Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Bryant's Breakfast
3965 Summer Avenue

Satchel (7) and Jiro (5) both have April birthdays. We normally let them pick a restaurant for their birthday dinner, but this year due to our busy schedules, we let them pick a breakfast spot. Last week, Satchel chose CKs, which he still insists is the best restaurant in town. (Until we take him somewhere else and he enthusiastically declares that it is the best restaurant in town.) Starting a work day off with a patty melt was a very bad decision on my part.

When we were on the dinner plan, Jiro said he wanted to go to Tsunami and drink a Diet Dr. Pepper. (This is sort of what happened on Satchel's birthday last year.) Then on the breakfast plan Jiro said that he wanted to go to CKs too. (He isn't very original!) I had to intervene. "Why don't we go somewhere new?" I said in my most convincing tone.

"Where?" he asked.

"Bryant's," I said.

"What kind of food do they have?" he asked.

"Eggs, bacon, biscuits..."

"Okay!" he said before I finished my list.

I've been trying to get Team Oster to Bryant's ever since I had lunch there three months ago, but for whatever reason we had yet to make it. (Even though it's called Bryant's Breakfast, they serve lunch from 10-2, in addition to breakfast. They have daily specials, like chicken and dumplings, and there's always the option of a veggie plate.)

When we arrived at 9:00am this morning I was shocked to find it so busy. Who were all of these people having a leisurely breakfast on a Wednesday morning? There were was a diverse mix of people, some of them very interesting. Warren says it's due to the general Summer Avenue vibe and the nearby trailer park, but I think it's the good food, fast service, and low prices. (And the fact that the Commercial Appeal poll consistently ranks them as the #1 breakfast place in town.)

When we walked in, the monkeys immediately honed in on the cooler full of drinks. "I want a Coke," announced Satchel.

"NO," I said.

"How about a Diet Coke?" he asked.

"How about juice?" I countered.

"Orange juice!" Jiro exclaimed.

"Okay," Satchel acquiesced.

As I reached for two cans of orange juice, Warren intervened and convinced them both to get a Yoohoo. They weren't really interested but the more he sold it as a chocolate milkshake, the more they came around. I can only assume that the hard sell was due to his desire to have a few sips.

I headed over to the counter to start perusing the menu while simultaneously quizzing the kids about what they wanted. The long line was moving at breakneck speed and I was starting to panic. "I want a grits bowl with bacon and cheese," Warren said as he went in search of a table."

"Uh, wait!" I hollered. It was too early for things to be moving so fast. I wasn't prepared. The kids both said they wanted eggs, bacon, and biscuits and then followed Warren to a table. (I incorrectly informed them that there were no hashbrowns on the menu.) Suddenly it was my turn and I was at a loss for words. I ordered Warren's grits breakfast bowl and then tried explaining that I wanted two eggs, bacon, and biscuits, but the woman was moving too fast. "Two egg and bacon biscuits," she said while scribbling and nodding.

"No, I want eggs, bacon, and biscuits all separate," I explained with hand signals. "It's for the kids," I added. I sensed she was familiar with the don't let anything touch mentality of the under 10 crowd.

"Okay, I'll give you the breakfast special--it'll be cheaper for you and they have everything they want."

Perfect! I thought she meant for them to split one special, but I ended up with two. Then at the last minute I decided to get an egg and sausage biscuit. The words were barely out of my mouth before the food was lined up in front of me. It was insane! I told her about the two Yoohoos, Warren's coffee (that he served himself from an industrial sized coffee pot in the dining area), and my Diet Coke.

"That'll be $24," she said. I reached for my debit card and she said, "Cash only." Thankfully it was one of the few times in my life that I actually had some cash on me. (Thanks to my MIL for the cash! I have an April birthday too.)

I headed over to where the boys were sitting and doled out the food. Satchel looked at his giant plate and started grinning and licking his lips. Jiro looked at his plate and then mine. "What's that?" he asked.

"A sausage, egg...and cheese...biscuit," I said. (I didn't order the cheese but I wasn't sad to see it.) He put his bottom lip out a little in the pre-pout formation. "Want a bite?" I asked as I handed it over. He could barely get his mouth over it, but he liked it. Realizing I would have nothing to eat, I said, "Let's make you a biscuit."

"How?" he asked.

"Watch," I said as I cut open one of his three biscuits and piled a slice of bacon and a scoop of eggs inside.

"Yay," he said as he took over the construction.

Satchel, who had scarfed down half of his plate already, was looking on. "I want one!" he said. However, he reached for the side of gravy and made his s messy as possible.

Next Warren sent me in search of hot sauce. (I asked a man behind window #2.) Then Satchel asked for water. (I secured a cup from a nearby water cooler.)

Finally I ate my biscuit. It was flaky and delicious, and not at all greasy. Very nice. Warren seemed similarly pleased with his grits breakfast bowl. "I haven't had grits in a long time," he commented. Then he wondered out loud if they had hamburgers. (They do.) Clearly he was plotting his next visit.

Meanwhile, Satchel was fascinated with a teenage boy next to us who had an order of biscuits and gravy. "Look," he said motioning to the sea of gravy on the boy's plate.

"It's supposed to be like that," I assured him.

A few minutes later and he was smothering his last remaining biscuit in gravy. "Is this place better than CKs?" I asked.

"Oh yeah," he said with a mouth full of biscuits and a face full of gravy.

By now Jiro was in my personal space rubbing his tummy. "My tummy hurts," he said. I looked at his near empty plate.

"I think you ate too fast," I said.

He nodded and said, "And too much."

In the end we had three biscuits, two slices of bacon, a scoop of eggs, two servings of grits, and one serving of gravy leftover. We asked for a to go box and I fully expect we'll be having Bryant's part 2 tomorrow morning. Best of all, we were out of there in about 30 minutes. Now, that's service! "They have a smooth running kitchen," Warren noted. (He had his first restaurant kitchen experience on Sunday, so he knows what he's talking about!)

My only complaint was the proliferation of styrofoam: Drink cups, to go boxes, and the small containers for grits and gravy. Next time I go there, I'll be leaving a Project Green Fork calling card.

Bryant's Bar-B-Q & Breakfast on Urbanspoon


Ginger said...

I know where we're going for breakfast this weekend!

Unknown said...

It helps when you have learned the system. Things go a lot better if you know what you are ordering when you get to the cashier. We always delegate on person to do the ordering and it goes very smooth. I like the less traveled Cinnamon Roll French Toast. I order some sausage on the side and my wife gives me her grits. Mmmmmm.

cdel said...

I don't recommend the burger. It's a pretty big let-down because it's just mediocre when everything else they have is really good.

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