Grits and latkes unite!
The interior is charming and homey with pine floors and massive I-steel beams overhead strung with dried herbs. Large windows open up to the street in the warmer months. Old wooden hutches line the wall behind a rough plank-topped lunch counter with yellow gingham-covered stools. Hipster staff gives it a cool, bohemian vibe.
Jewish and Southern menu offerings include: matzo ball soup, Reuben’s, lox, green bean casserole, potato pancakes with apples, biscuits, bagels, brisket, chicken fried steak, and mac and cheese. There are standard breakfast and lunch choices like breakfast burritos, pancakes, and tuna melts.
I visited for Sunday brunch on two occasions. The first time I ordered off the menu. I had the vegetarian chicken-fried steak, which comes with a biscuit and gravy. The veggie-fried steak was a crispy latke covered in a thick and bland white gravy – nothing some pepper and salt wouldn’t cure. I was expecting seitan or tofu, but the latke was a pleasant surprise. The biscuit was pretty good – a bit heavy, but baking a light biscuit is a difficult science.
What I had was plenty, but I couldn’t resist ordering a side of mac and cheese - sides will cost you, but seconds are free. The mac and cheese was made with a mixture of cheeses, but I prefer sharp cheddar. It was also topped with crumbles of fishes – the cheesy cracker snack. Very odd. Not bad, but nothing to repeat.
The second time I ordered off their daily special menu. I had a tofu po' boy with bbq mayo. Cubed and fried tofu came on a long crusty roll with a smidge of lettuce and sauce. A small side of health salad – pickled cabbage, carrots, cucumbers and green tomato - accompanied the sandwich along with the standard dill pickle wedge. Fries were extra.
Why does tofu always have to be cubed? I wish people were more creative with tofu. Thinly sliced tofu would have worked well. I also thought there should have been more sauce on the sandwich, which leads to my only complaint about the restaurant – the service.
I’m not sure what service system they have. Is it communal or do I have one server? The person who seemed to be our server was very pleasant, but not around that often. The person who seated us was tending to tables as well. Someone working in the kitchen delivered our food.
In an attempt to get a side of bbq mayo, I tried to make eye contact with any one walking past our table. The person who seated us was most present, but she never made eye contact with our table. After I had finished everything on my plate except for the sandwich, I finally had to blurt out, “Excuse me.” She apathetically came to the table and barely grunted when I asked for a side of bbq sauce. She came back not with a side of the bbq mayo that comes with the sandwich, but with some other bbq sauce. Perhaps that was my fault for not specifying, but I just assumed that she would bring the accompanying sauce. I gave up and just ate my otherwise delicious tofu po' boy.
I like the fact that Honey’s offers vegetarian and even vegan options. The last time I went they had two vegan soup specials. I do wish that there were more vegetarian options, but I realize they’re not catering only to vegetarians. If only they made the matzo ball soup from the menu vegetarian. Maybe it will make the specials board.
I also like the fact that owner Ellen Mogell and her partner Jeb Woody try to use high quality ingredients like local, organic produce and locally made foods when possible. Many items like jam, pancakes, and sausage are made from scratch.
Service is lackadaisical but the food is good. I’ll definitely be back. I can deal with moody service from hip kids. I liked the nice server better, though.
Honey's Sit n' Eat
800 N. 4th St., Philadelphia, PA 19123