, which I already went ahead and added to the page for good measure. In addition to awesome local breakfast and brunch, I will continue to constantly be in search of the best donuts in the tri-state area (as if I’ve ever NOT been looking for good donuts) to add to the DVDT list. Feel free to follow along, as well as send recommendations of your favorite shops. I’ll hopefully get to them all in time…and we’ll be sure to discover new donuts together along the way!!

 

Avenue Eatz – Wayne, PA

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In our family, we do birthdays big…especially for the boy. Every year, in addition to all of the regular cake and gifts stuff, it’s a tradition that the Saturday before or after his birthday we do a family day out together, which seems to always include breakfast and a movie. This year, we knew that we were in store for Captain America: Civil War, but he didn’t really have a preference when it came to breakfast. We wanted to stay close to the theater, so after a quick internet search I came across Avenue Eatz in Wayne. The menu was full of what sounded like really interesting meal options for the wife and me, and a couple of dishes that I knew the boy would enjoy, so we made the short drive over to Lancaster Ave. to check them out.

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Avenue Eatz is located at the end of a tiny strip mall right on the main drag of this artsy and picturesque little town. The parking lot is pretty small, but thankfully they have additional parking available in the rear of the building. The shop itself is a small, cafe-style space with about 6 booths along the wall and the front windows, and a couple of 4-seater tables in the center. It was simple, clean and bright. We were surprised to learn after talking to the owner, Joey, that they recently had been closed for quite a stretch due to a roof fire that caused all kinds of damage to the ceiling, the electrical wiring system, and did tons of smoke and water damage to the interior as well. They actually just reopened a couple of weeks ago, but they did such a great job with the repair/remodel that you’d never know anything had ever happened.

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The fresh, hand-squeezed orange juice was one of the first things that caught my eye as I initially took a look around the shop. It’s a pretty fun thing that they do, and the boy loved watching it. They give the same treatment to the lemons for their fresh-squeezed lemonade, too (one of my faves!). We were offered a sample of the juice, which was perfectly sweet and delicious. You don’t see too many places doing this, and I’m really not sure why not. The good thing for Avenue Eatz is that it’s memorable, and it sets them apart from everyone else. It also gives the customer the impression that this place really cares about giving me the freshest food (more on that in a second) and drink available. Very smart.

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Another cool thing is that they use bread that’s baked fresh in-house daily, including the Babka that they were offering in one of their current specials (the Cinnamon Walnut Babka French Toast). They had loaves of the Cinnamon Walnut, and also Chocolate Babka on the counter for sale. Now I don’t know much about Babka, but I know that chocolate baked into bread cannot be a bad thing!!

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Inside the deli case along the front counter are several quiches that looked absolutely gorgeous and fresh. Local and imported meats, veggies and cheeses loaded these beauties. The quiche is a regular item on the breakfast menu so I WILL be back for some of this!

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There were also some beautifully sweet pies on display. The homemade pies are actually one of the things that this shop is known for. We were offered a sample of their Coconut Cream Pie, and I kid you not you guys, I was amazed at how delicious it was. I don’t think I’ve ever had coconut cream pie that was as good as this before (and I LOVE coconut cream pie!). It was too bad that we were headed to the movies after breakfast to gorge ourselves for two and a half hours on M&M’s and Milk Duds, because I would have loved to have had a piece (or two) of these.

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As I said earlier, the creativeness of the menu is what originally attracted me to this place. To start with, Avenue Eatz offers a “Bacon of the Month” option to all of their dishes. Apparently any dish that uses regular bacon, you can substitute the special bacon for. You can  also order it as a side. More bacon, special bacon, different bacon…whatever. If it’s bacon, I’m in. They were offering several other specials that day, including something called the Ron Burgundy (“What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole wheel of cheese? How’d you do that? Heck, I’m not even mad; that’s amazing.”….nevermind). You guys, this thing is serious….a bacon & egg-topped burger with coffee-flavored ketchup and cheddar cheese all cradled inside of a warm, buttermilk cinnamon roll.

Mind. Blown.

