High on breakfast

Skip the bubbly, and party with a giant burrito at The Breakfast Buzz

The fat Breakfast Buzz burrito coming at you.

The fat Breakfast Buzz burrito coming at you.

PHOTO by jason cassidy

The Breakfast Buzz
208 Cedar St.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.- 2 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.

The Breakfast Buzz has a reputation as a college joint, and deservedly so. Situated a block away from Chico State’s Wildcat Recreation Center in the heart of college land, and featuring bottomless champagne brunches (Thursday-Sunday, $8.50 per person), the Buzz’s main clientele base is undergrads.

Case in point: Available for purchase are T-shirts, adorned with an unabashedly wasted bumblebee, that read: “I got buzzed at The Breakfast Buzz.”

My advice? Skip the brunch parties and experience the hearty diner food, friendly service and the restaurant’s low-key side during a weekday or when school’s out. When not overwhelmed by hoards of bros in tank tops, the restaurant’s atmosphere is much more pleasant.

As for the food, don’t go to The Breakfast Buzz expecting fancy plates with elevated takes on breakfast fare like you get at Café Coda or Sin of Cortez. This is straight-up, no-frills, stick-to-your-gut breakfast.

For me, what separates The Breakfast Buzz from the pack is the restaurant’s breakfast burritos—huge, warm pouches of eggs, home-fried potatoes, and gooey cheese, plus 16 savory choices for add-ons. They are quite easily the best of their kind in Chico.

My burrito consumption at the diner has become so habitual over the past couple years, I get the shakes if I go too long without one. OK, it’s not that bad, but when I go, I don’t have to look at a menu anymore.

I start with the Basic Burrito ($5.25) and usually add black olives, bell peppers and ham: total bliss. Each addition—from tomatoes, jalapeños and mushrooms to sausage, bacon, chorizo and more—is 75 cents ($1.25 for avocado). You also can order the Buzz Burrito, which comes with tomatoes, avocado and sour cream in addition to everything on the Basic for $6.95.

On Tuesdays, the Buzz offers a two-for-one breakfast burrito deal. Since the prospect of eating two burritos in one sitting is a hefty proposition, you’re left with two options—recruit a friend interested in a half-priced burrito, or stash the extra one for later, like a squirrel with an acorn. (I’ve found storing an entire burrito in my cheek to be uncomfortable, so I put it in the fridge where it keeps much better.) And if that isn’t enough burrito for your dollar, pick up a stamp card. Buy 10 burritos, and No. 11 is free!

For the sake of balancing out my Buzz experience, I broke from tradition on a recent visit and ordered a Denver Omelette ($7.95, with ham, bell peppers, onions and cheese). With the side of home-fried potatoes that came with it, the meal was more colossal than the burrito. About halfway through, I realized that, with my add-on of black olives (75 cents), I’d basically ordered my favorite burrito combination—minus the tortilla, plus toast.

Who was I kidding? Not my subconscious, apparently.

While I have been devoted to breakfast and the burritos, I must point out that the Buzz does have more options. In addition to breakfast/brunch fare, the restaurant’s menu features lunch versions of the style of diner comfort food offered for breakfast. Also offered are burgers made with 1/3 pound of Angus beef ($6.50) and a selection of hot and cold sandwiches—from the BLT ($6.95) to The Bidwell ($7.95), featuring roast beef, grilled onions, Ortega chili and ranch dressing—all of which include a choice of french fries or pasta, potato or dinner salad.

And even though shouting over a late-morning party isn’t my glass of bubbly, if you’re into listening to coeds loudly discuss the previous night’s hookups, the champagne brunch might be for you. And, at $8.50, it’s a cheap way to treat that lingering hangover.