Breakfast is touted as being the most important meal of the day and is one of those places where people are willing to wait in line to fuel their bodies.
Overview: On weekends, one can hardly find a free patch of sidewalk in front of the shop to stand on and patrons are content in their knowledge that soon they will be enjoying their favorite morning treat. The Southern Kitchen Coffee Shop caters to those who enjoy breakfast early in the day. The shop offers a great lunch, but it really knows the market. Being located in Los Gatos surrounded by fine dining, Rose and Michael Thompson, co-owners and chef de cuisine, know that to keep their doors open for the dinner crowd is a losing proposition. The Southern Kitchen is open from the early morning through 3 p.m. In 1989, the building was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake and, for a short time, Los Gatos was without this premiere breakfast joint. The restaurant was rebuilt in 1990 and Rose Thompson, a waitress turned entrepreneur, purchased the coffee shop in 1993. The restaurant has been a family affair ever since. It is the place where she met Michael Thompson, her then-fiancée and now husband and co-owner. Later Rose’s sons met their wives there and it is their hope that they will pass it on to their granddaughters.
Décor: The décor at the Southern Kitchen is all about function and less about form and beauty. The dining room is crowded with tables and the wait staff does an intricate and proficient dance between them bearing food for the patrons. I didn’t mind the close quarters as it afforded me an excellent view of what my neighbors were eating, broadening my knowledge of the menu and tempting me into another direction.
Drinks: Soft Drinks ($2.25), Iced Tea ($2.25) Coffee ($2.45) Herbal Teas ($2.75) Hot Chocolate ($2.95) Milk ($ 2.45 and $3.25) Chocolate Milk ($3.25 and $3.75). There is a wide selection of juices; Tomato, Apple, Orange, Cranberry, and Grapefruit ($2.75, $3.75, and $4.45).
Appetizers: The Southern Kitchen offers some classic southern starters, such as Stuffed Tomato ($10.95) and Stuffed Avocado ($11.25). There is also Fried Green Tomatoes ($5.75) which is only available when in season, so you have to keep your eyes open and ask your server questions. You can find standard starters as well like a tasty Soup of the day ($3.95 and $4.95), Chili ($3.95 and $4.95), Greek Salad with Feta Cheese ($11.25), Chef Salad ($11.95), and Fresh Fruit Supreme ($11.95).
Entrees: As a serious breakfast joint, the Southern Kitchen Coffee Shop has a wide selection of egg options including Omelets; Plain ($8.45), Vegetable ($9.45), Spanish ($9.95), Plantation ($ 10.75) with cheese, Italian Delight ($10.75), and you can create your own omelet according to your taste. There are also Scrambles; Ham ($10.45), City ($10.45), Southern Kitchen ($10.75), Cajun ($10.95), Santa Fe ($11.25) and egg and meat platters ranging from $8.25 to $15.95. All breakfast includes hash browns or grits and your choice of bread product. For lunch, Southern Kitchen offers seven types of burgers in incredible ½ pound potions and are served with French fries and coleslaw or potato salad, Hamburger ($9.75), Cheeseburger ($10.25), Ortega Chili Burger with cheese ($10.75), Cheeseburgers with Bacon, ($10.95), Chili Burger served open faced with onion and cheese ($11.25), Mushroom Burger with cheese ($11.25), Patty Melt ($10.95), and a Jumbo Burger ($11.95) ¾ lbs. with cheese and sautéed onions. Hamburgers and anything made with ground beef is prepared with Humboldt Grassfed Beef. Chef and Co-Owner Michael says, “it makes the hamburgers delicious”, it is all in the ingredients. The Southern Kitchen uses the verb “to sandwich” liberally, by providing a number of good choices found between two pieces of bread, including a triple decker Club House ($10.25), a triple decker Southern Club ($ 10.25) which is a breakfast sandwich made with bacon and egg, Cajun Chicken Sandwich ($11.25), New York Steak Sandwich ($15.45), and a Monte Cristo Supreme ($10.95) that a one of Thompson’s patrons travel from San Francisco to enjoy which is saying a lot, as San Francisco is hailed as the birth place of the Monte Cristo according to Helen Evan Brown’s “West Coast Cook Book” (1952). There are other hot and cold sandwiches on the menu that range between $6.45 and 10.95 that would make the Earl of Sandwich proud.
Sides: Side of Country Gravy ($1.95), One Egg ($3.25), Two Eggs ($3.45), Cottage Cheese ($3.45), Homemade Hash Browns ($5.45), French Fries ($5.75) Bacon and Sausage link ($5.95), Han or Canadian Bacon ($5.95) Country or Cajun Sausage (5.95), Corned Beef Hash ($6.95), Hamburger Steak ¾ lb. ($7.35), Italian Sausage and Linguica ($7.95), Chicken Apple Cinnamon Sausage ($7.95) Chicken Fried Streak ($8.95). The breads products are baked daily Toast ($2.75), English Muffin ($2.75) Corn Bread ($3.75) Homemade Muffins; Blueberry, Bran and Banana Nut ($3.75), Bagel ($2.75 add cream cheese $3.95), Homemade Biscuit ($3.75), Homemade Biscuits and Gravy ($7.25), Bowl or prunes or peaches ($4.45), Fresh Fruit Salad Bowl ($5.95), Cold Cereal ($3.75) Old Fashion Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat ($5.95). If you are looking for a “My Cousin Vinny” moment, here it is. I sat with my friend and had a full on “what type of grits are these?” conversation. Grits ($4.95 and $5.95) are not served in most places as a breakfast accompaniment, but here you can have a bowl of the creamiest grits I have ever had.
Dessert: There are no desserts; however there are wonderful sweet breakfast possibilities. There is fruit-filled French toast ($9.95) in apple cinnamon, apricot, and banana. It is the house signature dish and is nothing but delicious! There is regular French toast ($10.45) that is thick and made with freshly baked bread and served with bacon or sausage. Variations of pancakes that speak to a carb loader’s dreams are available in Banana Nut ($9.95), Blueberry ($9.95), Blueberry and Banana ($ 10.95), and Fruit Topped (Strawberries or Blueberries) Pancakes ($10.95) served with whip cream and almonds. There are also Homemade Belgian Waffles ($8.45)
Service: Speedy food delivery and frequent check-in from a crazy busy wait staff. There is virtually no wait for your food.
Signature Dish: The house specialty is the fruit-filled French Toast ($9.95) in Apple Cinnamon and Apricot. The bread is baked especially for the Southern Kitchen with the fruit and preserved swirled in. It is served with complimentary syrup and dusted with powered sugar. The Country Fried Steak and Eggs is also a house specialty served with biscuits and both smothered in their outstanding country gravy.
27 East Main Street
Chef: Rose and Michael Thompson
Cost: $9.50 to $25.00