BIDDEFORD – Here’s how I judge a breakfast place:

Are the people happy?

Is the dining room festive?

Obviously, the quality of the food matters; of course it does. But when I walk into a crowded restaurant or diner, the din of conversation and the sound of silverware scraping against the plates represent the kind of place I want to be. It feels alive, engaged.

That was my first impression when I walked into All Day Breakfast in the 5 Points Shopping Center in Biddeford one morning.

The first entry in my notebook: “Loud.”

The bland-looking dining room was overflowing with good spirit.

I smiled when an older woman came in after me, took a booth with a friend and then greeted several well-wishers, who seemed pleased that she was back on her feet and circulating. From overheard conversations, I gathered she had been ill or otherwise laid up. Her absence had been noted, her presence missed.

While it seemed that everyone in the restaurant was retired and happy to take their time, I apparently was in a rush. My waitress seemed to note my haste.

“On an eat-and-run mission today,” she asked.

Why yes, I thought as I smiled. As a matter of fact, I am.

I ordered a three-egg, three cheese omelette, which came with toast and homefries, for $6.99.

It wasn’t five minutes before a platter arrived at my table, a huge omelette nearly hanging off the sides. It was accompanied by a side of potatoes, as promised, and two pieces of well-buttered whole wheat toast, sliced in half.

I am not a foodie. I do not judge my food as the judges on the TV show “Chopped” judge theirs. I am interested in a good meal, but I am not rating my plate based on creativity or presentation. Taste is pretty much the only thing that matters when I am on a mission.

And it all tasted pretty good.

The home fries had an odd orange hue to them, presumably from the color of the spices used or how they were fried. But they were crisp and not oily, and smartly seasoned.

The omelette was fantastically gooey, with the cheeses mingling together to form a stringy, wonderful omelette. No complaint about the toast, either.

I didn’t finish the omelette, which is unusual. It was simply too much food.

I left as quickly as I came: I was in and out of there in less than 15 minutes.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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