Usually when I review a restaurant, I try to go someplace I’ve never been before. That ensures that I’m experiencing things with fresh eyes and no preconceived notions. That isn’t the case with Earl’s Grocery on Elizabeth Avenue.
I’ve been there. A lot. By a lot, I mean at least 30 times. Probably more. But Earl’s is so consistently good that I had to share the news.
The inside of Earl’s is half-marketplace and half-eatery, with Earl’s take on deli-style foods in the middle, and the baristas and cooks to the left as you come in. The wall that faces the street can be rolled up on nice days, giving the place an open, craft brewery feel.
The staff is so consistently happy and smiling that they brighten your day. Seriously. It’s almost weird.
When I worked uptown, I would walk to the trolley after work and then take it to Earl’s. Most of the time I would just get a beer and a burnt butter chocolate chip cookie, and then some cheese and wine for later. Or cheese and wine for the moment, which is always better than later.
Now I have to find different times to get my Earl’s Grocery fix, so I recently went over for a Saturday breakfast. I had a steak and egg taco with jalapeno slaw, avocado and creme verde for $4.49. The steak was fantastic and the flavors blended well together. The only real problem with the taco was that it was too big to fold together to eat like a taco, but that’s not a real problem. It’s like having too much cash to fit in your wallet. I could’ve eaten five of those tacos. Maybe ten.
My wife had the breakfast stack, which is a grit cake, farm egg, arugula, and avocado, with tomato gravy and herb gremolata. I’ll be honest, I had to look up gremolata — it’s lemon zest, garlic and parsley.
I also had a hazelnut latte for $3.48, bringing my grand total to $7.97. As always, tax and tip isn’t included.
Photos: Clayton Hanson