Tucked away, on a section of Hertel Avenue that is dominated by low profile office park buildings and parking lots, sits a family diner-style restaurant. It’s called The Kitchen Table Family Restaurant. My wife spotted it the other day, as she was taking a shortcut from Delaware to Niagara Street.
This morning we decided to try the place out, after passing through the neighborhood. As we pulled up to the building, I must admit that it didn’t look all that promising. But suddenly we both realized that the sign looked familiar. It turns out that the diner had moved to this obscure location from the corner of Elmwood and Amherst Street a couple of year ago. Instead of simply closing, when the building owner didn’t renew the lease, the restaurant owner picked up and moved a few blocks away.
Knowing that the food had been pretty good at its last location, we felt better about trying it out. Plus, we ran into a waitress in the driveway by the name of Brittney. She told us that it was her first day working. She also told us that she had been served an excellent breakfast that morning, and that we were in for a treat. When we walked into the building, we immediately felt a complete change of heart about the place. Although the outside of the building is pretty vanilla looking, the inside has a charming dining atmosphere. There is a wall of nicely upholstered booths, along with sharp-looking retro chairs, clean tile floors, ceiling fans… we immediately felt right at home.
Our waitress turned out to be Brittney herself, who was a real sweetheart. She dropped off a couple of menus at the table, and set us up with a free coffee. A free coffee! When was the last time that anyone gave you anything for free? Apparently the owner feels that part of sharing a good meal is sharing a cup of coffee or tea with a meal – for the entire month of December only. To me, that’s kind of special. It also helped to set the mood for the rest of the meal.
Let me first warn you. The portions at The Kitchen Table are fairly substantial. So come hungry and get ready to eat. My wife ordered the breakfast hoagie and a side of home fries. Why she ordered the home fries, the world will never know. You will see why in a second. I opted for the banana pancakes because the menu had so many varieties of pancakes that I figured that they must be a house specialty. I also order a side of hash, with an over easy egg on top. Oh, and some rye toast, which came out seedless (just as an FYI).
My wife’s hoagie looked like the chef had taken every ingredient in the kitchen, pan-fried it all up and put it on a hoagie roll. The thing was gigantic. The side of home fries was also quite large, though they weren’t the type of home fires that either one of us typically like. They were larger chunks of potatoes that were over-boiled on the inside and not crispy on the outside. At the same time, we are aware that home fries come in all shapes, sizes, textures and flavors, and everyone has different ideas about which ones are the best (just like pizza). Fortunately, there was so much food that we didn’t even bother to feel bad about not eating them.
My wife felt that her monstrous hoagie was one of the best breakfast dishes that she had ever had. She even let me take a bite, and I agreed that it was a home run winner. If my banana pancakes had not been so righteous, I would have been jealous. The pancakes were delicious – perfectly prepared with lots of banana slices. The cakes were a little fluffy, but not too fluffy, and not at all dry. In fact, they were the best pancakes that I had tried in a long time. The hash and egg combo was also really nice. After a long week, we were both content. We were also happy that we had found a diner-style restaurant in the city that appealed to both of our tastes. Sometimes places like this don’t offer the culinary bells and whistles like this place does.
After taking our last bites, we sat back, wondering how we were ever going to manage to get moving, after such a state of breakfast bliss. By taking our time getting out the door, we managed to learn a few more things about the place. The owner is getting ready to expand the offerings. In a week’s time, there will be a food station opening in the back that will feature build-your-own salads, burritos and smoothies. There will also be pizza available. Right now, the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, but will open for dinner when the new offerings roll out. Customers will also be happy to hear that the owner is planning on extending hours to seven days a week (breakfast through dinner).
Oh, The Kitchen Table is also great for kids. There’s a decent sized kid’s menu, and what youngster doesn’t like a diner atmosphere? There are also salads and wraps, burgers, melts, clubs and subs (see here), and breakfast is served all day.
I highly suggest that breakfast lovers make the trip to this place, despite being a bit out of the way. It’s hands down one of the best breakfast offerings in the city.