Times have been tough for table service breakfast spots in the Northeast in the past year. First Cindy’s closed after decades in business, and then Lumberjack put down the ax after opening the chain’s first Bakersfield restaurant on Mt. Vernon. All you really had was Marie Callender’s.
Now another locally owned operation, Maggie’s Sunrise Café, has made an impressive debut near the Walmart and Big Lots, just south of the old East Hills Mall. You know the mall, that place that sold at auction a few months go for about all the change you probably have hidden inside the living room sofa? Anyway, Maggie Navarro is the owner and she offers breakfast and lunch only. David Irvine got there before us and his enthusiastic report was confirmed by two visits at breakfast and lunch, though it seems the same menu is available at all times. So, if for some reason your alarm is set for 3 p.m. and you want breakfast, slide on in.
On our first visit I just could not resist the chocolate peanut butter banana pancakes breakfast ($12.55), and said a prayer of gratitude that Maggie’s did not list the calorie count on their menu for this extravaganza: eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns or country potatoes and pancakes made with chocolate chips embedded in the cakes, fresh sliced bananas and a drizzle of peanut butter sauce that tasted slightly sweet. Elvis would have loved it. The whipped cream on top hid another banana segment. The two slices of bacon were exceptionally smoky and crispy, as were the hash browns. This is the perfect meal if you need to carb up for a marathon or a marathon-day of yard work. Though our waitress asked if we wanted sugar-free or regular syrup and we opted for the latter, we didn’t use any at all as the cakes get enough sweetness from the sauce and the chocolate.
My companion selected the Maggie’s Sunrise Scramble ($11.55), the only one from a list of eight scrambles that's made with fried russet potatoes and mixed with chorizo, which added an appealing huskiness to the skins-on spuds. The bed of potatoes was topped with eggs, bell peppers, onions and avocado slices cut in a visually appealing fan shape. It all came with flour tortillas and was more than enough food for two able bodied adults to split.
When we went back for lunch, I had to try the mozzarella cheese stick appetizer ($7.99) that a friend found to be worth every calorie, as well as the patty melt ($10.55) made with cheddar cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms on sourdough bread, and a breakfast burrito ($10.95) made with that chili verde from Don Perico and lots of potato chunks and scrambled eggs, green and red peppers, and almost no fat with some spiciness. But as good as the other food was, the patty melt was an absolute star for a lot of reasons. The sourdough bread was crisply grilled, the beef patty inside was juicy, the portion of melted cheddar very generous, the caramelized onions and grilled mushrooms a perfect condiment and no special sauce or mayo was needed. The fries on the side were thick cut with some light batter. Good to see they can handle lunch as expertly as breakfast.
It is interesting that the menu says the chili verde is provided by Don Perico, a neighborhood restaurant just to the west. Don’t think I’ve seen that a lot, though the two businesses are hardly competitors. Another intriguing item we will try in the future is a fajitas steak sandwich ($12.59) offered on a French roll with pepper jack cheese.
The dining room is located in a strip mall, has a seven-seat counter near the kitchen and an assortment of tables and booths. Though it was already busy, it looks well-staffed and we lacked for nothing. It has a wooden floor, ceiling fans, walls painted an attractive golden shade and comfortable metal frame chairs. It looks like it’ll have a long run.