Shortly after the grand opening of Calla Lily Cafe, Natalie Stevens of the Oswego Patch sat down with Pedro and Dee Lopez—the husband-and-wife team behind Oswego’s newest eatery—to find out what made their business tick. The pair mused about their family’s string of restaurants and bars out in California, citing how they’ve always dreamed of doing the same. However, Calla Lily—named after the Lopez’s favorite flower—isn’t a bar; it’s a cozy and comfortable breakfast spot. Platefuls of multigrain pancakes, thick-cut french toast, and belgian waffles share menu space with hearty egg skillets, omelets, and biscuits and gravy. Customers not in the mood for breakfast can opt for lunch items such as triple-decker club sandwiches, half a dozen kinds of burgers, and fresh salads, before thinking long and hard about why they weren’t in the mood for breakfast.
Painted depictions of giant orange slices, strawberries, and cups of coffee grace the pale blue walls inside Off The Wall Caf?. Tables with red seating and a long countertop flanked by bright blue stools host platefuls of fluffy omelets, biscuits, and 10 kinds of skillets. During lunch hours, the grills heat up for burgers and specialty fries, including parmesan-garlic fries and sweet-potato fries with a honey-cinnamon-butter dip.
If a visit to one of Southern Belle's restaurants feels a lot like coming home, it might have something to do with the hearty family traditions behind the kitchen's down-home breakfast and lunch dishes. “My father was in pancake houses all his life,” says owner Steve Fotos. Today, many of the same recipes used by Steve's father help populate a menu of hearty comfort foods that includes a poached-egg and sausage benedict smothered in country gravy and french toast stuffed with cinnamon apples, strawberries and pecans, or blueberries and bananas. But while the country-fried-steak or smoked-sausage skillets are tempting, the expansive menu offers options for diets of all kind, pairing fluffy egg whites with strawberries, granola, and multigrain toast and swapping out regular maple syrup for bottles that are low-calorie, sugar-free, or simply sealed shut. Photos of farms and pastoral images smile down upon diners as they dig in and gently remind them to inquire about the restaurant's seasonal specials, which range from summertime salads with sun-ripened veggies to bowls of homemade wintertime chili.
In the kitchens of Blueberry Hill's five suburban outposts, cooks forgo lazy morning lounging to pull together homey assortments of timeless brunch fare. Pancakes infused with fruit or sweets are made from scratch, much like hand-knitted socks or hand-painted report cards. French-toast slices get stuffed with apple and cream cheese, smothered in fruit, or rolled in Cap'n Crunch. Fresh meats and veggies take cover under eggs in savory skillets, and a selection of sandwiches quells cravings in handheld form.
The owners of Bombdigity Bar & Grill?dubbed by one of the owner's 9-year-old grandaughter?wanted to quickly sum up their eatery?s dining experience with one word. And the menu is bombdigity, with highlights such as salads, wraps, and the Bomb burger, stacked with bacon, grilled onion, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, house barbecue sauce, jalape?os, and onion rings. Inside the log structure, which is surrounded by the Plum Creek Arboretum, 4,888 square feet of space is topped off with a rustic cathedral ceiling. A medley of flat-screen TVs surround a horseshoe-shaped bar and the rest of the tables in the expansive dining room. Outside, two fire pits are surrounded by seating and tables for up to 100 people or 70 deer.
Inside Biscuits' cozy and casual dining room, servers drift between tables and booths carrying plates heaped with country fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and stacks of sweet turtle pancakes stuffed with chocolate and butterscotch. Burgers, quesadillas, and a variety of sandwiches served with fries or tots encourage diners to eat with their hands, helping lower the appendages’ risk of being naturally selected against. Before meals, patrons can perk up with yogurt smoothies, specialty espresso drinks, and bottomless cups of java.