Monday, June 15, 2009

A local unbutton-the-pants kind of breakfast

Looking for a great place to have breakfast? I just found one in Largo, quite by accident.
I don't normally venture out for breakfast; being a nightcrawler usually sends me to bed at sunrise. Not a lifestyle conducive to grabbing an omelet with friends.

The other morning though I had to go right from night shift to a meeting at 7 a.m., and decided that if I didn't get a good cup of coffee somewhere in between that I was probably going to throttle someone at that meeting.

The Fireplace Restaurant down the way in Largo was open at the wee hour of 6 a.m., and at the urging of my good friend Lisa I decided to try them out. And what started out as coffee ended up turning into biscuits and sausage gravy. You just can't help it once you walk in there and see everyone else digging into huge plates of homemade, fat-laden, gravy-soaked comfort food.

It's the kind of place where the waitress pours you a rich cup of coffee before you even ask or see a menu. The kind of place where the owners and waitstaff are all family, so it's O.K. if your server goes in back and screams at the cook. A place where time stops, and they make everything fresh to order, so if you are in a hurry, don't even stop in.

To hell with the meeting! Lisa and I had priorities, the first being we had to pig out. The portions were way too much, but we kept stuffing ourselves like our plane was going down. Real-egg omelets and pancakes the way my grandmother used to make them! And the skillet potatoes - loaded with onion and garlic and just crispy enough to be addicting.

The Fireplace Restaurant also has a lunch and dinner menu, and the regular that dine there tell me the Greek salads and cheeseburgers are to die for. After the meal we had that morning, I believe them. I can't wait to get back there for that!

This laid-back "jes'folks" place is at 12580 Seminole Blvd in Largo, just south of Ulmerton Road. They're open at the crack of dawn, waiting for you. But a word to the wise: dieters beware! Leave your calorie restrictions at home. This is the kind of meal that you have to unbutton your pants after!