The Kitchen Table Family Restaurant is in a little stand-alone building on Elmwood near Amherst that has housed several other restaurants through the years, most recently Richie’s Place, followed by Tastings. It’s a great spot, evoking the diner aura without the flashy decor and the hiked-up prices you sometimes pay for a step back into the classic diner era.
Inside, the Kitchen Table is compact, with four booths, four tables and an unplugged pie carousel that, to be honest, looked a bit sad. There are a couple of homey touches, including signs about the importance of family. On the Sunday morning when Ruth, Dan, John and I arrived, we noticed that the only other customer was digging into a substantial breakfast. We were told by our friendly young server that business tends to pick up later when people get out of church, and, sure enough, a family with several youngsters was entering as we were leaving.
The menu made it clear that you could order any dish anytime, which we love.
There is a variety of breakfast and lunch foods, from the normal combinations of eggs, toast, home fries and pancakes to a preparation called a breakfast hoagie, made with eggs, cheese, meat and veggies ($6.25). The menu offers a half-dozen kinds of pancakes, including ones with blueberries, chocolate chips and apples and cinnamon. French toast also can be made with those ingredients.
There are more than 20 vegetables, meats and cheese that can be cooked into an omelette. An omelette with one add-in is $4.95, with eight is $11.95, a truly formidable dish and one of the very few possible items cracking the $10 Cheap Eats limit. The menu has offerings starting at just $2.95 for two plain pancakes or $2.59 for a PBJ, with a choice of grape or strawberry jelly. A triple-decker club sandwich, with ham, turkey and bacon, along with lettuce, tomato and mayo, is $7.95.
We started with the Number 7 breakfast, a hearty serving of two pancakes, meat and two eggs. The substantial cakes were both large in diameter and thick, with a slightly yielding texture. Three would have been anyone’s limit, although the owner runs an occasional “all you can eat” pancake special with coffee for 5 bucks. “Like” the restaurant’s page on Facebook for special announcements, including some days when the place closes early for a family event.
The cakes were on the table for a while before the rest of the Number 7 breakfast arrived, a shallow soup bowl containing two over-easy eggs and two sausage links. That sort of got us laughing – the soup bowl, the “you’ll get it when it’s ready” attitude. It’s like your mother’s kitchen table – the place is perfectly named! The eggs and the sausages were high-quality ingredients, and cooked exactly as ordered.
An omelette, ordered with bacon, sausage and onion was just $6.95. It was served with a beautifully fried pile of home fries that had tasty crusty bits, and toast. The plate drew everyone’s eyes when it was served because it looked so good, and it tasted even better.
We had some time to admire those two breakfasts because the third order, a simple BLT, came out a good five minutes later. Now all eyes were on the BLT. It was made with slices of red, ripe tomato, unlike the pink, pithy stuff you get on so many sandwiches, even during tomato season. The bacon was delicious and the sandwich good, although it looked lonely on the plate. I’d raise the price 50 cents and throw a handful of chips on the plate.
Next to arrive, after another pause, was the Veggie Blast omelette ($7.95), made with peppers, onions, tomato, potatoes, mushrooms, spinach and broccoli mixed into the eggs, and two squares of Swiss melted on the top. The ingredients were chopped uniformly small and cooked through, although the potatoes would have been more flavorful if they had been browned. The Veggie Blast was both plentiful and delicious.
Last to arrive on the table, kind of a dessert, was the chocolate milkshake ($3.75). Cool, creamy and thick enough to hold up the straw, it was scrumptious.
The Kitchen Table Family Restaurant
Where: 1595 Elmwood Ave. (622-6001)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.