Last updated on April 10th, 2017
There were a couple reasons. First, breakfast is an affordable meal to eat out. You can usually get a hot breakfast for a few bucks. Even in Manhattan, on the edge of the theater district, Anita and I got a breakfast special at a Greek diner that included eggs, meat, toast, two cups of coffee and a small glass of juice for five dollars each. In mid-Michigan, breakfast specials typically start at $2.99.
Second, breakfast is a hard meal to mess up. Yes, eggs can be over-cooked and not all hash browns are created equal, but most fry-cooks can turn out a decent breakfast.
My favorite restaurant breakfast has always been eggs (scrambled or in an omelet), potatoes and whole-wheat toast with strawberry jam. And, of course, coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I really like the places that put a pot of coffee on the table and let me pour my own.
Right away, from a low-carb perspective, you can see the problems with my favorite restaurant breakfast: the toast, the potatoes and the jam. Even an orange-slice garnish adds carbs. So eating breakfast out is not as simple for me as it used to be. The specials invariably include plenty of cheap carbs. I have the toast held, and look for a substitute for the hash-browns, such as a few tomatoes slices. Some places will offer a substitute and some won’t. Either way, ordering takes more time and care.
But not at the Big Boy restaurant chain. Anita and I stopped at a Big Boy the other morning off U.S. 23, half way between Flint and Ann Arbor, and were happy to discover that the menu now includes a Build your Blockbuster Breakfast option.
Let me stop here and disclose my financial relationship with Big Boy: I give them money and they give me food.
The option to build your own breakfast at Big Boy lets you decide how many items you want (three for $3.99 was our choice) and then to pick out the items from a list that includes two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links, a sausage patty, turkey sausage, fresh fruit, or yogurt. There are also plenty of cheap carbs on the list: hash browns, biscuits and gravy, French toast slice, English muffin, hot cakes and toast.
Anita and I both ordered two eggs scrambled, two sausage links and two bacon strips. We asked about the fresh fruit, but it wasn’t berries, so we just stuck with the protein and fat. We also ordered coffee, which is extra.
You can double up on an item if you want to. I think four eggs and two sausage links might be the way I go next time.
The eggs were freshly prepared, the bacon crisp, and the sausage links — well, I’ve never ate a bad sausage link.
I won’t say it was the cheapest breakfast ever. When you add in the coffee and sales tax, it came to about $12 for the two of us. We got a cheaper breakfast in that New York City diner a couple years ago. But we really liked being able to order off the menu with no need for substitutes or explanations.
With this option, Big Boy will get more of my breakfast business.