It’s obligatory for a reviewer to order the signature dish at a restaurant. And the top breakfast menu item at the Auburn Grill & Family Restaurant sounded pretty tempting – a Belgian waffle topped with corned beef hash, eggs and a special cream sauce.
So I ignored the usual offerings of eggs, omelettes, pancakes and sandwiches and put in an order for the Breakfast Special ($8.50) and a cup of coffee, then took note of my surroundings. The Sunday morning patrons were the usual rural crowd of ball caps and plaid and fluorescent work jackets, which in my books means the breakfast will be hearty and traditional, and the coffee will be refilled regularly. The melamine tables and crown-backed chairs were arranged around the work area, where customers pay for gas from the pumps outside, frozen meals and other convenience items, or fresh pastries from the glass case. Behind a piece of wood lattice, the cook prepared food in the kitchen.
Outside the picture window, the occasional vehicle drove by on Cnty. Road 35 (Blyth Road) and on the other side of the road a farmer’s barren field lay exposed, a row of orange-tipped sticks all that remained to mark the trail snowmobilers would travel to come for a meal.
I was surprised to hear rock music playing in the restaurant, a little heavier variety than one usually hears in public places. I liked it well enough.
Breakfast arrived – a prepared crispy waffle with a light inside, corned beef (but no potato to make it hash), nicely scrambled eggs, and a thick cheesy white sauce that would stick to your ribs on a cold morning.
But I might have made a tactical error in ordering the Breakfast Special, and I’ve since learned that the restaurant is really known locally for its generous portions of standard breakfast fare – eggs, meat, homefries and toast. I’ll make a note of that for my next visit.
No matter what the meal, coffee is a deal breaker for me. Is it hot enough? Is it strong enough but not bitter? Is it refilled on a regular basis? And on all fronts, this coffee did indeed stack up.
The Auburn Grill and Family Restaurant also has a complete lunch and dinner menu, plus children’s menu, and is open seven days a week until 7 p.m.