E's 24 Hour Cafe
4287 Summer Ave.
On Sunday, we decided to go out for breakfast at noon, which I guess technically makes it brunch. Warren suggested the Waffle House based on the fact that the last time we tried to eat breakfast on a Sunday we ended up there out of necessity. (Necessity means we didn't want to wait at any of the busy places we passed, or the places we wanted to go were closed.) The kids loved Waffle House mostly because by the time we arrived, they were starving.
Warren's second suggestion was Denny's.
I'm not sure why he was craving grease, but I decided to work with him. The monkeys (Satchel, 10 and Jiro, 8), who were listening, started chanting "Hashbrowns! Hashbrowns! Hashbrowns!"
"What about E's 24 Hour Cafe?" I suggested. We noticed it on our trip to Bucanas, and since learned that it is replacing all of the CK's in town. Satchel is a serious CK's fan, so it seemed like a good bet.
Now, despite initiating the whole greasy breakfast conversation, Warren now worried that E's would not be up to par. "E’s will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and aim for a higher-end feel than many of its 24-hour competitors." I quoted him from the Business Journal article I read. He relented, and off we went.
E's is right next to the Peanut Shoppe and Baskin Robbins, so there was immediate discussion of what we'd have for dessert. However, when we walked in, there were several pies and cakes on display along the counter and all discussion turned to eating pie for breakfast.
Satchel was all, "It smells SO good in here!" There was a picture of the country fried steak dinner with hashbrowns and a salad on the napkin holder and he pointed and said, "I want that." I have never known him to eat country fried steak, but I said ok. Warren verified that he actually wanted a salad and he said yes.
Jiro looked at me and said, "I want pie, hash browns, and a waffle." I was eventually able to talk him out of pie in exchange for bacon. The waitress was helpful with his a la carte wants and steered him toward a meal deal that covered everything, which was appreciated.
Warren and I were the ones having trouble ordering. The menu was pretty standard, and my usual order at CK's is a patty melt. Warren decided he was getting the patty melt. I didn't feel like eating anything breakfasty, and tried to steer Warren towards E's steak burger, but he couldn't be swayed. I decided to get it even after the waitress warned me of his hugeness. I figured Warren would eat any leftovers.
Our very helpful waitress also helped end the age old mystery: "What's the difference between chicken fried steak and country fried steak?" Answer: "Nothing."
While we waited for our food, Satchel said, "This place is so yummy. I'm satisfied just smelling it."
We took in the surroundings as we waited. See that lady behind Satchel in the striped sweater? She was very dramatically walking in and out of the store, crying. On her third pass, she finally ended the mystery of her unhappiness, "I worked 80 hours and y'all only paid me for 72," she sobbed. Then our waitress, who I now assumed was the manager, swiftly ushered her in the back to work out the problem.
We had also been viewing YouTube videos during our wait--specifically the Walking Dead rendition of the Office Space printer killing scene. It helped us notice that 1) the music was really loud in E's and 2) the man sitting behind us could very well be a zombie.
From where I was sitting I could see everything being cooked/prepared. I hoped the waitress who made Satchel's salad washed her hands.
Surprisingly, Satchel did not remove the onions or the tomatoes. He just slathered on the ranch dressing and started eating.
I saw the cook walk over to the grill with a stack of frozen meat patties and start cooking. Soon, the rest of our food came out. Satchel declared his "The best steak ever." (Man, it's nice to take hungry kids out to eat! See him clutching his fork in the background? He was saying, "Hurry up!")
Jiro followed up with "Best hashbrowns ever."
I thought his waffle looked a little flat, but he did not complain.
Warren's patty melt was what you'd expect.
I hadn't even snapped a picture of my steakburger before Warren was shoving half of his patty melt my way, all the while talking about doing halfsies.
The burger was definitely huge (1/2 pound) and very tasty. The menu said it came on a sourdough bun, but Warren disputed this based on its sweetness. I don't know if the burger is winning any awards, but the fact that it's available 24/7 certainly bodes well. My fries were cold and very disappointing, however that didn't stop the kids from eating most of them.
As Jiro ate, he said he wished there was Hashbrown challenge, because he could totally win it. Then he asked me, "What would you want your house to be made out of if you lived in Candyland?"
"Does my house need to be sturdy or am I going to snack on it?" I clarified before answering.
"Either," he said.
"Chocolate, duh," I said.
"Mine would be made of donuts and hashbrowns," he replied.
"Hashbrowns aren't candy," I said.
"OK then that's what I'd want my house to be made of if I lived in Goodland," he said.
When we were all done, I asked Jiro if he wanted to go wash his hands because I wanted to check out the restrooms. I'm pretty sure this space is new, so the restrooms were nice and clean, but there was no changing table. Jiro said, "It's all clean and doesn't smell like crap like all of the other bathrooms."
That cracked me up. We have seen some scummy bathrooms, especially during breakfast.
The waitress brought our check, and I had a momentary worry that it would be cash only like CK's, but I turned around and saw the credit cards symbols on the door. Our total was $30.58 plus tax. Not super cheap, but less than $10 each. Wait, maybe that is super cheap.
The CK's on Union by the Medical Center is already an E's. Our waitress said next up is the Park store. Soon all 13 CK's will be E's. Based on their flagship store, I'd say it's a definite upgrade. However, you still get that greasy on the skids kind of 24 Hour Cafe experience.