Several minutes after my workday ended, I ran across a tweet from Andrea Tomkins (@missfish), one of my favourite local mommy bloggers. She operates “A Peek Inside the Fish Bowl.” The “Fish Bowl” is a website and it hosts a blog to “peek at” some well written entries on the subjects of family and raising children in the Ottawa area. Today, Andrea asked twitter for some of their favourite local breakfast places.
After inviting her to join what my dear friend Yannick (@endorphinbuzz) likes to call our “Elite” brunch club, I discovered that two of the more family-friendly great breakfast places in the Hintonburg and Westboro neighbourhoods have no entries on foodiePrints: Fil’s Diner and the Baker Street Cafe
Fil’s Diner (1209 Wellington Street) is Hintonburg’ s own 60′s style diner, complete with a checkered tile floor, high back booths, chrome edged furniture, hot dog platters, chicken finger baskets, steak sandwich platters, beef liver meals, and classic burgers. It also serves a really nice breakfast, including a great 2 egg combo.
My better half and I, however, are fond of Fil’s Double Double: 1 pancake or 1 slice of French toast, 2 eggs any style, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 sausages, and home fries.
While the pancakes and French toast are somewhat uninspired, they are made to order, fluffy, and and griddle fresh. The bacon is crisp. The eggs, come as ordered. The home fries, while made from frozen, are fried up to order, crisp on the outside and tender in the middle.
The sausages served can be somewhat crusted and dry later in the day, as if they spent too much time under the heat lamps.
The large booths are ideal for families with children. We’ve often seen parents with their sons and/or daughters enjoying themselves at Fil’s, some on high chairs, others on booster seats. Fil’s even has a generous “Kid’s Breakfast Special” that is a smaller version of the double double.
Jenn and I like sitting at the bar where we can interact with the servers and take a peek at the kitchen.
Often times, we are joined by off-duty servers who likewise enjoy a breakfast plate after a shift.
Baker Street Cafe
The Baker Street Cafe (385 Richmond Road) is located in Westboro in what used to be an Irish pub called Annie?s. As Candice points out on the Mmm, Tasty! blog, the Cafe still has a pub feel with a partially converted rectangular bar, overhead hanging drink-ware, wood accented walls, and high bistro tables by the windows. Elsewhere in the restaurant, standard height two seater tables are arranged to seat groups of 4, 6, and 8.
At the Cafe’s front door, there is a handwritten sign, stating that the entire menu is made to order.
It asks patrons to have patience when they order.
Indeed, the small kitchen seems to take an inordinate amount of time to produce plates that other restaurants seem quick to make. While we awaited our ordered breakfasts, I asked for coffee and Jenn opened a copy of the newspaper. The first page she turned to had an offer for a McDonald’s McMuffin breakfast sandwich.
I actually ordered an English muffin sandwich for breakfast.
My coffee cost a seemingly expensive $2.75. That was until the waitress dropped off an entire carafe of freshly brewed coffee on our table.
When our orders arrived, the plates served were indeed fresh and rather generous:
Accompanying our sandwiches were freshly cut fruit and home fries.
While my muffin sandwich was head and shoulders better than anything McDonald’s serves, I found my egg somewhat overcooked.
Hers wasn’t much better.
Still, the sandwiches were satisfying. The fruit, sweet and the home fries made in-house.
We did, however, find several pieces of undercooked potato.
How is the Baker Street Cafe family friendly? There are kid-sized options on the menu. There is stroller parking next to a leather couch by the door.
Finally, the restaurant has high chairs for younger children and booster seats for slightly older ones.
While Jenn and I sat at the bistro table by the windows, we watched several families seat themselves comfortably and enjoy a fine meal.
What makes a family-friendly breakfast restaurant? Affordable prices, flexible menu, and accommodations for the young ones.