The Breakfast Club is the latest incarnation in a long line of eateries that have come and gone from 342 Cypress St., at the intersection of Massabesic Street. The diner opened Oct. 31 with not a lot of fanfare – we just noticed the “opening soon” banner in the window was replaced with a neon “Open” sign, so we stopped by for breakfast on Sunday.
Read on for how things went.
CUISINE: The Breakfast Club features a two-sided menu – all-day breakfast fare on one side and all-day lunch selections on the flip side.
MENU HIGHLIGHTS/PRICES: You can get a basic 2-egg breakfast with toast and choice of homefries or fruit for $5.95. Breakfast sandwiches are $6.50. There are also six omelets on the menu, including meat- or veggie-only options for $6.60-$8.95, and five Benedict’s – including a roasted turkey version with cranberry sauce on the side, and a Louisiana Benny layered with buttermilk-battered fried chicken and cajun-hollandaise, $8.95-9.95. Also plenty of options from the griddle – basic or enhances challah French toast (starting at $7.95) pancakes (3 for $6.95) or crepes, available with sweet or savory fillings, a Southwest section (including egg tacos, $8.95, or Croque Señorita, $7.95) healthy items like Greek yogurt, oatmeal or quinoa bowl, and four “skillets” – breakfast combos served in cute ceramic skillets, for $8.95.
On the lunch-side menu, for starters you can order classic Greek Avgolemono soup (egg/lemon/chicken) for $4.50 a bowl or $3.25 a cup. There are a variety of typical wraps and sandwiches ranging from $6.50 to $8.45, and salads, from a simple greens mix for $5.95 to the Firecracker Salad, with buffalo fried chicken, crumbled bacon, an egg and gorgonzola cheese for $9.95. Under “Guilty Pleasures” (aka comfort food) you’ll find a half-pound house burger for $7.50 with add-on options, three versions of mac and cheese – traditional, buffalo or bacon, $7.95-$8.95.
WHAT WE ATE: I always judge a new breakfast place by its Benedict, so naturally I had to go with the traditional Eggs Benny. First test was a poke to the yolk – cooked perfectly in this case. Second test was the lemony factor of the hollandaise – another high mark for just the right tang. I’ll definitely order it again.
I inquired about the fruit option, and was told it was a melon mix – I passed on that and went with home fries, which were nicely done in well-seasoned chunks, not greasy, and served in just the right amount, in my opinion. Too often the potato option seems like filler, but in this case, the potatoes were well seasoned and cooked just right. My breakfast date chose the Cowboy Skillet, which advertised scrambled eggs, roasted tomato, sausage patty and queso sauce with black beans, served with pico de gallo and homefries. Overall, he gave it two cowboy thumbs up. It was satisfying enough, however by the time my hubby got to the bottom of the skillet there was an abundance of bland beans. Upon further inspection it appeared the pico de gallo and potatoes might have been missing from the dish. When we mentioned it to our server, she said it was all mixed together. Perhaps my hubby ate it too quickly to notice the other ingredients, but we still think it may have been lacking and thought she should have given us the benefit of the doubt and at least mentioned it to the chef.
Of note: The menu says The Breakfast Club sources local products whenever possible, which is a positive.
OWNERSHIP: We wanted to learn more about the owner, but our server was straight out with a busy Sunday crowd for most of our visit. It was hard to catch her eye, so we flagged down another server who told us the owner was doing the cooking, and is the former owner of Nathaniel’s Family Eatery and Charman’s Restaurant, both of which had good reputations and strong followings until they closed. We were going to ask for a word with the owner, but didn’t want to interrupt his griddle groove. A quick check on the NH Secretary of State website shows the business is registered to Efthymios Papakostas of Bedford.
ATMOSPHERE: We’re going to go with “rustic” – we loved the warmth of the wooden tables and matching wooden chairs, which were generous and comfortable. Decor is simple, from the tin ceiling tiles to wood floors. Everything we needed was right on the table, including a bucket of jams and jellies, which we didn’t need, but was a nice touch, all the same.
WEBSITE: The Breakfast Club has a website, but there is no frills there, just the fact. We found no social media presence – no Facebook site to like, or Twitter handle to follow. Our first Facebook check-in attempt brought up The Breakfast Club in Boston, so we tried again and were able to check in. But we’d encourage the owner to get a Facebook going.
SPECIALS: There were no chalkboard specials, and our server didn’t mention any, which suggests every day is special at The Breakfast Club.
FIRST IMPRESSION: This is a welcome addition to the East Side neighborhood, and should quickly become a favorite go-to diner, and not just for locals – it’s worth the trip to step outside of your usual breakfast comfort zone. A friend we ran into was raving about the crepes, and his breakfast date said her California Benny was “out of this world.” There were only two tables available when we arrived just before 11 a.m., and a party of six swooped in on the open table shortly thereafter. We hope to see the parking lot this full every weekend, for years to come.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: I looked around for some kind of nod to the famous movie by the same name – a framed photo of Molly Ringwald, or a Detention Delight omelet. Unless I missed it, it doesn’t exist – yet. But why not have some fun with it. Also, I thought there might be a way to join The Breakfast Club to receive loyalty specials. Again, I didn’t see any mention of this, but it might be something for the owners to consider.
HOURS: Closed Mondays. Open Tues. – Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., 342 Cypress St., Manchester, NH. Phone number, 603-232-3311.