I didn’t think I could handle all of that on this morning, so I moved on to the regular menu.

The regular menu is full of many other unique (albeit a bit less eccentric) breakfast sandwiches, big fluffy omelettes, and some “Specialties” like Pancakes, French toast, an egg combo breakfast and a huge burrito. If this place had biscuits & sausage gravy, I don’t think I’d ever leave. (Pro Tip: Avenue Eatz uses fresh, seasonal ingredients which means that their menu and specials change occasionally. Keep an eye on their website and their social media accounts for updates.)

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Our server was a cheerful and extremely pleasant young lady who took very good care of us. She invited us to help ourselves to the self-serve coffee bar (they serve Gold Peak Coffee…a product of the Coca-Cola company) which was fully stocked and kept full the whole time we were there. It would make a whole lot of sense for a great little local spot like to this to feature some great locally roasted coffee, but overall the java was ok. Our food came out pretty quickly even though the restaurant was packed. I was impressed. The wife and boy were too embarrassed to allow me to stand on my chair, but I got this money shot anyway.

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Mrs. Grub Guy zeroed in on the Crab Oscar ($6.50), which was a delicious blend of crab meat, cheddar and Old English cheeses melted with tomatoes and a fried egg and seasoned with Old Bay seasoning. It was served on their house-made pretzel roll. She said the crab & cheese blend was sooo yummy. She compared it to a really good crab salad, only hot. She said the Old Bay added some spice to cut the sweetness of the cheese and crab, and it really tied it all together well. The pretzel roll was fresh, had a good chew, and was really flavorful. She also ordered a side of potatoes ($3.00) which were good but got cold really quickly, which might have my fault because I wouldn’t let them eat until I was done taking photos.

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Steven almost went with the Breakfast Burrito, but ultimately decided upon his old stand-by. The House-made Brioche French Toast comes in two sizes, the Tall Order (3 for $8.00) and the Short Stack (2 for $6.50), and came with some yummy cinnamon-sugar whipped butter and maple syrup. Obviously, he loved this because…well, what’s not to love about brioche French toast? Overall it was a splendid version of a breakfast classic.

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I ordered the Morning After ($6.00), a really great sandwich made up of hardwood-smoked bacon, scrambled egg, sharp cheddar, Hass avocados and topped with a spicy Sriracha mayo. This normally comes on the pretzel roll, but I asked to have it made on a house-made brioche roll instead (all sandwiches come on your choice of bagel, country white bread, wheat berry bread, rye bread, brioche roll or pretzel roll). It was pretty much the perfect breakfast sandwich, with all of my favorite ingredients. The roll was buttery, soft, fresh, and filling. Great stuff!

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Finally, because we all secretly wanted to order and devour the Cinnamuncher ($6.50) ourselves, we decided to order one for the three of us to split and sample. The menu lists this unique sandwich as a thick-cut tavern ham steak with imported Gruyere cheese & a runny egg served inside a house-made, buttermilk cinnamon roll. Our server said that this is one of their most popular menu items, and it’s easy to see (and taste) why.

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This was really, really good. It wasn’t as sweet as I thought it might be, which was probably a good thing. The dough, like all of the other bread we had already sampled that morning, was super fresh. It was a heavier, thicker-type cinnamon roll which held all of the other ingredients well. Definitely a knife and fork-type sandwich. We all really enjoyed it. The only bit of constructive criticism I might have is for the wording of the menu. It’s actually a pretty far stretch to call it a “thick-cut ham steak”…at least ours wasn’t. I’d say more like a “hefty slice” is more appropriate.

Avenue Eatz gave my boy a really great birthday breakfast. He was very happy, and full when we left, as were we. The whole experience was really nice, from the fresh and creative food to the friendliness of the staff and owners who welcomed us and made us feel like they genuinely appreciated us being there. This is definitely the kind of local place that local people love to support. I know we’ll be back for sure.

Avenue Eatz is located at 128 W. Lancaster Ave, Wayne, PA 19087 (MAP). They’re open Tuesday – Sunday, 7:00am – 3:00pm. For more info, check out their website or visit them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!!