The Griddle 

2310 E. Overland Rd., Meridian. 208-288-1848, Mon.-Sun., 6 a.m.-2 p.m.

Breakfast is something I definitely look forward to. I especially enjoy a leisurely breakfast on a Saturday when I don't have any other commitments, and it was on just such a Saturday that I met my friend John at The Griddle.

The day dawned with new snow on the ground, but a little snow was in no way going to deter my breakfast appointment.

I had been to The Griddle once before but had been in a hurry and didn't really have much opportunity to savor the food. This time I was looking forward to the chance, and I planned to devote my full attention to it.

The Griddle is located in a small retail development along a still-undeveloped stretch of Overland Road just west of Eagle Road. Their decor is simple but inviting. Warm sunny-colored walls offset a bare concrete floor. Colorful chandeliers filled with bright, compact fluorescent lamps hang from the high and open ceiling. The little CFLs accent the glass fixtures, illuminate the tabletops and save energy.

Seating options at The Griddle include booths along the outside walls, the traditional diner counter near the kitchen and a fair number of tables in between. Their wide spacing allows for a sense of privacy no matter how full it gets. There was a steady flow of breakfast patrons when we were there, but it never felt crowded.

The service never lagged either. We were quickly greeted and invited to sit anywhere upon arrival. After we'd selected our booth, we were immediately offered fresh squeezed orange juice. John turned that down, opting for his usual morning coffee instead. Intrigued, I accepted the fresh juice offer only to receive a smallish glass with a steep price tag ($3.15).

John's coffee was $1.45, and my tea was $1.95. Sure, the juice was fresher; I just didn't know it was going to be that much more costly.

Anyone who enjoys breakfast knows that, no matter its freshness, the coffee, tea or orange juice are just accompaniments to the main course. Turning our attention to the menu, I found the number of offerings to be quite extensive for a place limited to breakfast and lunch.

I was tempted by the French toast options. It was a difficult decision. However, in the end, I couldn't get past the sign in the entry noting marionberry crepes ($7.95) as the day's special. I ordered that with a side sausage patty ($3.25). John went for the corned beef hash ($7.75), which came with potatoes, eggs and a side of toast. John selected poached eggs and wheat toast for his accompaniments.

The food came quickly and we both dug in. My crepe was enjoyable. It was creamy and not too sweet. The all-important filling-to-sauce ratio was ideal. After the last bite of crepe, my sausage came in handy to wipe up the remainder of the cream filling and berry sauce. Without that added element, the sausage was no better than average.

On the other side of the table, John was effusive about his poached eggs, proclaiming them "just right." He liked the potatoes, too. His conclusion on the corned beef was a bit more mixed. It was not what he was expecting. The flavor was OK, but the cubed nature of the beef segments wasn't his idea of hash.

Meanwhile, as we tried to focus on our plates, the waitstaff seemed focused on John's coffee cup. We were frequently interrupted as one or another of them came by to ask if John wanted more coffee. Coffee refill offers continued on a regular—maybe too regular—basis during the entire hour we were there.

I'm sure we ended our meal before people who don't look forward to breakfast quite as much were even out of bed. They might have gotten more rest, but they'd missed the fine food and attentive service we'd enjoyed.

—Curt Nichols wakes up with breakfast on his mind.

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