April 28, 2011

Eat and Run: What's better than breakfast?

Not much -- just ask any of the many fans of Kennebunk's All Day Breakfast.

Society endeavors to convince us that buttermilk pancakes and sausage links aren't welcome at the lunch table. We're led to believe that food consumed after 11:30 a.m. ought to be in sandwich form, or at least plated on a bed of lettuce.

click image to enlarge

Server Cindy LeBarge hoists an armload of groaning plates at All Day Breakfast in Kennebunk.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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ALL DAY BREAKFAST

WHERE: 55 Western Ave., Kennebunk; 967-5132

HOURS: 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

CHEAPEST GRUB: Two eggs any style with bacon, ham or sausage ($3.75); bagel with cream cheese ($2); hot oatmeal ($2.25) and cereal ($1.75)

WAIT: On the off-season, 15 minutes. During the summer, expect a wait just to be seated.

PARKING: Adjacent lot

HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes

RATING: Four stars on a five-star scale

But serious breakfast addicts know that cravings don't wane at noon. Those lovers of early meals will find a safe haven at All Day Breakfast in Kennebunk, where the name alone proclaims an unabashed fondness for breakfast's three morning musketeers: bacon, eggs and toast.

And people love it.

Any local can confirm that a line of diners often stretches out the door during summer months, when throngs of beach seekers stop in for eggs over easy before a long day of flipping themselves under the Maine sun.

But in the spring -- particularly if a cold and rainy morning has deterred less resolute restaurant goers -- getting a table is no more difficult than ordering up a cup of bottomless coffee. It's only a shame that "all day" really means "until 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. on weekends," at least in this restaurant's case.

Not diner-like in the least, All Day Breakfast's neatly set tables, pastel walls and floral curtains make the dining rooms feel like the comfy breakfast nook at your grandparents' house. And as a friendly reminder of Maine's remarkable good looks, the walls are decked with portraits of her features: marsh sunsets, beach grasses and lighthouses.

At a nearby table, retirees discuss the temperamental weather while the grandkids use the jester-shaped salt and pepper shakers like combat soldiers on the battlefield of a paper placemat. A plate of waffles eventually brings a truce to the conflict.

For my part, I went after the buttermilk pancakes full belly ($7): a combination of sausage, well-crisped bacon and eggs over easy with a two-story stack of pancakes large enough to consume every inch of their very own plate.

I could just as easily have swapped in the blueberry pancake full belly ($7.75), the chocolate pancake full belly ($7.75), the waffles ($8) or French toast ($8) and been left as content -- and unable to finish the generous portions. Luckily, my dining cohorts had no problem making sure nothing went to waste.

For folks with eyes equal to or smaller than the size of their stomachs, a slice of French toast and a side of bacon could suffice ($3.85), or a Belgian waffle with Maine maple syrup ($5). Other house specialties include crepes ($4.75 plain, $7.50 stuffed) and a monte cristo ($7), because ham and cheese are just as welcome at breakfast.

The classics are all there: two eggs any style with ham, bacon or sausage ($3.75); the "full plate," consisting of two eggs, two pieces of bacon, two sausages and ham steak ($7.50); eggs Benedict ($7); and omelets ranging from three-cheese ($5.85) and western ($6) to a salsa-laden Mexican ($6.50).

Also on the menu: a bagel with cream cheese ($2), hot oatmeal ($2.25) and cereal ($1.75). But breakfast devotees treasure the meal too much to settle for cereal anyway.

There are traditional lunch options, because die-hard breakfast fans are sometimes friends with people who aren't, assuming they have some other redeeming qualities.

Lunches are served with chips, salad and a pickle starting at 11 a.m. (hence why All Day Breakfast is not called All Day Lunch). Options include grilled chicken breast ($6.75), grilled ham and cheese ($4.85), hot Reuben ($6.75), a club sandwich ($7.75) and soup and half a sandwich ($5.75), among others.

But why eat BLTs when there are omelets to be had? Let the lunchers have their sandwiches. I'll take my bread toasted, buttered and laid out next to a pile of home fries in the middle of the afternoon. 

The Features staff of The Portland Press Herald anonymously samples meals for about $7. 

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