My Mom and Dad live near A2Z, and recently have rediscovered it—it has been under a couple of ownerships over the years (I went once ages ago under a different owner and wasn’t overly impressed). But not only have my parents told me to go, but so have a couple of readers recently. So the other day my daughter and I went to meet my parents for late breakfast/early lunch.
It’s a little strip mall place off of 96th Street in an area where there are not a lot of mom and pops—it’s good to see one doing so well. At around 11:00 am on a Sunday, there was about a 20-minute wait. Everyone in this place—and I mean everyone from the hostess to the owners to the servers to the bussers are super friendly. Even the co-owner (the “pop” in the relationship) came out from cooking in the kitchen to greet tables. It was an atmosphere that was just pleasurable to be in. I think it rubs off on the customers too, as even they seemed very friendly.
Food-wise, I wanted to get a taste of some breakfast and some lunch, so we ordered a bunch of different stuff. We started with a small order of fried biscuits for the table ($4). These are similar to those that you get in Brown County except they are dusted in cinnamon and sugar, so they are sweet right out of the gate. A bit more like a donut hole. They do serve them with apple butter as well. It was good, but I don’t even know if you need it with the sugar. They were hot and fresh and tender. Very tasty and I nice way to start. My daughter particularly loved them (she has a huge sweet tooth).
Because everyone else was ordering breakfast, I wanted to get a lunch item just to be able to write about it all. I had the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich ($10.50). This is hand breaded and is one of those ones that is totally huge! I cut it in half and just used half for my sandwich, but if you’re a double decker kind of person, you could do two full-sized layers. The pork was very tender and I loved the lightness of the breading on the sandwich. The bun was nicely toasted and I ate it in the classic way, with mayo, red onions, pickles and lettuce. It was very tasty. I’d put it up there with some of the better versions in town. Honestly though, I really enjoyed just cutting bites of the extra part of the cutlet that I didn’t put on my sandwich. It was so light and crunchy. And you could really taste and appreciate the meat. It made me like the whole thing even more. I had a side of mac and cheese and it was good, but not mind-blowing. I liked that the pasta had a bit of firmness to it though—it wasn’t all mushy like some are. They also have a Reuben on the menu, which is one of hubby’s favorites, so we’ll have to go back and try it.
I had a bite of my Mom’s California omelet ($10.50) and it was also good. It’s the kind of thing that includes ingredients that can almost make me get excited about an omelet. There was avocado on top and inside it had bacon, tomato and American cheese. It was very bacony, which is always a good thing. Normally it comes with a side of sour cream as well, but mom didn’t get it—I would have liked it even more with the sour cream I think for that kick of extra tanginess. It’s still an omelet, which like I said aren’t my favorite things just because they’re a little dry for my taste, but overall this was a pretty darn good one.
My Mom got two sides with her omelet and she got fruit and I convinced her to upgrade one to a half order of biscuits and gravy for her other one (for only $1.50 more). They weren’t bad, but I would have liked a but more pepper and sausage flavor. They are very generous with the gravy though. You can see my Dad’s plain cheese omelet ($7) in the background. I didn’t try it, but he seemed to like it.
My daughter had the steak and eggs ($12) and pretty nearly cleaned her plate so I think she was good with it. They did her sunny side eggs perfectly. The steak portion of the meal was a skewer of beef tenderloin. She said it was good, but a bit cooked past the medium rare she asked for. This is one of the reasons I avoid meat on a stick in general—hard to cook it to order. But like I said, she pretty much ate every thing on her plate except all her toast, so I think she was good.
This is a very good option for a homemade breakfast or lunch—it’s not fancy and it’s not gourmet or anything, but they do have some interesting options besides just the standards and the food is very good. And they have a lot of fresh options like avocado and spinach and lots of different cheeses are used in different dishes. I look forward to returning to get my very own breakfast. And I would happily eat that tenderloin again. Plus, the staff alone makes it worthy of visiting. Most of the people working in there knew my parents by name. It seemed like they were like that with a lot of the customers. I would like to know for those of you who have been there, what else stands out on the menu?
4705 E 96th Street