Scrumptious food and half decently good service. If you can wait in a line for at least half an hour Nellie’s is the place for you for a good Calgary brunch.
After a day of playing rugby up at the Irish Club for St Patty’s Day on Saturday Zac and I fancied a good breakfast of the greasy spoon variety, something half decently substantial but not far. Since we’ve maxed out our trips to the Belmont over the past few months we decided a trip to Nellie’s was in order.
There are quite a number of Nellie’s all over the city, from the Nellie’s in the Loop to the one in Kensington the owner has created a little empire of these restaurants. For me, the ultimate Nellie’s is Nellie’s Kitchen, I think this is solely because our old High School is right across the street and it brings back memories of simpler times.
Zac and bopped down to 17th and I got in line while he picked up some coffee for us, from the evil corporation that is the Starbucks across the street and we waited, I’ve found that the key to waiting in line at breakfast places is to become quite Zen about the whole endeavour, something like “Oooom we will have breakfast when the time is right Ooooom” and, of course, not checking your watch (if you watch it, it will never boil).
Finally, after being offered coffee a couple times by one of the waitresses, we managed to get a seat at the bar. Not a bad spot, you always get a fresh and piping hot breakfast when you’re sitting at the bar and frankly that rocks.
I had made my mind up earlier that I would have the Ukranian “Break the Fast” as I am, in fact, a HUGE fan of Kielbasa and the idea of perogies smothered in sour cream for breakfast with runny yellow yolks from poached eggs was just WAY too appealing (yes also worthy of giving myself a heart attack, but remember, RUGBY the day before, I rationalized it). Zac tried to order their Seafood scramble but unfortunately they weren’t able to make it for him and he settled for a Cody Scramble.
The decor of Nellie’s is pretty consistent throughout all the restaurants I’ve been to. A mishmash of old toys and posters, slightly retro and slightly kitsch with a homey feeling. The bar at Nellie’s is as good as any, but ideally a table is SO much better. I always find that my legs are too long and my knees bump up on the bottom of the counter (oh the horrors when someone sticks there gum there), if you are tall you understand my pain/problems.
Our food was brought to us quite quickly and we both tucked in. Four perogies, two pieces of sour dough (toasted), 1 quarter of a kielbasa (fried), two poached eggs, hash browns and a side of sour cream. The effect of this food was exactly what I was looking for the poached eggs were oozingly good on top of the perogies and the kielbasa was just what it needed to be, a gloriously garlicky sausage. I thought the sour dough toast was a nice touch too, exactly what I wanted. My only complaints would be that the hash-browns and kielbasa hadn’t been fried for long enough, I really wanted that nice fried crunch that you get when you have fried food, but alas, it was not to be and it was still YUMMY.
I didn’t hear any complaints from my man so I’m assuming that the Cody scramble was indeed a success and worth a try. ALSO definitely try the pancakes, they look fantastic and HUGE. I’m getting one the next time I go; I’m usually into the savory for breakfast but my oh my the thickness and size of those pancakes made me wish I had ordered them!
The service we had here was good, probably the best I’ve had at a Nellie’s, I have a feeling that they put their best people on for Sundays, but that being said I have a feeling that if we weren’t at the bar we would have had a much slower breakfast, I wouldn’t have minded, but bear in mind that if you want something quick then it might be a good idea to go to McD’s or something that will give you something fast.
So Nellie’s a bit slow but definitely worth the wait, make sure you go on a Sunday, when they have to have their best people working.
738B – 17 Ave SW Online map
Mon-Fri 7:30AM – 3:30PM; Sat-Sun 8:00AM – 3:30PM