The Garden Grill

So we get up this morning and Marek announces that it’s going to rain pancakes. I say sure kid, it rains pancakes every weekend. That’s what we’re here for, to serve the people of the Tampa Bay area by exercising our exceptional breakfast powers. He says, no dad, it’s really going to rain pancakes. I’m bringing an umbrella. There’s no arguing with this kid.


We visited the Garden Grill at 8425 W Hillsborough Ave on 24 October 2009. This was our first visit to the Garden Grill. It’s on the way to the Oldsmar Flea Market, which is, if the sign may be believed, the mightiest in the south. That’s our favorite flea market. The Garden Grill sign says that they’re the best kept secret in town. And they promise. That’s a good sign. That’s also a good double entendre.


We got inside and found a pretty nice little place. Lunch counter. Check. Friendly folks. Check. Sit anywhere you like. Check. Booth in the back. Check.


We got right into some high octane. That’s a good brew. Tastes like Columbian battery acid (that’s a compliment, by the way). Sometimes a little slow in coming, but it hit the spot like a twelve volt jolt to the nervy system. I’m not going to disparage this coffee.


We were cute when we sat down. We were not crazy.


We promptly got out of hand, like a couple of sailors on a bender after six months of sea duty with no port calls. We got crazy.


What about breakfast? The menu was extensive. Three pages of breakfast bliss. And. AND. And they were able to do blueberry pancakes. Marek had the Micky pancake.


I had the “two two two.” Our waitress was very sweet. We kept asking her to repeat it. “Two two two.” We just liked hearing her say it, and we talked about Thomas the Train after she left. “What does Thomas say?” “Two two two!”

Two Two Two, Thomas!


The eggs were OK, but not nearly what you’d find at Samaria Cafe. The bacon was OK, but not Steve Standard. I was surprised that Marek had some. He hasn’t touched bacon since he started reading up on Middle Eastern history a few months back. The pancakes were interesting. They were good, and I showed them who’s boss in a vigorous, take-no-pancakes-prisoner sort of way. But they had an odd taste, like the blueberries were fresh but a little out of season or there was an extra ingredient in the batter. Hard to put the finger on it. Not a bad thing, just something I noticed while I was concentrating on making pancakes disappear with my mind. Oh, and also by eating them.


I says, hey Marek Madness, give yer ole man a kiss. The Madness replies, not in a million years, pops, because a Hooters girl might walk in any moment and see me and I don’t want you cootying me up like that.


Then a nice lady come by to talk about her fruit cups. If we weren’t there for pancakes, we’d have had fruit! It looked delicious!


After the nice fruit lady left, we had a bit of an altercation about shoes. I was “pro-shoes” and “anti-feet-on-table” and Marek, dear Marek, was a member of the opposition party. And he supports raising taxes to increase funding for public schools. It’s always politics with this kid.


That’s when we realized that there were spiders in the booth with us. Holy Moley! Luckily, these were common Breakfast Spiders. We see them every weekend. I think they follow us in.


We finished up and paid the bill. Marek was in a hurry to get home in time for Leave it to Beaver!


Our breakfast turned out to be about $14, which is a little high but not bad for what we had. The people were all exceptionally nice, especially the fresh fruit lady. The chow was good and we certainly didn’t go away hungry. We just had a nice, low-key time at the Garden Grill and would cheerfully recommend it to breakfasteers anywhere.

We’re pleased to give the Garden Grill a Tampa Bay Breakfasts rating of three and a half stars.


Garden Grille Cafe on Urbanspoon

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