Fans of hearty sit-down breakfasts, take heart. The popular Cracked Egg has opened in the mall housing Smith’s, on Green Valley Parkway adjacent to the 215. It’s the only freestanding breakfast place in the area, since the Original Pancake House is inside a casino, and Whole Foods Market, which also serves a decent breakfast, is no restaurant.
The eatery is the fourth belonging to Suzanne Altreche, a sunny extrovert who likes her customers as much as kids like her peanut butter-stuffed French toast. Formerly home to the Italian restaurant Anna Bella, this is a huge, ochre space with enough room for an echo, and a conventional breakfast and lunch menu stocked with American comfort food.
One of the best breakfast items is a signature coffee cake, served warm from the oven. I like the one with a mixed-berry bottom, but pumpkin, cinnamon and other flavors that are changed every so often are good, too. Huge omelets and skillet breakfasts are served with terrific hash browns, golden and crisp. Biscuits come smothered in rich gravy laced with bits of sausage, a trucker’s dream and an internist’s nightmare.
At lunch, the menu runs to soup and sandwiches, served with seasoned potatoes, potato salad or fresh fruit, plus a salty pickle wedge. I’m not much for the House Original, a big roast beef sandwich with both cream cheese and horseradish mayo, but I like the Reuben, as well as the proper BLT, served on toasted whole wheat bread.
Altreche puts a premium on freshness, and almost everything here is made from scratch and tastes it. “You’d be surprised how many customers ask me if we use liquid eggs,” she says. Hey, who’d eat at a place that called itself The Liquid Egg?