Call us crazy, but several months after a HORRIBLE experience at our local Claim Jumper for a later dinner, we noticed a sign announcing they now serve breakfast on the weekend and decided to give it a try.
Why would we bother, when the last time was so bad? Well, there is a terrible lack of places left to try for breakfast in our local community. The best one in the area is so busy (hmm, wonder why?) that you really can’t enjoy yourself. There are a couple of better-than-mediocre choices that we frequent, but find they are barely worth the twenty minutes it takes to get there. I would make it at home, but it is just too much of a chore to get all of the pieces together at one time, hot and fresh. So we figured we would give the Claim Jumper a try.
The parking lot had half a dozen cars in it at 9:45. Not the best sign, but breakfast at Claim Jumper is new. We parked and walked up.
A cute little sandwich board out front told us that they were trying some new items: Carrot Cake French Toast and S’mores pancakes. They were also offering some Monster Breakfast with a typical Claim Jumper type excess included some three entrees with bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns and more.
Inside, the host greeted us immediately with a nice smile. “Two of you this morning?” Five stars for him! One of my pet peeves is hosts/hostesses who greet you with a smile and no words. Really?! It isn’t MY job to greet you. Use your words! He then walked us at a comfortable pace to our table without a lot of disingenuous small talk.
We were seated in the bar area, which seemed to be the only place set up for breakfast. There were about ten tables available, and we filled the ninth. Menus were already on the table, as were cloth napkin-wrapped silverware.
A waitress came out within two or three minutes and told us our waitress would be there shortly. Uh, oh. Plus a star for coming out right away, minus a star for it not being our waitress. She did offer to bring us drinks, and while she offered us coffee by name, she did not suggest any of the yummy looking bar drinks from the menu.
The menu was slightly sparse of breakfast items, and every egg dish seemed to include ham. There were two dishes of the eggs-toast-meat-potato-pancake variety, Eggs Benedict (made with ham), one scramble (with ham), one omelette (a Denver omelette, with ham) (no, really!), pancakes, French toast , a custom omelette, and four beverages of the mimosa type. Nothing exciting, nothing signature, pretty standard. Although somewhat pricey, with said eggs-toast-meat-potato-pancake dish priced at $12.99, omelettes running $14.99. Even with Claim Jumper sized portions, this seemed a lot.
True to her word, our waitress came out closely thereafter with our coffee. She was friendly and ready to serve. She was very accommodating when I asked for bacon instead of ham in my scramble, and even brought out the muffin that I asked for in a take out container before my food came.
The food took less than ten minutes to arrive at our table, and it was piping hot! This is my number one requirement for restaurant food. The scramble was a nice mound of eggs, topped cleanly with melted cheese and a side of sausage gravy. My husband’s plate was loaded with pancakes, eggs and bacon. Both looked quite appetizing. We were asked if there was anything else we needed, and the requested hot sauce was brought to the table promptly, as was the coffee that was offered before I could ask.
The scramble looked nicely filled with bacon, but was, alas, too salty. The hash browns were very uniform in size, and every bite tasted exactly like the first. This could be a good thing, but with a lack of seasoning or flavor other than salt, it was just…average. Honestly, it could have been Denny’s. For fifteen bucks, I expected more. Ken’s food was fine, but that was it. The pancakes were average, the eggs were eggs and the bacon was bacon. Nothing spectacular, but nothing was bad, either.
When we had finished, our lovely waitress came over in perfect time and told us that Claim Jumper was trying out a couple of new items and would like to offer us one for free. We were pretty full by now, but decided to try one anyway. Remember the Carrot Cake French Toast and the S’mores Pancakes on the menu board? These were the items we were being offered. We decided to try to French toast.
After another ten minutes, she brought us the French Toast. It wasn’t exactly pretty. It was pretty dark brown, but drizzled with a white glaze and topped with mandarin orange slices. The portion was two slices of toast and cost $12.99. Ours was, as I mentioned, free, but $12.99 seemed very high for the portion received.
It was interesting. The first bite didn’t have any glaze, and tasted like slightly oily, crisp carrot cake. At least it wasn’t overly sweet. The powdered sugar on the top was a little distracting and overpowered the toast. The next bite had glaze, which was really nice. It was slightly orangey-flavored and complemented the toast well. The syrup was just that: maple syrup. It did nothing for the toast. Overall, it was different, and given my complaint about a lack of signature items, filled the bill, but was rather boring. Had it come with our meals, we might have enjoyed it more, but we didn’t save any room, and it wasn’t worth stuffing ourselves for.
When she came back, our waitress asked how it was. “Kinda interesting, right?” she said. That was about it. That was all that she wanted to know. What was interesting was the lack of any official research over this test item.
Our check was presented promptly, picked up quickly and returned quickly. We were thanked by at least three people as we left, and even had the door opened for us by a manager on our way out.
So how would I rate our experience? Overall, I don’t think we will return. At $42 for two cups of coffee and two entrees, it was way overpriced. It was pretty boring fare. I would break it down as follows:
- Service: four stars.
- Food: three stars.
- Overall hospitality: four stars
- Cleanliness: four stars
- Creative menu: two stars
- Value: two stars
Average: 3.2 stars.