West Egg. In case you’ve never read The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald in his iconic novel had divided New York in the 20’s into two villages, East Egg and West Egg.
In East Egg resided the old, aristocratic families – old money – while West Egg housed those who had miraculously turned hard work into a pish-posh lifestyle – new money.
The West Egg Café was successful in emanating that aura when it took on its name.
Surrounded by a bustling city life, this restaurant advertises food of a certain “southern comfort in a modern, energetic environment,” as their website boasts, in the Westside of Atlanta.
TL;DR: if you are a young adult on a budget looking for satisfaction under an hour, West Egg is the place to go.
My family of four trekked over to Howell Mill Road around lunchtime on a Tuesday, where the wait was less than five minutes, though I’ve heard that the line on the weekends can be downright atrocious.
The decor of this café falls somewhere between mildly pleasant and visually stimulating, with dark steel and wood panels allowing red tones to stand out. West Egg hosts its diners both inside and out, and because I noticed that the chatter from inside seemed almost unbearable, I requested a table outside, where the talk from other tables was lower and more sufferable.
The silverware arrives at your table in a wooden box, and you order off a menu kept in a plain, manila folder. I felt extra important merely opening it up.
The menu items themselves revealed a moderately small number of options, though tailored to each diner’s personal taste, and breakfast all day!
I find that many restaurants that demonstrate wild potential fall short when they present an overflowing menu; the fatal flaw is giving customers way too many unnecessary choices to make. I don’t want to flip through a fourteen page menu just to find a page dedicated to soups themselves.
The wait for food was substantial but would not have been such a big deal had my sister and I risen from our beds before noon that day and had anything circulating our systems other than a few sips of water.
Our waiter, like others there, was youthful, hip, and caring. He asked how I wanted my eggs prepared, and did I want my whites set? Yolk runny? He made sure that the dish would be picture perfect, down to the last detail.
My sister and I ordered lattes.
My almond joy latte showcased steamed milk artfully poured, though the fact that it didn’t taste much like almonds nor the candy bar of the same name made me think that I might have been drastically overcharged ($4).
My sister’s white chocolate rose mocha was the café special at a hefty $4.50. I probably could have made something similar at home for much cheaper, but I found true joy in being served coffee in a huge, wide-lipped mug, topped with swirls of whipped cream. Still, the dregs of honey left at the bottom of the mug did not seem intentional.
I half-expected a drumroll as our food finally marched in, or a royal herald with a detailed description of our dishes; I was armed with four sets of tastebuds.
My dad ordered the Cuban sandwich, complimented with a Balsamic vinegar salad, mega-simple, mega-light. The sandwich featured two different meats, an herby mayo, and crunchy pickles on a pressed Cuban roll ($9). My bites of his sandwich revealed a crispy, panini-like bite, with meaty goodness balanced with sour pickle slices.
My mother’s shrimp po’boy unveiled shrimp! in every bite! The daily special headlined thick bread, which had absorbed a creamy orange sauce ($11?). Layered with sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce, this stacked sandwich came speared with a toothpick, one of the more enjoyable po’boys I’ve had in my lifetime.
My sister ordered an omelet, plated with bacon and hash ($8.25). Despite my inexplicable aversion to omelettes, the bite from my sister’s that I had was fluffy, flavored with turkey sausage and mushrooms. Both of us were satisfied, as her egg-based meal came plated with bacon and hash.
I got the Georgia Benedict, an Atlantan twist on the classic dish; my plate consisted of a biscuit split in half, topped with two eggs, over easy, smothered in sausage gravy, with a side of grits ($9).
It took me quite a while to realize that I had basically ordered a plate of carbs. I was very satisfied with the eggs, with their creamy whites, flowing yolk, and all, though a bit disappointed by the grits, which were somewhat lacking in flavor.
Most of the food I sampled was not overly greasy, though not particularly light. The menu certainly accommodates to vegetarians and dieters, with options for egg whites, healthier meat options, and entrees centered around vegetables, like the fried green tomatoes wrap.
At the end of the meal, we sat back with bellies full, which signaled the waiter to bring our check, insisting that we not rush out.
The check for four turned out to be a little over fifty dollars, a price I would have been happy to pay after an impressive meal in a very well-planned restaurant.
West Egg, why do you charge so little for delicious food but so much for a mere cup of coffee?
If coffee is your specialty, I will be visiting Howell Mill Road again soon, metaphorical clipboard poised as I attack a muffin and another cup of coffee.
As we walked out, I noticed that young, hip people (kind of like the waiters!) arrive in small groups to sit down and grab a meal, or plop down at a communal table with a laptop or a book to pass the time.
Despite a loud atmosphere, West Egg invites you to stay for the long haul with an attractive shelf of books, an alcoholic drink menu, and a coffee shop side that seems just as popular, if not more popular, as its restaurant side.
1100 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30318
Closed for dinner on Mondays and Tuesdays
Daily specials, brunch all day on the weekends