Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • June-July 2024 • Circulation 5000


Early Bird Cafe

A full plate at Early Bird Cafe. Paula E. Kirman

10221 97 Street
(780) 420-6826

This cafe is more like a diner, and it is called Early Bird for a reason: it is only open for breakfast and lunch, closed by two p.m. on most days. Breakfast is served until noon-ish, and the lunch menu comes into effect around then.

I say the place is more like a diner because the kitchen is completely open, with stools set up in front of it like a bar. The rest of the small space has a few tables. My server, who is also an owner, was extremely friendly, and said the place would be open more often in the evening now that is sandwiched between the recently relocated Bohemia arts venue and a new bar. Early Bird is the official kitchen for both places.

I unfortunately got there too late to enjoy any of the breakfast items, so I took a look at the lunch menu and found a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and entree items like souvlaki, donairs, and even steak – things that seemed more appropriate on a dinner menu.

After spending some time deliberating, I went for the steak sandwich. First, I was served a bowl of the soup of the day which came as a surprise (it did not list a starter soup or salad on the menu). It was a pleasant surprise, indeed. The chicken barley soup tasted homemade, with a rich broth and lots of chicken.

Then, came the main attraction. The seven ounce steak was on a piece of garlic toast, garnished with three large onion rings. The rest of the plate was filled out with sauteed vegetables and french fries. The fries were crispy and nicely seasoned, while the veggies were quite flavourful – they were not frozen from a package, that was for sure.

As for the steak, it was basically a broiled piece of meat. Lean, mostly cooked to my specification of being well done (truthfully, it was probably closer to medium-well, with a bit of pink inside), it was not all that flavourful. However, the size of the portion and the goodness of the rest of the food made this forgivable.

I definitely planned to head to Early Bird again, if I could get myself to be an early bird and get there for breakfast, which is what Early Bird is really known for.

As it turns out, on Saturdays, breakfast is all day (meaning, until 2 p.m.), so a few weeks after I made my first trip to Early Bird, I headed there again for a late breakfast of two eggs any style, toast, and hash browns. At only $4.50, this could possibly be one of the cheapest breakfasts in Edmonton. For only a dollar more, I could have gotten another egg, done perfectly to order.

The breakfast menu is quite extensive with omelettes, French toast, pancakes, and various combinations of meat and eggs, all with reasonable prices and generous portions.

I can easily see Early Bird becoming my regular Saturday brunch spot.

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