El Dorado Country Maid Bakery & Cafe
I had a rare Sunday afternoon shift which meant J and I had time for breakfast. I have a few places on the west side of town I really would like to get to, but I’m saving those. I’ll fill you in on why sometime over the next month or so. Let’s just say SW Michigan Dining isn’t going anywhere for a while….
Anyway, back to today. I wanted to find someplace on the south side of town to eat. The place that popped in to my head was a little building on Portage Road. I couldn’t even tell J what the name of it was because I couldn’t remember. I’ve passed it several times and there are always cars there. I made a mental note that we really need to try the place. If the parking lot is always full, they must be doing something right.
Turns out, the name of the place is El Dorado Country Maid Bakery & Cafe. I don’t know too much about this history, but I’m told it used to just be a bakery. That makes sense because the place is very small.
Just like I figured, the parking area around the building was pretty full. We walked in to a sign that said “Please Wait to be Seated” so we entered the building and waited. Immediately to the left is the bakery part of the operation. They have display cases filled with deliciously sweet looking pastries and doughnuts.
A hostess grabbed a couple menus and told us to sit wherever. There were only a couple tables open in the tiny dining room. There was a four top near the door, but J thought it looked like it was too close to other tables. There was a large table in the back that we didn’t want to tie up. The final choice was a two top shoved in to the corner. That was the one she picked. It was an odd choice because two sides of the table were butted up against the wall. The other side is where the chairs were so we were both facing the wall when we sat down. It wasn’t a great choice, but better than the other two options.
As we sat down, the hostess took our drink orders and said a waitress would be right over. She was depending of your understanding of the word “right.” I thought we were being ignored. There were two waitress working the dining room. Neither of them acknowledged us. There were two more couples who sat down after we did who got orders in before anyone even came to us. Finally, one waitress asked the other if she was going to take care of us.
Since we had plenty of time to look over the menu, we were ready to order. It was pretty much lunch time, but it was also a Sunday. The only menu we were given was the breakfast menu. If we had been given a lunch menu, we may have both ordered off it. There are some really interesting looking items that may be enough for a return trip.
Since we were ordering breakfast, I went with the Meat Lovers Omelet. Three large eggs are filled with all of their breakfast meats. Bacon, sausage, ham, and cheddar cheese. When I say the omelet was filled with these ingredients what I really mean is it is overstuffed with these ingredients. There was way too much food on my plate and I didn’t have a chance in hell of finishing it. I did my best picking out as much of the bacon as I could. It was delicious and exactly what you expect an omelet to be. I had a choice of side with my breakfast and I went with white toast. These weren’t just ordinary pieces of sliced bread. They were thick cut pieces of home made bread that is toasted with a real butter spread. I made the choice to finish the toast and leave some of the omelet just because the bread was so good.
J jumped at a very unique item on the menu. The French Toast at El Dorado is made with one of their specialty rolls. She chose to have the Cinnamon Roll French toast which is made with home made cinnamon rolls that are dipped in a cinnamon custard and topped with pecans and their own hot syrup. She was a big fan of this particular French toast calling it one of the best breakfasts she’s had. Using Cinnamon Rolls for French toast is a crazy idea that was pulled off really well. She got a plate of bacon on the side, but wasn’t a huge fan of it. It was too “meaty” for her, so I ended up eating it.
Our bill was just a little over $17. You pay up at the bakery case so you’re tempted to buy something. I did my best to ignore everything that was in the case. I was worried it was going to be a cash only place, so I was glad to see they took credit cards. We probably could have scraped enough money up to pay for it, but it was a consideration I didn’t have until we had already ordered.
El Dorado is one of those little hidden surprises I love to find. I had a sneaking suspicion that this place might be something more than a greasy spoon. It seems to be a neighborhood staple. We even saw a couple kids come ride their bikes in to pick up some doughnuts. The only bad thing was we left smelling like smoke. Now, there was no one actually smoking in the building, but I would guess they didn’t do much cleaning after the ban went in. In that case, I’m very glad we waited until after the ban to track this place down. As small as it is, I don’t think we would have survived if smoking was allowed.