Burs, Carr’s, Moon Rise, House of Donuts, Cascade Bagel – Lakewood earns its reputation as a breakfast diner’s destination.Today, I delve into a new restaurant in Lakewood: Kimberly’s Cafe, a pretty restaurant with a polished presentation that turns out plates of delicious gravy-laden carbs and fluffy omelets.And I also take a tour of breakfast eats at five more Lakewood restaurants: Burs, Carr's, Moon Rise Cafe, House of Donuts and Cascade Bagel. Click "more" to read the reviews.
Kimberly’s CafeWhere: 11126 Gravelly Lake Drive S.W., LakewoodPhone: 253-588-8989Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
I went to Kimberly’s Café for the Connecticut grinder sandwiches and found myself returning twice for sublime breakfasts. I don’t think Kimberly’s – which opened in July in the former Vive Bene space – is known yet for its breakfasts, but it should be.
The breakfast eats produced by the kitchen read like pure diner yum with a sophisticated edge, all served in a pretty atmosphere with golden butter-colored walls and a sharp black-on-white checkerboard tile floor. Water goblets, glass-top tables with linens beneath and cloth napkins ratchet this restaurant up to Ladies Who Lunch status.
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S.O.S., the quintessential diner staple, which I shall call Substance on a Shingle in this family-friendly blog, had toast as the shingle and creamy beef gravy as the substance, which played to the middle of thick and thin and came spiked with hunks of ground beef and laden (in a good way) with pepper, garlic and real cream. Crispy-good hash browns shared plate space. This might be the best $3.95 breakfast you’ll ever love.
Eggs Benedict ($9.25) came with a thick and velvety lemon-colored hollandaise that coated two perfectly poached eggs over a muffin (or biscuit if you like). The crispy hash browns were delicious.
Quiche ($8.95) tasted velvety smooth from a cooking trip in a water bath, a technique that gets my stamp of silky-egg approval. Cheddar was on top instead of inside the quiche, which came stuffed with spinach and tomato. Quiche flavors change daily.
The home fries – made from baked Russets griddle-fried to order – that accompanied the quiche on that visit tasted a bit burned, but on another visit they were crunchy-creamy wedges with the Mediterranean omelet ($8.95), a nod to the cafe’s night-time emphasis on Italian cuisine. A fluffy three-egg affair, the omelet burgeoned with complex flavor – spinach, onions, red peppers, sundried tomatoes and a pesto and balsamic bruschetta on top.
The only miss during multiple visits was a country-fried steak on a savory waffle ($8.95). The dish suffered from a soggy waffle that matched a limp jacket around the chopped steak that tasted gristly and a pasty country gravy.
The Kimberly in the kitchen is Kimberly Connell, the granddaughter of William “Will” Burslem, the man who owned Lakewood’s Burs Restaurant for 27 years before selling it to South Sound Restaurants. Cooking breakfast nearly every morning at Kimberly’s is Peggy Bruzek, Connell’s mother and the daughter of Burslem, who formerly cooked breakfast at Burs. Yes, that would explain the perfectly executed diner eats, right? Connell previously operated a catering company.
Return at lunch or dinner for an American menu kissed with Italian favorites – diner sandwiches, pizza, pasta and Connecticut grinders at lunch; spaghetti, lasagna, chicken picatta and more Italian at dinner. The restaurant has an exceptional deal: an early bird $12.95 four-course dinner from 4:30-6 p.m. daily.
Moon Rise CafeWhere: 6020 Main St. S.W., LakewoodPhone: 253-983-9999Hours: 7 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday
The Moon Rise might be a small cafe, but it hand shreds 700 pounds of potatoes each week.
And that little plastic cup of raspberry jam with the toast? The jam is made daily in the Moon Rise Café kitchen by Christine Curren, who runs the breakfast-and-lunch cafe with her daughter, Samantha Syverson.
Curren, who previously owned two restaurants in Olympia, has operated Moon Rise since December 2006 in the Lakewood Towne Center and plans to be there for five more. She just renewed her lease.
Big portions and great eggs are the theme here, served by a sweet and friendly crew that includes a server who is a tattooed, 21st century version of Flo (minus telling customers to "Kiss my grits").
A split biscuit ($4.95) tasted dense without being too cakey and was covered in a silky, peppery sausage gravy. An avocado tomato and feta omelet ($8.25) was fluffy with just a little brown on the edge, the same as the home fries on the side. Eggs Benedict ($8.50) came with poached eggs, shaved smoky ham and a buttery hollandaise flanking home fries mixed with a bit of hash browns that I wanted to call home browns.
