Restaurant Spotlight: Bacon and Eggs

Bacon and Eggs Walla WallaThe name says it all: Bacon & Eggs is all about breakfast—with a twist.

An eclectic menu with items inspired by years of travel makes its home in a renovated Jackpot gas station on East Main St. The original walk-in refrigerator is stocked with everything from pineapples to bottles of bubbly, its glass panes frosted, allowing customers to catch a glimpse of staff members walking back and forth between it and the kitchen.

This afternoon, I met up with owner Michelle Adams for a chat about the story behind Bacon & Eggs and the restaurant’s strong support of the local community. Bacon & Eggs is a locavore operation, dedicated to using as many local products and ingredients as possible.

“The Walla Walla valley has so many incredible local things that I feel are almost untapped. If you hop on for the ride, it’s kind of amazing.”

Adams and her partner Michelle Giannunzio moved to Walla Walla from Seattle. They first visited the area in 2006 on a weekend wine tasting trip, and, like many of the small town’s transplants (myself included), instantly fell in love.

Bacon and Eggs KitchenAccording to Adams, opening a restaurant in Walla Walla was “intuitive.” Giannunzio has been whipping up delicious dishes in the kitchen for 25 years, and Adams has worked in the restaurant business for 15.

“We wrote a list down while we were clear-headed of the things that we had to have. And she and I both took, from all of the restaurants we’ve worked in, our top 10 favorite things and our top 10 least favorite things.”

After the move, the two did their fair share of market research before opening the restaurant in December of 2011.

“We spent two years learning the clientele. I worked at T. Macarones and [Giannunzio] was at Brasserie 4. It was actually, for us, in hindsight, the best thing we could have ever done. We spent two years getting to know the people we were about to serve.”

Every aspect of the Bacon & Eggs, from the friendly waitstaff, to the large open window into the kitchen, to the steaming mugs of Stumptown Coffee, fosters the same sense of community on which the restaurant thrives.

“We want you to really see where your food is coming from. It’s a relationship that we really like.”

Bacon and Eggs Walla WallaThe couple’s commitment to hospitality and many of Bacon & Eggs’ gourmet menu items have roots in Mexico, through which Adams and Giannunzio have extensively traveled. Signature dishes include the migas (a scramble of chiles, tortilla and pico de gallo), huevos con chorizo, and an authentic huevos rancheros.

“We love a little spice in things, or a little something unexpected.”

And for an extra kick, add a dash of hot sauce to your meal (there’s a wide selection available on the rack next to the kitchen) or complement it with a breakfast cocktail.

“Try a Bloody Mary or some nice spicy tequila with a chorizo scramble. It really is a good pairing.”

Bacon & Eggs is located at 503 E. Main St. and is open Thursday through Tuesday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Restaurant Spotlight: Maple Counter Cafe

There’s one question our guests seem to be asking lately: Where’s a good place to go for breakfast? Lucky for visitors and locals alike, Walla Walla offers a host of delicious dining options.

One of my favorite local breakfast spots is Maple Counter Café, a homey restaurant housed in a renovated transmission shop in downtown Walla Walla. You’ll be able to spot it easily—just look for the crowd of hungry customers that tends to gather outside its heavy wooden doors on Alder St.

Everything about Maple Counter is warm and inviting—from the French country-style décor, to the friendly waitstaff, to the endless coffee served with heavy cream.

I sat down this morning for a chat with owner Kory Nagler who let me in on the secret behind Maple Counter’s success: a long family tradition of outstanding service complemented by classic recipes.

Maple Counter Cafe Walla Walla

Kory and Rachel

Originally from Sequim, Washington, Kory and his wife Rachel opened the restaurant in November of 2011 after moving to Walla Walla in February of the same year.

“We fell in love, got married and decided we wanted to open a restaurant—actually I had always known that I was likely going to open a restaurant.”

Kory comes from a long line of restaurateurs—his grandparents ran a breakfast restaurant in Chicago, Illinois and his parents own the Oak Table Café in Sequim, which they opened right before Kory was born.

Maple Counter Café is part of this evolving tradition.

“That’s where the name comes from. We wanted to be different but we also wanted to be sure to pay homage in our own cute way because what we’re doing here really draws so much from the family tradition.”

Menu staples like the buttermilk pancakes, 49er flapjacks and crêpes get their fluffiness thanks to a sourdough starter

from the original family restaurant in Chicago. The style of the food and the techniques used to prepare it—thick-cut bacon, basted eggs, French-baked omelets—have been passed down as well.

But the Nagler family tradition is present in more than Maple Counter’s mouth-watering recipes and down-home cooking style.

“The secrets to hospitality, good food and all that stuff were just bred into me as a kid—it was all around me. The food is a complement to the service and to the warm feeling you want to get when you’re going out.”

And if you’ve already eaten at Maple Counter, chances are Kory’s literally had a hand in your food, working the line alongside the other chefs.

“I’m here every day.”

Maple Counter Walla Walla

Kory at work in the kitchen

He and Rachel help to foster the infectious, welcoming energy that fills the air in time with the telltale train whistle—a gift from Kory’s parents that announces the arrival of another sumptuous apple pancake and embarrasses customers on their birthdays.

At the end of our chat, Kory and I discussed some of our favorite dishes. I almost always get the quiche: rich, fluffy and whose ingredients change with what’s in season—right now it features Walla Walla sweet onions.

And what was Kory craving this morning?

“There’s sweet and there’s savory for breakfast. Today, I would say 49er flapjacks and bacon—it’s a little bit of both.”

Maple Counter Café located at 209 E. Alder St. and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.