THE EATBEAT: Village Inn serves up breakfast all day, every day
After 18 years on the job, Tammy Oas easily can carry a big oval-shaped tray of food on one shoulder and set out a rack for it with her other hand. When she helps train new servers in the Village Inn, she tells them the trick is not to think abou...
After 18 years on the job, Tammy Oas easily can carry a big oval-shaped tray of food on one shoulder and set out a rack for it with her other hand. When she helps train new servers in the Village Inn, she tells them the trick is not to think about it.
Oas is one of several experienced servers who help make a visit to the Village Inn pleasant. She knows the menu and can answer questions from customers.
She served me lunch on one of my recent visits to the restaurant, located next to Holiday Inn Express and near Interstate 29 and 32nd Avenue South.
You must be 60 to qualify for the senior lunch, and they didn't card me. So, I ordered a Senior Half Sandwich and Soup ($4.99). The ham and Swiss cheese on wheat bread was good, and the robust vegetable beef soup filled the bill on a busy March day.
To me, Village Inn is a breakfast or brunch kind of place. A few days earlier, I was there with Daughter Gail (DG) and Grandson Jack (GJ) for breakfast when they were visiting.
GJ ordered a Portabella Burger with mushrooms, peppers and mozzarella cheese that came with fries yes, for breakfast. He polished it off in no time but said the fries tasted like they were raw inside. He gave them grades of B and C.
But DG gave her whole wheat pancakes an A plus, and I was well pleased with the English muffin, egg and sausage combo.
It was, in fact, just right, so I went back again on a Sunday after church. Though it was almost 1 p.m., the place was busy, and people were waiting to be seated. I thought it was handled quite orderly, and the wait was not too long. However, another couple said their wait was long in spite of empty tables.
The same couple were more than pleased with their food. He ordered a new item, the California Stuffed Omelette ($7.79), and she had a Spinach Bacon & Avocado Skillet ($7.89).
I like the menu, which offers breakfast all day and includes dinners after 4 p.m. They range in price from $7.99 for liver and onions to $11.59 for a 10-ounce sirloin steak.
The Village Inn has parking space on three sides and comfortable seating inside the entry.
The restaurant was opened in the present location six years ago, being located on Columbia Road before and after the Flood of 1997. The new location has been good, with a customer survey showing 12.5 percent of the customers come in off the highway. Location next to the Holiday Inn Express also has been good, according to Jerry Harmon, the general manager.
He welcomes the various groups of people who meet in Village Inn for coffee. They include a group of men who show up every morning and a group called the Good Friends Club that comes in regularly. Although they don't order a lot of food, Harmon likes having them around. He figures it's good to have the place look busy.
He keeps a close watch on traffic daily and spends his weekends on the job because they are the busiest days. Six buses stopped during tourney time in early March, and management was grateful they called ahead.
Among the pluses are the big glasses of ice water and the good grade of silverware that comes wrapped in a fairly sturdy paper napkin. The food is prepared to order. This is no microwave place. And the staff is friendly. The women's room is basically bright and clean, though a tad messy on a busy Sunday.
On the downside, it always seems to me the tables are too high or the seats are too low when you sit in the booths. While there is a fairly clean feel, there are fingerprints on some of the etched glass above the booths.
Coffee is $1.59, but they give you a whole pot. They offer a half-slice of pie and coffee for $2.99 between 2 and 4 p.m.
To bring in business, the Village Inn offers 20 percent off for seniors Mondays. On Tuesdays, it's two-for-the-price-of-one burger, sandwich or melt with a shake. On Wednesdays, kids younger than 12 eat free. And Fridays, Village Inn features fish fry specials. The good news is that it's $8.99 all day. The bad news, for me, is that it is deep-fried.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 772-1055.