PLAZA CAFE & GRILL - Recently I saw that this was "Under New Management" and so thought I'd try it myself. I like to patronize "local" businesses more so than the chains and big box places.
I got there this morning (Sat) about 11:30am, and was greeted by “Wendy”, a “Flo”-like waitress/hostess with a very friendly personality. She asked if I’d rather have a table or a booth; I responded, “a booth would be nice”, to which she pointed to the booths and said, “booths are over there!” and followed me to my choice of booth. To me, that’s NOT a negative; I’d rather have my choice of where to sit rather than to have to follow a host/ess to THEIR choice of seating FOR me!
Of course (coming in at 11:30am), the first thing that caught my eye on the menu was the hours for the Breakfast Menu is “6am-12pm – depends on chef.” I chuckled and asked Wendy what that meant, and she said (honestly, she really did!), “depends on if he feels like it or not!” She DID add, “he does do breakfast most of the day.” We both laughed, so I counted that as just a little levity printed on the menu. I did notice their normal operating hours are 6am-8pm, Tues-Sun(till5), which I took to mean they closed at 5pm on Sun … strange (closed Mon). I guess they are going for the Breakfast and Lunch crowd, but if THAT’S the case, they should serve “extended Sat/Sun breakfast till 2PM”. Better yet, and maybe eventually they will when they’ve built a clientele and reputation, stay open LATER on Fri/Sat/Sun and serve their dinner menu till 10pm – the standard for most dinner restaurants in St. Louis.
The décor is quaint traditional, clean lines, and not a lot of “kitsch” and vendor advertising all over the place. The silverware was clean, but cheap, lightweight ware. Menu pricing was about average for the area, but a little bit “odd.” For instance, there were items priced at $5.99, $6.57, $7.19, $8.33, $8.70, etc. So you kinda get the feeling that they are pricing based on a percentage of their cost instead of multiples of cost. Really gets you to study the menu, though (and that could be their intent!). Oh, yes… “potato” does NOT have an “e” at the end of it!!! Breakfast was a little pricey, but not overly so, and I concluded that is where they get their business so that’s where the extra quarter or so helps with the overhead costs.
I chose the “Skillet - hash browns topped w/green peppers, onions, diced ham, 2 eggs & cheese blend.” I expected it to be served in a skillet, but the healthy serving on a melmac (officially, melamine) platter was fine. It was like a hash of vegetables (the chef also included sautéed mushrooms in the mix) and diced ham, topped with 2 eggs and processed cheese slices. (I would have used shredded cheddar instead of the sliced cheese for better flavor and presentation.)
Now, I gotta tell you…in SPITE of the processed cheese choice, this was an incredibly good menu choice, and a LOT of it! I know some of you can’t eat food unless “nothing touches each other”, but I’m a huge fan of one pot cooking and casseroled! The diced green peppers could have been sautéed another 30 seconds to soften them a bit, but the diced ham was properly grilled, the potatoes (there IS an “e” in the plural!) were soft and browned just enough, and the onions and mushrooms were perfect!
Wendy did the obligatory checking on me and asking if I needed anything else, or more coffee, but she did it with wit and caring. Yep, I over-tipped her!