When I heard that Dexter’s of Thornton Park was starting a breakfast option on weekdays, I thought it was a good idea to offer another morning meal option for that in-town bedroom community. But as I thought more about it, I couldn’t come up with any other restaurant that’s serving a full breakfast menu downtown east of Lake Eola (Panera doesn’t count).
I like Dexter’s, always have, even when the Thornton Park location was having trouble finding its identity when it first opened in 1996. Originally, it was meant to be one-half restaurant/wine bar and one-half market. But the market for a market just wasn’t there, and after struggling for a time with meager produce (I seem to recall a time when I saw a single potato being offered), The Dex folks finally turned the entire space into a restaurant and bar, with full liquor coming on board,as well. It’s been the neighborhood reliable ever since.
So breakfast is a natural for the place. This, of course, is separate from Dexter’s weekend brunch menu, although there seems to be some overlap between the two. I’m a sucker for hash with eggs, so I immediately honed in on that as my choice. My breakfast companion chose the blue corn pancakes.
The corned beef hash was billed as house made, and I believe it was. The potatoes had been cut into tiny pieces, as though a culinary arts student had been assigned to perform a practical exam on fine dicing (he or she would have gotten an A). The flavors, including some from sweet onions and chopped scallions, were good, but I sort of missed the “meatiness” of bigger potato hunks. The hash was topped by two perfectly poached eggs and accompanied by two slices of brioche toast. The toast had not been buttered and I was offered no butter or jam for it.
The pancakes were big fluffy disks, which were topped with a big dollop of butter that trickled over the sides as it melted. The maple syrup was served in a separate dish so that it could be either poured over the cakes or used as a dip for each individual forkful. Three dollar-sized patties of spicy sausage accompanied.
Service was very good. As we took our seats at one of the high tables across from the bar, our server noticed my briefcase and suggested if I needed to plug my laptop in I might want to move down closer to an outlet. Very thoughtful.
Most of the patrons who were having breakfast when I arrived were seated at the bar, both individuals and small groups. There are also some conventional booths on the other side of the bar. The atmosphere is comfortably urban, with warehouse lights and spinning ceiling fans, a sparkling terrazzo floor and classic rock playing not too far in the background.
Dexter’s of Thornton Park is at 808 E. Washington St., Orlando. Breakfast is served Monday through Friday from 7 to 10 a.m. So far, only Thornton Park is offering the weekday breakfast. Here’s a link to Dexter’s Web site. The phone number is 407-648-2777.