Carr’s Restaurant Where: 11006 Bridgeport Way S.W., LakewoodContact: 253-584-4622 or carrsrestaurant.netHours: 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
Since 2008, the auto-themed Carr’s Restaurant has been serving pancakes as big as dinner plates and breakfasts with a pound of potatoes.
Owner Chris Carr is the nephew of Marcia Crelling of Marcia’s Silver Spoon of South Tacoma Way fame. He and his wife, Ellen Carr, both started their careers working for Crelling.
Breakfast is served all day – and by breakfast, I mean ginormous plates of food that will feed a logger, an Army ranger and a hungry teen. Breakfast for $10-$12 is not cheap, but you get your money’s worth.
Our server’s arm looked shaky from the girth of a crunchy-crispy cut-it-with-a-fork chicken-fried steak ($11.49) on top of a pound of crispy home fries. It looked mountainous under the ooze of country sausage gravy with a peppery bite.A Mediterranean metro omelet ($11.99) was a fluffy, eggy blanket wrapped around kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and a sprinkle of feta. I could have done without the raw onion garnish. Hash browns are shredded large, and there’s toast with raspberry jam on the side.
Service is friendly with a capital F. You’ll find servers who work the whole room, which means coffee and water will be filled by every server who passes.
Burs Restaurant Where: 6151 Steilacoom Blvd., LakewoodInfo: 253-588-4844
It doesn't matter what time of morning it is, early or late, weekend or weekday, it seems that Burs perpetually keeps busy with a stream of regulars.
It's a yesteryear kind of place that churns out solid breakfasts in a quirky diner setting with comfy brown booths and servers who look to be veterans, judging by how coffee cups never run empty and they seem to know everybody's name.
You'll find biscuits and gravy ($5.99) with a choice of hamburger or sausage, and if you pick sausage, you'll be rewarded with a gravy heavy on pork over two fluffy biscuits. Pancakes are as big as a dinner plate and come in a stack of two. Country fried steak ($8.29) wore a crispy shell around a nicely seasoned steak, all coated with a generous ooze of cream gravy. Burs Benies ($8.59) was six silver-dollar sized slices of Canadian ham over toasted English muffins and a buttery hollandaise that was broken on my visit. The Benedict also came with a quirky problem - one egg poached, the other hard boiled. Was someone distracted at the grill that day?
I spotted something that looked interesting enough for a return visit: butterhorns. You just don't see those anymore, sort of like how S.O.S. has gone missing.
Cascade Bagel & Deli Where: 6115 Motor Ave. S.W., LakewoodMore information: 253-984-6821 or www.cascadebagel.comHours: 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Cascade Bagel started with a Seattle moniker in the 1990s. Betty Murrie and Bob Bringer bought the Lakewood bakery from their boss. Seattle Bagel became Cascade Bagel in November 2003. Before they bought it, Bringer was the manager and night baker; Murie was assistant manager. They both had worked at the bakery since 1997.
Cascade Bagel is in an interesting eating triangle – near where Gravelly Lake Drive meets Bridgeport Way – that includes Great Cuisine of India, the German Pastry Shop and Hess Bakery and Delicatessen.
The bakery doubles as a deli with a menu of sandwiches with prices starting at $2.60. Prices range from 80 cents to $1.45 for individual bagels.
The bagels are New York in spirit. However, on three separate visits, the half-dozen bagels I tried tasted doughy and slightly rubbery with little or no exterior crisp and little browning. Toasting the bagels helped in that regard. The bagels freeze beautifully and can be easily toasted from a frozen state. I have four left in the deep freeze now. Even if I can't go out to breakfast, I like knowing that I can always pull breakfast at Cascade Bagel right out of my freezer.
House of DonutsWhere: 9638 Gravelly Lake Drive, LakewoodInfo: 253-588-2647
The sign on the door tells diners that House of Donuts has been a Lakewood tradition since 1959. It's one of the more unusual buildings in that particular neighborhood, which is chock full of architectural oddities if you look hard enough. House of Donuts is not so much a restaurant as it is a doughnut chalet. I just love the triangle shape of the building. Be careful where you park, there are drive-up windows on both sides of the building.
Once inside, you'll have your choice of doughnuts and pastries - including spongy glazed donuts covered in maple or chocolate, and even blueberry. Cinnamon rolls are more fluffy than dense and yeasty. You'll love their maple bars if you like a light glaze of crunchy icing. I'm a sucker for their cruellers. Make mine cherry coated, please.