02 May 2009
I had butterflies of anticipation. Was The Breakfast Queen feeling the same? Was The Queen ready to fight back? The sign on the door told me no: it sweetly asked its patrons to have patience while waiting for a table, as The Breakfast Queen is a small family joint and everyone deserves their turn, and why don't you hold hands and sing Kumbaya while you wait. Ok, I made that last part up, but you get the gist. Those aren't exactly fightin' words. But as I took The Queen in, I started to get an inkling that the first ever dive-off wasn't going to be a TKO to the Breakfast King in round 1. Gumball machine in the hallway where we waited for a table, specifically put there to taunt my son? Check. Throng of local yokel patrons, from the young and surly to the old and innocuous? Check. Crappy wood paneling? Check, though much was covered up by the wall of mirrors that I assume were utilized to lessen the feeling of claustrophobia brought on by The Queen's lack of elbow room (the total table count = 15). Don't trust your patrons enough to accept credit cards? Blow to The Breakfast King's kidneys. Motley Crue on the radio? Dr. Feelgood indeed.
This was shaping up as a pretty good battle, but there one problem that became apparent by the end of the meal: It's hard to call The Breakfast Queen a dive. The food is nice - my breakfast burrito was certainly better than the bomb I got at The King (not to mention the burrito). The service is fantastic. Our waitress hugged some of the regulars as they left, and even succeeded in making us, a party of two first timers and one unruly kid, feel like we were frequent diners. It's not overly shabby - heck, even the carpet is presentable. There is really nothing to raise an eyebrow at, other than perhaps the array of posters of the Greek Isles that line the back hallway, making you think for a moment that you were walking into an office of the Greek Board of Tourism. If I didn't know any better, I was back home in Iowa at the local small town diner, where everyone knows everyone else and you keep coming back for the good company as much as you do for the food. In the end it was a tough call, but the first ever dive-off has to go to The Breakfast King by virtue of DQ. While I am not thrilled in ending a dive-off this way, I have no regrets about spending part of my morning at The Breakfast Queen. It's a fine breakfast option, dive or not.
The Breakfast Queen #2 (no relation to Breakfast Queen #1) sits unassumingly at 3454 South Broadway in Englewood.