Panclog #40: Original Cafe
Orating about Original Cafe
June 21st, 2018
Lovely Lads and Lasses of the interwebz, Panclog is back with a special guest writer,Colby Leseberg! Original Café is owned by the founder of former panclog topic Jerry’s Café. Original Café rose like a phoenix from the ashes of FreeBirds Burritos. Is it everything that a phoenix should be? Find out now on this episode of Buddies in Bruncheries getting Breakfast!
Location/Environment: Original Café is located in a strip mall at 119th street and Metcalf in Overland Park, KS. It is next to a Budget Car Rental and a small tailor. These 2 businesses take up a good amount of parking in front of Original Café. There is a large parking lot to the north of the strip mall. So don’t worry. The décor of Original Café is what you’d call Freebirds chic. It looks like Original Café wanted to open as soon as possible. We will see what they do with the space in upcoming visits. But panclog focuses on more than just décor. Like..
Service: Original Café runs with small service crew. This can help by creating a connection between regular guests and the usual employees. It can also be a hindrance if there is a rush or a complicated table. (No, the Breakfast Buddies table is never needy. We eat what we get and drink all the coffee.) The service was extremely lovely during this visit because the Sova Babies were in attendance. Did you know that servers tend to love talking to cute little babies?
Menu/Selection: The menu for Original Café is almost the exact menu of Jerry’s Café. Here is the menu. A nice feature is that you can order your food online and then pick it up when it is ready. They have some nice variety in breakfast plates. They also have catfish fry nights and frog leg days. So that is cool if that is your thing.
Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs (Jared)
Chicken Fried Steak! It. is. not. chicken!
Original Café is housed in the corpse of Freebirds. I use the word corpse because Freebirds is absolutely still apart of this building. I was a fan of freebirds. When they first started arriving in Kansas City, I camped out at the Lee’s Summit location for their grand opening. I was one of the first 25 in the door and I received free burritos for a year. Easy to say that I became a frequent visitor of Freebirds. Although all of the Kansas City locations are now closed, I still have 10 free burritos that are not in my stomach.
This visit to Original Café featured the first Breakfast Buddies that included my twins. Brent was ecstatic to hold a 7-month old while trying to eat some delicious food. They were amazing. I want you all to know that if you want special attention from your server, have a cute baby at your table. Better yet, have two.
Back to the meal, I took the dive and had the least breakfast food that is on the breakfast menu. The only breakfast thing about this dish is the eggs. and the gravy. and the hash browns. and the fact that I had it for breakfast. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be breakfast shaming. Breakfast is for all foods. Breakfast is welcoming. Breakfast is for everyone.
Chicken Fried Steak is a move. It is something that should not be messed around with by amateurs. The steak must be tenderized to perfection. Then breaded and fried to perfection. if perfection is not achieved, you get mush or worse, cardboard. I may be exaggerating a small amount. This chicken fried steak was grand. It was seasoned with a heavy hand. I enjoy a tasty piece of meat. The downfall of the plate was the hash browns. It may be my least favorite preparation of potato. Over easy eggs provide some yolk-y goodness to help break down the crispiness of the hash browns. The meal also came with your choice of bread. I chose biscuit, but it was pretty unnecessary due to the large size of the plate.
It is a joy to see how loyal people are to Jerry Naster. He opened Jerry’s Café. Sold it. Retired. Unretired to keep making breakfast for the hungry humans.
Chicken Fried Steak: $9.99
While deciding if you want to come have breakfast with me. Check out “Short Court Style” by Natalie Prass. It is a total banger.
Stuffed French Toast (Brenter)
There are few things in this world better than breakfast buddies. Eating the most important meal of the day with your intrepid cloggers is a truly transcendent experience. You will find it uplifting, encouraging and enabling of all your best qualities. It is in your own personal best interest to join us on these days.
On this occasion we were accompanied by a couple of additional friends. The first is a super accountant, real estate agent, and man who recommends buying Century Link stock because of the relatively high dividend payout they make. I recommended to him to buy Microsoft when it was around $50 a share. Microsoft is currently trading double that so it is pretty clear that I am better at picking stocks.
Our other breakfast buddy can make anything and everything out of wood. Not satisfied with that ability he has gone back to school to for finance. Should the economy ever get destroyed, the extended breakfast buddies community is more than prepared to handle it.
But what made the event that much sweeter is that we were joined by a couple of 7 month old, fraternal twins. Nothing makes an event better than playing with little ones. I had the joyous opportunity to hold and make faces at both of these happy children.
Conversation on this morning focused on new jobs, uncertain but exciting futures, and the potential for great, new experiences. I admire young people who are willing to make risky modifications to their lives for the potential of a greater future, and I admire every young man who sat at this table, because each one of them is doing it.
I actually got so lost in all the company that I forgot that I was supposed to panclog the establishment. And while I would prefer to regale you with tales of our friendship and conversation, we are here for the purposes of the clog. Specifically the Original Café in Overland Park, KS.
The Original Café took over a defunct Freebirds Burrito location a few months ago. I must admit that this makes me happy, I am not a fan of Freebirds. I am more of a Chipotle man, even though I grow more bored of Chipotle week after week. You can tell that Freebirds was once in this location because the Original Café hasn’t taken down all of their decorations yet. This surprises me for some reason. I would assume any restaurant would want full control of their brand, but it seems that the Original Café is cool with it.
This is our third attempt at eating the Original Café and our second successful excursion to this establishment. It seems that the Original Café is closed on Mondays, which is an easy thing to forget (which foiled us on our second visit).
For the intrepid souls out there the restaurant does offer Frog Legs on certain days of the week. I have had frog legs once and I cannot say that I am a huge fan of the delicacy. That being said, I know of only one other eatery that offers leg of the frog on their menu and that is the elder sister restaurant of the Original Café.
