An omelet with sweet peppers, goat cheese, fresh chives, rosemary and basil. - Photo courtesy of Brothers' Rest

Breakfast at Brothers' Restaurant

Two things attracted me to Brothers' Restaurant even before I set foot in the popular Ashland eatery.

First was its attractive website, replete with weekly specials and fun pictures of staff and food. Second, it serves breakfast and lunch all day (7 a.m. to 2 p.m.), so when I woke up at 10:30 a.m. last Saturday, breakfast was still an option.

Dan Durant, who formerly owned Country Willows Bed & Breakfast in Ashland, had his heart set on owning a breakfast place when Brothers' caught his eye. Brent Brody opened the restaurant, located at 95 N. Main St., just off the Ashland Plaza in 1976. Brody later sold it to Bob Evoniuk and Beth Levin, who under pressure from Durant, sold it in 2007.

Durant possesses a penchant for finer foods and an artist's eye which he's applied to the restaurant's traditional breakfast fare, particularly the specials.

Every week, there are new creations and combinations to be had, including exciting, new variations of mimosas and bloody marys — an orange-apricot mimosa and a bacon-infused bloody mary are on the menu this week — as well as French toast (blueberry sauce and lemon curd or a tropical-fruit salsa dress up this favorite) and eggs Benedict, available only on the weekends. Durant's original variations, which he calls "eggs Benedict Arnold," have featured crab, portobello-risotto cakes, pesto with seared lox and shrimp-and-scallion cakes.

The everyday menu presents familiar favorites, including omelets, scrambles, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal and huevos rancheros. Sweet and savory scones also are hot items, so hot that staff make two to three batches a day to keep up with demand.

It was 11:30 before my husband, Sean, and I made it to Brothers'. Every table downstairs and on the second-floor balcony were taken, and we waited with two other parties in a tight space in front of the door. A short wait is to be expected at Brothers' but shouldn't be any longer than 15 minutes, promises Durant.

When our turn came, we were seated at a first-floor table. It has been argued in past reviews that upstairs can be too warm, but we would have preferred it over the bustle and noise of downstairs.

Our friendly waitress appeared for drink orders, and Sean and I ordered fresh-squeezed, organic orange juice and a latte, respectively. The orange juice was so cold and refreshing I had to resist gulping it down. The latte also impressed with its silky foam, not often seen outside quality coffee shops.

I was set on breakfast and, at first, settled on the corned-beef hash ($11.50) but, in the end, ordered Brothers' egg sandwich ($9.95). I also tacked on an apricot-walnut scone ($2.25) because I knew Sean would be reluctant to share the one that came with his omelet ($12.50).

After I saw the sandwich, I knew I'd made the right decision. Layers of prosciutto, sausage, seared tomato, melted Swiss cheese and eggs scrambled with spinach draped over the soft, barely toasted English muffin. Next to the sandwich, there was a small but colorful bowl of strawberries, honeydew, grapes, pineapple and cantaloupe — all firm and flavorful despite the season.

Durant says the "No. 20" omelet Sean ordered is "hands-down" the most popular item on the breakfast menu. With bacon, spinach, red onion, tomatoes and mozzarella, the omelet is hardly adventurous but sure to please. Omelets come with a choice of crispy hash browns, sliced tomatoes or housemade pinto beans, as well as toast, bagel, English muffin or scone.

There's more to be said for Brothers' lunch menu, but that will be for another time.

— Teresa Thomas

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