Best Breakfasts 2015

The Breakfast Klub: An Odyssey

What to expect when you’re expecting to wait.

By Katharine Shilcutt May 3, 2015 Published in the May 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Saturday, 8 a.m.:
Wake up, everyone. We have waffles to conquer!

8:15 a.m.
In preparation for the customary long lines and waiting times at this breakfast institution, we brew coffee and pour it into a Hydroflask. (And yes, we know that they often pass out free coffee to the queuing crowds. But what if one day they don’t and this happens to be that day?

9 a.m.
After waiting an interminable amount of time for them, we text our fellow diners, even though they all live in our house: “GUYS WE ARE LEAVING AT 9 AM LIKE RIGHT NOW OKAY?”

9:15 a.m.
The four of us sit silently in a Nissan Versa waiting for the world’s longest train to pass. It occurs to us that we would have missed this train if we’d left at 9, as scheduled.

9:25 a.m.
Arriving at the gravel parking lot a block away from The Breakfast Klub, we see three empty spots. This, we speculate, could be an omen—the breakfast gods will smile on us today.

9:28 a.m.
We walk past the Obama-kissing-a-baby mural on West Alabama, noticing for the first time that the baby possesses the creepy, icy-blue stare of a White Walker. How have none of you ever noticed this before? we ask our companions.

9:30 a.m.
Behold The Breakfast Klub in all its glory, its blue tents already erected in front. As the purpose of these is to shield hordes of patrons from sun and rain, this seems like a bad omen. Then again, no one is standing under them yet. We remain hopeful. 

9:31 a.m.
“There’s no line today, y’all!” we find ourselves almost screaming to Tara, a friend visiting from Denver. She looks at us confusedly. “There’s a line outside the door,” she says, “all the way to the other end of the building.” We nod. “Exactly! There’s no line!” 

9:35 a.m.
It’s the efficiency of this place, we announce to our group, that accounts for the swiftly moving line. Hence the older woman, an employee, handing Tara a menu. The faster we decide what to eat, the faster we order, the faster the line moves, the faster we get fed. Tara can’t get over the undertow of the Breakfast Klub line.

9:36 a.m.
“Well, I’m gonna just take that menu back if you ain’t gonna look at it!” says the woman, snatching it from Tara’s hands.  

9:40 a.m. Having somehow decided that our Hydroflask is carrying not coffee but beer, the woman asks us to leave. We are forced to open it for inspection, expecting her to eat crow. Instead, she simply says “What’s wrong with you?” and walks away. Still, the woman has left us alone, which seems like a victory of sorts. 

9:45 a.m. Inside the front door at last! An employee is taking orders from some folks ahead of us in line. Meanwhile, two well-fed young female diners are leaving the restaurant. “Y’all need to put some clothes on!” It is the older woman, who has suddenly, startlingly reappeared. We try to catch our breath. 

9:50 a.m. Still in line, we order our breakfast from another woman. She has precariously long fingernails and for some reason will not look us in the eye. “You know the difference between over-easy and over-medium, right?” she snips. Insulted, a thousand possible responses race through our mind. We go with “Yes.”  

9:52 a.m.
She hands us a slip, which we in turn hand over to yet another glum-looking woman, this one young and behind the counter. Noticing that she also will not make eye contact, we take this as a challenge and try frantically to make eye contact with her, bobbing and weaving to try and match her gaze as she rings us up. We fail.   

9:54 a.m.
We find an available four-top—bare, for now. One of our party goes to the self-service counter in search of upgrades, e.g., butter, syrup, napkins, utensils.

10 a.m.
Breakfast arrives! All of it, at once. The table begins to positively overflow with a rich bounty of golden waffles, crispy chicken wings, buttery grits, juicy pan sausage and those over-easy eggs (just as ordered). We Instagram everything.

10:01 a.m.
We dig in. We gaily note that we have gone from house to breakfast in less than an hour, a new personal best. We try not to gloat, however, fearing admonishment from Breakfast Klub staff.


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