The Original Café seems like your standard run of the mill kind of diner, and, quite frankly it is. The menu covers your standard breakfast and lunch type items with a home cooked flourish here or there. My guess is that the “Liver & Onions” menu item is just there for show. I am curious to know how many folks actually order it. I will give anyone $100 who can convince my spouse, the most wonderful woman in the world, to eat an entire plate of liver and onions.
As noted in the prior paragraph the breakfast menu covers your standard fare and so I elected sausage, eggs, hash browns, and toast. I like how restaurants try to make you feel good about your order by naming it something like “The Classic” in the menu. Yes, I do read Chaucer, Dante, and Shakespeare and I like to eat the plainest breakfast possible.
Before I get to my actual breakfast I do have to mention one of our truest of friends ordered a giant cinnamon roll for the table. The kindness of friends warms my heart, especially those that share sweet breakfast treats with me. The cinnamon roll is big – it is slightly smaller than a dinner plate. Its flavor is quite good, but not earth shattering. You can taste a little bit of doughy-ness in the cooked roll. However, the butter cinnamon mixture in the roll is well balanced, and the icing is made just right. I do not expect I would ever order one for myself, unless I was on some major downward spiral, but it is definitely worthy of splitting with a group of friends.
Back to my breakfast. The Classic comes with two jumbo eggs cooked to order. I, big surprise, chose scrambled. The two eggs provided a large amount eggs on the plate. The eggs are light, fluffy, but not well seasoned. You will need to grab some salt and pepper to fully dress them out. The eggs are good, but not worthy of note. My favorite scrambled eggs still belong to Eggtc.
Speaking of eggs, I need to start branching out in how my eggs are cooked. I think the next step should be over hard. At the next breakfast buddies event, I hope my cohort remind me to try them cooked differently.
My particular order also included a couple of sausage patties. These particular patties came out as a couple of hockey pucks if you will. That may seem harsh, but I don’t think of it as a negative per se, it is just that the sausage was good and flavorful, but could have been much more flavorful.
A classic breakfast wouldn’t be complete without some carbs of course. At the Original Café, this includes a potato option and some toast. I love toast, with a small amount of real butter. While a jam or jelly option is nice, it is certainly not necessary.
I elected for hash browns in regard to the potato option. The Original Café does a terrific job getting both sides of a set of hash browns crispy, but the internal was not consistently soft throughout. This gave the impression of some potato bits not being completely cooked. When it comes to the preparation of hash browns it seems that most folks lean towards the idea of creating a potato pancake of sorts. Basically leaving a set of grated potatoes sitting on a griddle until one side browns then flipping the mess over to brown on the other side. I am more of a fan of consistently stirring the shredded potatoes throughout the cooking process so that each small piece gets evenly cooked with the rest and also includes some crispy browning. The Original Café goes for the potato pancake method, when they could reach for the stars with consistent movement and browning.
I like The Original Café. Their staff is super fun and friendly and I hope it lands in the regular breakfast rotation. Plus, on a random Tuesday, I would like to go toe to toe with someone over a cinnamon roll.
Special Guest Writer Colby!
French Toast, Bacon, Giant Cinnamon Roll (Split)
”Am I really just a narcissist/’Cause I wake up to a bowl of lobster bisque?” – Rick Ross
I feel it fitting to begin a review of a breakfast establishment with a rap lyric regarding breakfast. Here we see Mr. Ross displaying a view of the most important meal of the day which diverges completely from my understanding of the same. While a fan of lobster bisque, I find it best served at lunch or dinner and as an accompaniment to another form of protein, such as filet mignon. I promise that will be the only such digression of this Panclog.
When I met the ‘Clog Crew (some of the most wholesome folks I have the privilege of knowing) at Jerry’s Original Café for breakfast it marked my first experience at the restaurant. The ambience and décor call to mind the word “simple”, presenting Jerry’s immediately as a relaxed diner-style atmosphere. You determine pretty quickly that this isn’t the place for your lobster eggs benedict. It is, however, a place for a sensible morning meal.
From the outset our server was welcoming and diligent. Our coffees stayed full and we were regularly checked upon. The meal started with Jerry’s Giant Cinnamon Roll shared between the four ‘Cloggers. It was giant indeed, enough that each of us could enjoy a good-sized chunk; eating the full cinnamon roll seemed to require a hero’s effort, and a hungry hero at that. The amount of cinnamon flavor was just right for me and the icing did not overwhelm with sugar, cream cheese, or any of the other distractions that can make a cinnamon roll’s icing go astray.
As for the main course, our food was served in a timely fashion. I ordered the French Toast with a side of bacon. The French Toast was truly unique in that it was made from challah bread, a favorite treat of mine. The challah bread lends itself well to French Toast due to its perfect texture and the end product did not disappoint. The bacon was cooked appropriately and very flavorful without an overwhelmingly salty cure. I certainly felt full after the meal which is a must when ordering a griddled item with a side of breakfast meat.
The food was reasonably priced (about $10 for the French Toast and bacon, plus a couple bucks for the coffee and $4 for the cinnamon roll – not bad for a tasty meal in southern Johnson County) and did not leave me feeling as though I’d been cheated. As for ways to improve, it’s my opinion that Jerry’s serves standard diner coffee (not swill, but not particularly flavorful) as well as maple syrup that was likely ordered in bulk. I also felt like the sun was annihilating me in the face and there were few lights on in the restaurant to boot – throw a few shades up, flip the switches, and you’re in business.
Overall: Original Café is worth a trip. If they change the décor, they could become a brunch destination in south Overland park.
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