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Mystery Diner: Papa G’s delivers the ‘goods,’ as promised

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 11:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 11:02 a.m. CDT

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ELBURN – If there is one way to start the day off right, it would have to include a hearty all-American, bacon and eggs-style breakfast at a no-fuss restaurant with solid service. Papa G’s restaurant in Elburn can deliver such an order. 

“Just Good Food” is concisely and accurately advertised on Papa G’s outdoor signage. It’s not a cutesy enclave with fine-dining prices and rooster-themed decor running rampant or a trendy cafe serving coffee out of mason jars to hipsters; it’s a come in, sit down, eat your food and be on your way sort of place. And with its affordable prices, people do just that EVERY day. 

Whether it’s a homestyle breakfast, healthier fare or a pastry and a cup of Joe, Papa G’s can accommodate. 

On a Monday morning a little before 9 a.m., the dining room looked slightly vacant, which I assumed was because my breakfast companion and I missed the early rush. (Papa G’s opens for breakfast at 6 a.m. Monday through Sunday, according to Yelp.com.) 

A lengthy 3-sided breakfast menu was laid before us by our waitress as she chimed cheerily, “Coffee?” 

Coffee pot in tow, my breakfast companion and I agreed in unison and the pouring commenced. I don’t know how many times she came around to fill our cups throughout our stay, but by the end of the meal, I had enough empty creamer containers to build a little leaning tower of Papa G’s. 

As we perused the menu, Christmas music faintly filled the room and the conversations from a few other occupied tables was minimal, keeping the dining room nice and quiet (at least during that time on a Monday). I eyed a corner booth across from where we were sitting and decided it would be a perfect spot for my next lingering visit, where I could hunker down, whip out a book, keep the coffee coming and stuff my face with some stick-to-your ribs biscuits and gravy or one of the restaurant’s sizzling skillets. Had the restaurant provided WiFi, I don’t know if I would ever leave.

Homemade appears frequently on the menu, and as soon as I saw the words, “Homemade” and “Raisin [toast],” I had to make sure one of us ordered it, which wasn’t difficult since it comes with most items on the menu. Most orders also come with homemade American Fries. A substitution of American Fries for fruit can be made for $2.75.

My breakfast companion ordered the Denver Omelette with ham, onions and green peppers, a side of fruit (substituted with the American Fries) and Papa G’s homemade raisin bread.

I ordered the Two Eggs & Meat Breakfast ($7.15) but substituted toast for an order of pancakes, which was essentially The Club “2X2X2” ($6.95) meal but with extra meat. The dish also came with a plentiful portion of American Fries, and my choice of bacon, sausage, ham or corned beef hash. 

The warm raisin bread with melted butter served as the meal showstopper. It looked more like raisin-infused french bread than actual toast, which gave it the perfect blend of crunch and softness. The melted butter oozed into every crevice making for a perfect bite every time. Concerning the taste of the Papa G’s raisin bread, let’s just say I would send my spouse out into the cold at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning to get me a loaf of that bread. I couldn’t get enough, which came all-too-quickly since my dining companion was the one who ordered it. 

Though the menu items don’t seem overly carb-conscious, they do have healthy choices for the healthy eater. The “Papa G’s Famous Homemade Oatmeal comes in a cup for $2.75 or a bowl for $3.75. Bananas and raisins can be added at an additional charge of $1.25 and $.50. Heartier options include items like the Minced Grecian Delight ($7.25) with onion tomatoes and feta cheese in scrambled eggs, or the Spinach and Feta Scramble ($6.95). 

If you’re feeling really confident about your cholesterol levels and possibly have time to fit in a nap before work, The Farmers Pride ($7.75) includes three eggs, cooked any way, your choice of bacon, sausage, ham or corned beef hash, American Fries, and a half order of biscuits smothered in country gravy. 

Any one of the Breakfast Croissants served with fruit would have been my second choice, and the prices range from $5.95 to $6.55.

It’s also worth noting that Papa G’s serves lunch, dinner and even has a full bar. 

The next time you’re in Elburn, looking for good food and friendly service, give Papa G’s a whirl, you and your pocketbook will be glad you did. 

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits different restaurants during the month and then reports on the experience.

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