There are regional variations, to be sure, but you can usually count on finding a sample of Mom and Pop cooking wherever you go. Tucked away in Lemmon Valley, Hometown Cafe is exactly the sort of place I’m looking for when it’s time for good ol’ fashioned, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast or lunch.
Our server recommended we start with a giant, fresh baked cinnamon roll ($2.99). This was no exaggeration, as the plate-sized pastry barely left room for a side of butter. I’ve never previously added butter to an iced roll, but it did add a decadent touch of salty creaminess that we all enjoyed.
A pair of large fluffy omelets were next, each with home fries and choice of toast. The Denver ($8.99) was packed with ham, onion, bell pepper and cheddar cheese, with even more cheese melted on top. The menu did specifically note, “Denver with cheese,” though. I suppose a lot of folks expect all omelettes to be cheesy, in the same way I don’t understand why anyone would order a burger sans fromage. The California ($9.50) was just as hearty, filled with mushroom, spinach, a ton of bacon and jack cheese, and topped with melted jack and half an avocado. It was tasty and filling, most definitely something you could share with a friend. The home fries on both plates were plentiful if not very crispy.
Next, we sampled a plate of eggs benedict ($9.50), with corned beef hash standing in for the ham. The split English muffin was topped with hash, a pair of poached eggs and a hollandaise sauce that was smooth and buttery, yet didn’t have much in the way of lemon flavor or seasoning. A touch of pepper improved it, and the eggs were perfect. The hash itself was quite good and plentiful, adding a lot of flavor. Sadly, the hash browns were barely browned, with even fewer crispy bits than the home fries. Still not bad with a bit of sauce, and there were plenty on the plate.
I do love a good chicken fried steak ($10.50), and the one I ordered from the lunch menu was good. Pounded thin, hand breaded, then fried up crispy enough to withstand a deluge of of housemade country gravy, it filled half the plate and cut easily with a fork. Served with sauteed veggies, soup or salad, and choice of potato, I opted for the day’s potato cheese cup and mashed, buttery spuds topped with more sausage gravy. The gravy was slightly bland, but a shake of seasoning and a couple dashes of hot sauce did the trick. The mashed potatoes were chunky and filled the plate’s other side, leaving just enough room to squeeze in the sautee. As good as everything was, the soup was one notch better. Chunky and creamy with plenty of celery and bacon, it was essentially clam chowder without the shellfish. I definitely need to return on a Friday.
Last was a serving of fish and chips ($8.99) with three beer battered planks of pollock served with crispy golden fries, coleslaw, and tartar sauce. As with the gravy, the coleslaw improved with some vinegar and seasoning, but the fish was on point—very crunchy, definitely hand battered and super moist and flaky inside. I’d say it was above average for most cafe fish and chips, and a surprisingly good end to our meal.