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All American Cafe

1817 S. Ferncreek Ave.
Orlando
Phone: (407) 897-2213

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Price Range:
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Review

On weekends, the quiet tree-lined streets of this residential neighborhood have reportedly seen locals grapple and wrestle for tables on the AstroTurfed patio of this cheerful low-rent café. I can’t imagine they’d have any fight left in them after sitting in those uncomfortable plastic chairs, but if ergonomics were the draw, each curvy-spined patron would be greeted by a business card–toting chiropractor. No, the people flock here not for their backs, but their fronts – their paunches, to be more specific – seeking to fulfill their pre-noon pangs with some of the finest breakfast to be had in our fair city.

The café is a bare-bones, no-frills operation offering up a casual bill of economical fare, with an atmosphere to match. If the place were any more laid-back, it’d be horizontal, but there’s a fine line between fostering a mood of tropical languor and being shiftless and lazy. Having to fetch table syrup and utensils yourself after asking is really just waitress negligence, but dammit if the soothing, high-pitched vocals of Neil Sedaka won’t ease your frustrations and have you humming while enjoying your coffee and OJ. They have a lineup of all-American subs, burgers and pizzas, but it’s breakfast that gets the star treatment here – formidable staples made with a pinch of diligence and a dash of pride by Tommy and Dave, the conscientious co-owners and cooks behind the morning goodness.

And it doesn’t get much better than a full order of biscuits and gravy ($2.99). Each slowly drowning quickbread inevitably succumbs to the gravy, but it’s the peppery essence that comforts the palate and gets your day started right. In fact, any bread or roll, even the un-American
croissant ($1.89), begs for a dip in that thick, luscious sausage gravy. The pancakes ($5.50), a trio of fluffy disks, were ever so slightly crisped around the edges, which I love. If the syrup were the real deal (i.e., maple), I would’ve gladly fetched it myself.

Omelets are enormous, and the veggie special omelet ($6.25) was as mouthwatering as it was massive. The healthy mix of green peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach shirked any soggy tendencies and, like most dishes I sampled, had that awesome “grill” flavor, not one of stale grease. A side of breakfast potatoes were truly sublime, seasoned and cooked to glistening perfection and not oily in the least. Arguably the best breakfast potatoes in town.

The hearty Texas steak omelet ($6.95) took me back to my childhood days of Steak-umms, the processed beef strips singed with that “steak fried in a pan” taste. Liberal amounts of cheddar, not surprisingly, enhanced every mouthful, and while I’m not the biggest fan of grits, the version served here was finely textured and properly creamy.

Given their outstanding breakfasts, I felt the urge to sample one of their burgers on a weeknight, but the café shuts its doors promptly at 5 p.m. The message on their answering machine, however, states that hours will be extended in “April or May.” Apart from some service miscues, this breakfast stalwart offers early-morning risers a top-notch lineup of brekkie staples priced to go easy on the pocketbook, and a laid-back approach underscored by an easy listening soundtrack. You can’t ask for anything more from a breakfast joint. Well, maybe a chair massage.

 

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