I have a crazy affection for Bob's Red Mill. I love their products, and a visit to their Whole Grain Kitchen makes me giddy. On one hand, it's so damn wholesome that it should just bother me, but I have to admit I find geeky earnestness enticing. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's the fact that I see Bob of Bob's Red Mill there everytime I go in for breakfast.
You go into the Whole Grain Store, and the counter to order food is back and to the left. Don't be surprised if there's a line and you have to slowly inch by the breads. Sooner or later, you'll get to the front and you can order.
After you order, you take your number and claim a table, either on the first floor, on the patio, on the second floor. Water, coffee, and pop are self-serve, and the stations also include maple syrup, butter and honey. Someone will deliver your food and make sure you have everything you need.
The breakfast menu has 15 items, the vegetarian (vegan, really) brekkie menu has 10. Prices range from $3.95-$8.29, with the median price being $6.29. Breakfast meats include turkey ham, turkey bacon and garden sausage.
We made a visit recently for a cheese omelet and eggs & grits. First of all, the coffee is worse than it used to be, which is to say it sucks. If I had been on the ball, I might have noticed the Republic of Tea packets at the hot beverage station, though the only caffeine-free option was chamomile.
If you don't get there early, the line to order will snake by the baked goods, which is dangerous. All sorts of breads, rolls, cornbreads, etc.
You order at the counter, and they'll ask you then and there if you'll be eating upstairs or on the main floor. It's not a bad idea to send one of your party to suss this out before you get to this point. There's more seating upstairs, and the downstairs does get full at times.
You get scratch biscuits as an option for bread. They are a smidge sweet, crumbly (but not flakey), and tasty enough to eat without having to slather them with butter or jam. The jam is little packets of Freezerves, which, for jam in packets is pretty damn good.
On some dishes, you get your choice of cottage potatoes or hashbrowns. The hashbrowns are standard diner-issue, and really good.
We asked for the eggs scrambled soft, and they were cooked to order. The accompanying grits weren't as good as I remembered them, and if the menu didn't say they contained cheddar cheese, I'd never know that it was there. But still, they were grits, corny, appreciative of butter and salt and pepper. The omelet was a little tough, a little browned, and not terribly cheesy.
I tried the vegan french toast awhile back, and I'd never have known it was vegan. Generally, everything is pretty darn good here -- not gourmet, but wholesome.