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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Knockin' back the flapjacks

Posted on Thu, Jun 24, 2004 at 4:00 AM

Everybody has their breakfast food of choice, and for some people it's pancakes – maybe even specialty pancakes, like banana crunch or wheat germ or blueberry. In this town, the First Watch franchise has justly penetrated the market with its wholesome ways (they won't stock the Weekly) and day-starters, especially the pancakes.

As history goes, though, the Breakfast Club is like an estranged cousin to FW. As of spring, Breakfast Club became the name of the place last known as J.P.'s Everyday Gourmet and before that as First Watch. Though the names have changed, the menu has not – and neither has some of the wait staff. In addition to the hot cakes, Breakfast Club serves an inventive assortment of omelets (from veggie to the "Pope John" with Polish sausage, $6.25-$7.45) and sandwiches ($4.95-$6.95). There's something suitable for everyone's tastes, traditional or specialty (like huevos rancheros), for breakfast, lunch or brunch.

Another hearty but not heavy creation is the "light house" ($6.25), a combination crepe and omelet stuffed with mushrooms, avocado and cheese, surrounded by alfalfa sprouts and a sweet/sour dressing, and accompanied by home fries and an English muffin. First Watch used to call the dish the "over lightly" but doesn't offer it on their menu anymore, so it's a real find here.

Back to the griddlecakes, the ones served here are Paul Bunyan-sized, as big as a dinner plate. You can try an order of three, but one is plenty filling and reasonably priced ($1.85). They are fresh and fluffy and taste homemade, and they'll throw together whatever ingredients you want. (My favorite: blueberry-wheat germ-walnut.)

The restaurant is comfortably worn-in, except for the protruding lump in the upholstered seat of my booth that didn't feel friendly. The service, though, is friendly to the point of caretaking.

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