Crackers & Co. Café started out in 1984 in an industrial-looking area in Mesa and has since expanded into Tempe and a second Mesa location.
Popular Valleywide (and for good reason), I decided to venture down to the Tempe location to try it out. Years ago, I remember a friend taking me to the original location in Mesa and I thought, “This can’t be good. I feel like I am walking into an office space.” But I remember having a great lunch and this trip would not contradict that memory at all.
It is located in the same complex as The Dump, although Crackers & Co sits right at the street up against Elliott Road, just east of Priest Drive. It’s easy to find and a lot bigger than I seem to remember the original location to be.
The larger size and nice size patio was great because my Sunday brunch visit had a line of people sitting outside waiting on a table. We probably had a 30-minute wait and, while I am not a person who typically waits, the names kept being called and it felt like it was quicker than the estimated time.
The restaurant itself is nothing to get excited about. It has a Mediterranean décor that reminded me a little of an Olive Garden. The guests keep returning for another reason: the food and the service.
Our waitress was quick, efficient, and friendly. She checked on us in a regular fashion, keeping us updated on the food and refilling drinks as needed. She was knowledgeable on the menu and helpful when trying my hardest to make decisions. She did all this without making us feel watched or pressured in any manner. I find that is a hard balancing act for any server and, without a doubt, she was perfect. She made us feel a little like family.
I started out with a Bloody Mary — it was brunch after all — that comes in a mason jar with the usual accompaniment. It was one of the best Bloody Marys I have ever had (and I have had my fair share). It was all about the wonderful mix. I don’t know what was different about it, but it quenched my thirst that morning.
For brunch, we has the California Eggs Benedict & the Beggar’s Omelet. The eggs were cooked perfectly — over easy and hollandaise sauce with a sprinkling of nutmeg. It comes plated on an English muffin with avocado, tomato and spinach to give it the “California” portion of the title. I like to think it makes it a healthy option, but the fried hash browns on the side pretty much foiled that plan.
The Beggar’s Omelet comes covered in provolone and bacon with sausage, diced ham, green peppers, mushrooms, and green onions inside. You have to like meat and cheese to love this one and luckily my dining partner did.
The menu had about 10 other items I would have loved to try, including a giant cinnamon roll. We saw this come out of the kitchen right after we finished our giant breakfast. We debated having “dessert” but agreed instead to comeback another time.
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