High-class brunch for diner prices

Oswego Tea Company
Oswego Tea Company (Photo by Corey Sheen)

The Oswego Tea Company, located on East First Street, is a cozy breakfast nook that offers up more than just scrambled eggs and flapjacks. From the second a customer walks in, they are surrounded by a rustic, homey atmosphere and the smell of freshly baked breads.

The hostess was quick to greet us and have my party seated in the waiting area, which gave us a few minutes to soak in the scenery.

Peacock emblazoned stain glass filtered a mellow blue light into the room, which was clearly renovated, but still maintained its original red, brick frame, cracks and all. We were seated rather quickly considering it the weekend and families were out for breakfast together.

When we looked at the menu we were almost in disbelief at the cost of the food. The culinary technique for some of the dishes seemed ambitious for a breakfast joint, yet the items were still averaging $4-$5 a plate. I was excited to try everything.

The waitress was friendly and quick to service us. At one point the owner even came out to ask us if everything was OK.

Deciding to sample a wide array of what the menu offered, we ordered the southwest breakfast burrito, seasonal pumpkin pancakes, fresh baked cinnamon bread French toast, fried chicken and waffles, eggs benedict, poached eggs with fresh baked bread, and banana chocolate crepes.

The service was extremely impressive. Not only did the food arrive promptly, but it was brought out together, and nothing was cold. It added to the effect of sitting in mom’s kitchen on a Sunday morning.

Already skeptical about the quality of the food for such a cheap price, I was surprised to see nothing “cheap” sitting on a plate in front of me.

My first time trying eggs benedict, I was surprised by the richness of the hollandaise sauce that added a certain tart to the perfectly poached eggs and the thick slices of ham.

Then I turned to my fried chicken and waffle. The waffle was a hearty size, taking up the entire plate. The chicken was browned and crunchy on the outside but moist at the center. Topped with a warm black pepper maple syrup, the dish has multiple flavor nuances and an overall balance of textures and tastes.

The banana and chocolate crepes could satisfy any early morning sweet tooth. This crepe was filled with rich melted chocolate, nothing like what you find in a squeeze bottle in the supermarket. Topped with lightly caramelized bananas, the dish also offered a visual aesthetic of chocolate art.

The highlight of the food was the pumpkin pancakes. Three orange pancakes came served in a pool of syrup, and were so creamy that they almost melted into one pile of pumpkin batter deliciousness.

The highlight of the entire experience though was the bill. With less than $50 we were able to order seven full meals, and take home a loaf of freshly baked bread, which come in an assortment of flavors like raisin swirl, or jalapeno cheddar.

Overall the Oswego Tea Company gets high rating all around. With great food served in a warm atmosphere, friendly waitresses and outrageously low prices, you’ll quickly become a regular.