Breaking News Bar
posted: 2/26/2014 5:30 AM

South Elgin's Sweet Berry offers unique twists on breakfast favorites

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • The sweet berry cakes are one of Sweet Berry Cafe's signature breakfast items.

      The sweet berry cakes are one of Sweet Berry Cafe's signature breakfast items.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Sweet Berry Cafe's Denver Spuds bridge the gap from breakfast to lunch.

      Sweet Berry Cafe's Denver Spuds bridge the gap from breakfast to lunch.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Chiliquiles and a bacon Bloody Mary make quite a pair at Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin.

      Chiliquiles and a bacon Bloody Mary make quite a pair at Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • You can't go wrong with an order of eggs Benedict from Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin.

      You can't go wrong with an order of eggs Benedict from Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.

      Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Sweet Berry Cafe opened last year on McLean Boulevard in South Elgin.

      Sweet Berry Cafe opened last year on McLean Boulevard in South Elgin.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
By Thomas Witom
Daily Herald Correspondent

It's easy to see how Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin could become habit-forming.

After a single visit, I was hooked and ready to return to sample more of executive chef Hector Hernandez's extensive, well-executed breakfast and lunch menu. The place, which employs a high-energy staff, bustles with families and individual diners who sit at booths or tables.

The casual eatery, opened in mid-2013 by Dan Mataragas, has high standards, starting with the fresh-brewed Kona Coffee from Hawaii (unlimited cups at $2.10 per customer are a steal).

Sweet Berry Cafe offers a full complement of made-to-order breakfast items, from omelets, frittatas and eggs Benedict to French toast, waffles and crepes. Pumpkin figured in several daily specials, while lunch items -- salads, wraps and half-pound black Angus burgers -- round out the menu.

Depending on one's appetite, oatmeal, granola, Greek yogurt and fresh fruit with raisin toast starters also are available.

Marking a special occasion? Consider starting the meal with one of several festive vodka-based cocktails, including a Pomegranate Mimosa or a Bacon Bloody Mary.

Diners can customize the contents of their omelets, opt for gluten-free pancakes or order heart-healthy dishes served with a side of fruit or multigrain toast.

Eggs Benedict, a longtime favorite, comes in six iterations, including the traditional version that brings together poached eggs and Canadian bacon on an English muffin topped with hollandaise sauce.

I especially liked the Seafood Benedict, which swapped the English muffin for two crab-and-shrimp cakes topped with a lively chipotle hollandaise and came accompanied by home fries. Other variations featured fillet medallions, zucchini cakes, turkey sausage patties, Portobello mushrooms, or sauteed spinach and tomatoes.

A bite of the Denver Spuds my wife ordered proved why the satisfying dish was listed among the cafe's specialties. In this creation, four potato skins got a flavor boost from a filling of scrambled eggs, ham, scallions and green peppers -- the whole business topped with melted cheddar. Sour cream was served on the side.

As plans for a future visit crystallized, our cheery waitress recommended one of the restaurant's popular favorites: a four-egg crab frittata baked with blue crab, red potatoes, Monterey Jack cheese and drizzled with hollandaise.

We also might give Strawberry Banana French Toast a whirl or the dessert-like Eskimo Waffle served with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Still other options included Huevos Rancheros, eggs with blue corn tortillas, chorizo, cilantro and cheese; biscuits and gravy with homemade turkey sausage; and a horseradish prime rib sandwich on ciabatta bread.

Sweet Berry Cafe boasts that its soups are made fresh each day and offered at half price on a to-go basis from 2 to 3 p.m.

Free Wi-Fi encourages customers to linger over that extra cup of joe.

Restaurant reviews are based on a single anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.