It's lights, camera, breakfast at Las Cruces'
new movie-themed Break an Egg.
Going out for breakfast has long been an ordeal in Las Cruces. How many times can someone survive breakfast burritos or chain-restaurant pancakes? So I was overjoyed when I heard about the new Break an Egg restaurant, which opened in July.
The cleverly named little restaurant is dedicated to owner Janice Williams' love of movies and theater. Movie posters and stills dot the brightly colored walls, and two television sets play movies quietly and high above the seating area, allowing for gabfests to take place uninterrupted while diners peruse the five-page movie- and theater-themed menu. It's split into sections, each with a groan-inducing but fun movie-related pun as a header ("Egg-cademy Award Winners," with each dish named after a movie profession such as gaffer or director, or "The Ommies," for the nice selection of omelets). Williams' imagination was clearly at work when she planned her first venture into the restaurant business.
My first two visits to Break an Egg have been pleasant, and it was nice to note that the staff was trying hard to work out new restaurant gaffes such as slow service or missing items.
A weekday visit brought a veggie omelet to my table, and it was just the right size for my "getting too old to eat as much as I used to" appetite. It came filled with mushrooms, bell peppers, onion and tomatoes; a quick reminder to our attentive server brought the promised but missing Hollandaise sauce in short order. Served with good hash browns, it could have used a side of toast, a biscuit or English muffin, but those are "egg-stras," as noted on the menu. This is not a bad idea at all, since the whole meal was only five bucks, a lot of bread does seem to go to waste at eateries. Breakfast meat for most dishes is also a side order, but comes in generous amounts at a reasonable price (four slices of Canadian bacon for $3, eh!). The good mid-strength and constant supply of iced tea was $2.29; ask for lemon.
The second visit was planned so we would be there at a busier time, Sunday morning. The cashier had just started making a waiting list when we arrived, and several folks chose not to wait, probably opting instead for still another breakfast burrito elsewhere. Break an Egg does have its version of burritos, but they are called "wraps" — four to choose from, along with 22 additional egg dishes.
I tried another omelet, this time a Greek-style treat with spinach, tomatoes, onion, green pepper and my most recent addiction, feta cheese. Again, it was just large enough, and served with nicely done hash browns. I was wishing that I'd ordered a muffin or toast when a basket of pecan mini-muffins arrived unexpectedly. A dining companion said that they were good — light and not too sweet — which was backed up by the fact that she neglected to immediately pass them around the table.
Service was a bit slow at first, but it appeared that a more experienced staff member noticed this and took steps to reorganize the workflow, which made a dramatic difference. Wait staff are dressed in a style that reminds one of the old days at a movie house when ushers wore white shirts and bow ties. A nice touch, indeed.
I've not tried lunch at Break an Egg yet, but the menu lists a full range of sandwiches, salads, burgers and a few wraps. Vegetarian diners will need to stick to the breakfast menu for the most part, as most of the lunch options are meaty, but Williams' staff seems inclined to be helpful with substitutions and special orders.
You shouldn't leave Break an Egg feeling either stuffed or hungry. Portions are done right — just enough to fill the gap without emptying your wallet. Oddly, the highest-priced item on the breakfast menu is biscuits and gravy, $8 dollars.
The glitches are being worked out, and the atmosphere is friendly and appealing. I especially like the dancing hot dog and box of popcorn, hand-painted on the wall by Williams' daughter, another movie buff.
Break an Egg offers a simple menu at fair prices and is a welcome addition to the risky restaurant business of Las Cruces.
— Jeff Berg