Didn't you hear, South Philly's Green Eggs Cafe is the new weekend brunch hot spot. This translates into an hour wait if you want to grub during normal brunch hours.
But the genius of Green Eggs Cafe, and what takes the sting out of the wait, is that there is a large room on the cafe side of the restaurant with two long couches to sit on and two large TV's (usually tuned to Food Network), one above the fireplace and one behind the cafe bar, to while your time as you sip on a coffee or some other beverage. If the weather's nice, have a seat at the outside bar with stools along the entrance ramp. So much better than standing in line, huffing streetside for an hour.
Thanks to the two open, airy rooms with plenty of light from open windows and doors when the weather is amenable, Green Eggs does not feel like your typical cramped Philly dining room with row house dimensions. Green Eggs could be in California. Or Texas. Or anywhere other than Philly. The atmosphere is refreshing, actually.
Green Eggs puts to practice the green philosophy by using LEED-certified building products, using biodegradable plastic ware, composting, banning Styrofoam, sourcing local ingredients (who doesn't say that?), and donating the $1 charge for filtered tap water to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Peanut butter-stuffed or vanilla creme brulee are the two decadent French toast options, and I went with the creme brulee. With creme brulee in the name, I was expecting a thick custard-stuffed French toast, but this is not the case. A stack of creme brulee batter dipped bread tasting like normal French toast topped with vibrant and fresh berry compote and whipped cream are centered on a plate of maple syrup and creme anglaise. Perhaps the creme brulee let-down was for the best, because I was actually able to finish the stack without feeling weighed down.
The breakfast burrito is a behemoth filled with eggs, olives, corn, chorizo (omitted by request), Tex-Mex cheese, and signature potatoes (roasted breakfast potatoes by any other name) topped with pico de gallo, sour cream, and avocado in a pool of fire roasted red pepper black bean sauce. Phew, that was a lot of ingredients! Greasy potatoes, eggs, and tortilla are what you'll mostly be eating, along with a thin bean sauce that lacks heat or a zesty punch. Meh. That's how I feel about all tofu scrambles, but at least Green Eggs does tofu scramble well. No watery tofu over-seasoned with turmeric or curry powder, just a well balanced scramble studded with thinly sliced green peppers and onions, topped with crunchy nuggets of Bac-o-Bits, which are vegan if you didn't know, but all vegans know this.
The accompanying bowl of fruit was nicely varied and super fresh. Your choice of toast arrives in a cute wire basket.Thinly sliced beets hide underneath a tower of spotlessly fresh mixed greens dressed with a dried oregano-heavy herbal vinaigrette in need of more acid and charm. Mix in olives, tomato slices, and the artichoke hearts on the side of the plate and you've got a Seinfeld-ian big salad.
Watching see-through wire baskets of fries (regular or sweet potato) float through the room en route to other tables was just the sales pitch I needed to order my own. Lack of crispness is always a problem with sweet potato fries, but these limp, medium-cut fries are still salty, sweet and tasty.
Service at Green Eggs is a crapshoot. Obviously, going during weekend brunch hours is the worst time. During one prime weekend brunch time visit we suffered an hour wait for a table and then a ten minute wait for acknowledgment after being seated, a long wait for food, and a mostly absent server that we replaced with which ever server happened to pass our table, and then a long wait for the check. On another visit during a weekend mid-afternoon we opted for the bar seating on the cafe side of the restaurant and received much better service, only because the cafe servers are captive behind the counter and easy to flag down.
I will bemoan this about Green Eggs, but, really, I could say this about most every breakfast and brunch spot in Philly: how about getting some tempeh! Green Eggs' menu lists bacon, turkey bacon, pork roll, sausage, smoked ham, scrapple, and chorizo as sides. They just about covered it all...except for the non-egg, protein-seeking vegetarian. With just that one simple menu addition, I'll be able to substitute tempeh for meat and enjoy many more dishes.
Welcome, Green Eggs, to the club of popular Philly weekend bruncheries with absurdly long waits and good, but not mind-blowing food. South Philadelphians no longer need to walk north to wait for brunch. They can lounge on a couch watching Food Network while suckers else where stand on the street.
Green Eggs Cafe
1306 Dickenson St., Philadelphia, PA 19147
Open daily: 7am-7pm
Full menu: 8am-4pm
Supplemental menu: 7-8am and 4-7pm