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

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.

  Sweet Berry Cafe's Denver Spuds bridge the gap from breakfast to lunch. Rick West/
  Chiliquiles and a bacon Bloody Mary make quite a pair at Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin. Rick West/
  You can't go wrong with an order of eggs Benedict from Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin. Rick West/
  Sweet Berry Cafe in South Elgin is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Rick West/
  Sweet Berry Cafe opened last year on McLean Boulevard in South Elgin. Rick West/

Sweet Berry Cafe

720 N. McLean Blvd., South Elgin, (224) 238-3057, <a href=""></a>

<b>Cuisine:</b> Breakfast and lunch fare

<b>Setting:</b> Welcoming environment to individuals, families

<b>Entrees:</b> $5-$14

<b>Hours:</b> 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily

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 "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.