Cheap Eats - Another Broken Egg Cafe at Peachtree Battle

Breakfast and brunch at the Gulf Coast chain

Another broken egg. It sounds sad, doesn't it? As if the first broken egg wasn't bad enough, someone went and broke another. Well, the folks behind Another Broken Egg Cafe are betting that they can bring happiness to our hungry hordes, especially Atlantans already familiar with this small chain through its sizable presence along the beaches of Destin, Fla., and the Gulf Coast. Another Broken Egg now has a dozen and a half outposts, and the most recently hatched location is the first of what it hopes will be several around Atlanta.

This newest Another Broken Egg looks much like the rest of the chain, with a style that calls to mind 1980s era "upscale country" home décor, full of deep oranges and yellows and chockablock with ornamental iron and folksy prints. If it's going for the Buckhead AARP set, that just might work, but it feels a bit out of date for the rest of us (no offense, Grandma). Fortunately, the staff is genuinely friendly and helpful, happy to guide you through the expansive menu and eager to suggest signature items like the "biscuit beignets."

Since Another Broken Egg's hours span breakfast and lunch, its menu covers a wide swath — baked goods, omelets, eggs Benedict, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Thanks to the chain's Louisiana heritage, shellfish and sausages make frequent appearances across the menu. However, based on my visits, the sweeter offerings are the more satisfying way to go. The biscuit beignets, for example, do manage to combine those two Southern delicacies into one sweet and messy treat. They look like small beignets covered in powdered sugar, but as soon as you bite into one, you realize that this is no airy beignet. The crisp, sugared outside and soft, flaky inside work wonders together, but there's a superfluous honey orange marmalade dipping sauce on the side that is best left untouched. Another sweet treat that works surprisingly well is a side of blackberry grits — standard Southern grits topped with a compote of whole blackberries. It's basically a breakfast-worthy spin on blackberry cobbler.

On the savory side, dishes that sound unique and promising — an omelet with crawfish and andouille sausage, a crab cake "stack" over a grits cake, a Cajun tuna sandwich — mainly fall flat due to bland seasoning or inferior ingredients. Maybe the Hormel Foods logo on the menu should have sounded the warning call. (Do they really think that's a selling point? "Yum, Hormel sausage, just what I want in my $11 omelet!") The andouille in their Mardi Gras omelet is rubbery and tasteless, and the crawfish is not much better. Crab cakes are greasy and predictably lack the sweet subtlety of fresh crab (does Hormel make crab, too?). The seared "sashimi" Cajun tuna featured in a sandwich, while cooked to the rare side of medium, is watery and without much discernible spice at all. Dishes like these make you wish you were down on the Gulf rather than up here in landlocked Atlanta. Or maybe they just make you realize that some things simply don't work as well when taken out of their natural habitat.

On the more conventional side of the menu, a take on a turkey club sandwich is just what it should be: satisfyingly loaded with roasted turkey, tomato, bacon and avocado on a sourdough roll, thankfully free of seafood and sausage. Salads are mostly of the line-up-ingredients-on-top-of-shredded-lettuce variety, plentiful for sure, but sometimes sparse with featured ingredients such as the small smattering of portobello mushrooms in the "black and bleu cobb."

Another Broken Egg Cafe must be doing something right, as Atlanta crowds are already lining up on the weekends for a taste of their beachside brunch memories. It's a safe choice for a hearty meal in a friendly environment, but it feels like yet another brunch joint bent on building an empire.

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