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updated: 6/7/2017 9:37 AM

Excellent variety, quality, service make St. Charles' Brunch Cafe memorable

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  • Co-owner Andy Zatos, left, and manager Frank Paganis show off a couple of the delectable dishes at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.

      Co-owner Andy Zatos, left, and manager Frank Paganis show off a couple of the delectable dishes at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • The veggie potato pancake is an inventive take on eggs Benedict at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.

      The veggie potato pancake is an inventive take on eggs Benedict at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Manager Samantha Freeman of Brunch Cafe in St. Charles checks on customers.

      Manager Samantha Freeman of Brunch Cafe in St. Charles checks on customers.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Brunch Cafe is in a new building that's part of the revitalization of downtown St. Charles.

      Brunch Cafe is in a new building that's part of the revitalization of downtown St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Brunch Cafe is in a new building that's part of the revitalization of downtown St. Charles.

      Brunch Cafe is in a new building that's part of the revitalization of downtown St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Thomas Witom
Daily Herald Correspondent

When it comes to brunch, hungry suburban diners will find an abundance of choices.

Brunch Café occupies prime space in downtown St. Charles in a new building that's part of a revitalization project to transform the shore along the Fox River. This location is the fifth outlet in the restaurant group, started in February 2008, that runs similar cafes in Roselle, Huntley, Fox River Grove and McHenry. Another cafe is in the works for Niles.

The venue, co-owned by Andy Zatos, features a well-rounded breakfast and lunch menu that delivers the goods at every turn.

Pancakes, omelets, Belgian waffles, crepes and French toast are all represented on the breakfast list. The same holds for lunch dishes, where the lineup includes multiple entree salads, burgers, wraps, paninis and assorted sandwiches.

There's enough variety to entice diners (present company included) to keep coming back again and again.

Based on a recent visit, I can affirm that Brunch Café's kitchen pays attention to quality and ingenuity. Meanwhile, a well-trained waitstaff indicates how much management prizes service.

Yet another plus are the reasonable prices. Most entrees are priced lower than $10.

The Ay Caramba! pleased from the first bite to the last mouthful. This filling skillet dish, topped off with two overeasy eggs, offered a harmony of flavors with its mix of chorizo, onions, tomatoes, jalapeńos and cheddar atop a bed of extra crispy hash browns. The dish came with sour cream and a tasty tomato salsa.

Ay Carumba! skillet offers a harmony of flavors from the spicy to the savory at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.
  Ay Carumba! skillet offers a harmony of flavors from the spicy to the savory at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

For a side dish, I strongly endorse Blueberry Bliss: fluffy blueberry-infused pancakes layered with a sweetened cream cheese filling, topped with plump blueberries and a vanilla bean glaze. The small upcharge was worth every penny.

Blueberry Bliss pancakes with sweetened cream cheese and a vanilla bean glaze are an excellent side dish at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.
  Blueberry Bliss pancakes with sweetened cream cheese and a vanilla bean glaze are an excellent side dish at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

My dining partner struck gold, too, with the veggie potato pancake, an inventive riff on eggs Benedict. Two lovely poached eggs came with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, Monterey Jack and hollandaise sauce. The accompanying fresh fruit was a treat.

Our attentive and hospitable server readily fielded questions about the menu. He also recommended the skirt steak skillet made with eggs, mushrooms, onions and provolone.

The South of the Border quesadilla comes with a combination of scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, green onions, tomatoes and bacon at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.
  The South of the Border quesadilla comes with a combination of scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, green onions, tomatoes and bacon at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Another popular choice, South of the Border, gives the traditional quesadilla a new look. The dish comes with a combination of scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, green onions, tomatoes and bacon folded in a large tortilla and topped with sour cream and avocado slices.

Intelligentsia coffee, smoothies and a variety of fruit juices comprise the beverage service. Customers also have the option of ordering a mimosa or Bloody Mary.

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? You get both in the eclectic images that dot the walls at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles.
  Which came first: the chicken or the egg? You get both in the eclectic images that dot the walls at Brunch Cafe in St. Charles. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

On a subsequent visit, we intend to explore the lunch side of the menu. Chicken figures in a number of dishes, including entree salads such as stuffed avocado and berry chicken. Diners also will want to consider gourmet sandwiches like the Reuben New Yorker (corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on grilled marble rye) or the chicken salad or turkey club.

There's also a selection of customizable burgers (certified Angus), such as the kick my angus with onion rings, sliced jalapeńos, cheddar and chipotle ranch and the brunch burger with grilled onions, tomato and Swiss sandwiched between a fried egg and a bed of baby spinach and accompanied by cottage cheese.

So many tempting choices ... for next time.

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

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