Comforting Classics

Saturday Brunch at Ted’s Restaurant is a fulfilling, family feast.

By Jan Walsh

Entering Ted’s is like going back home. Blue and white dishes are displayed above a sideboard adorned with Touloupis’ family photos. Owners, Tasos and Beba Touloupis spot us and warmly greet and seat us.. And a feeling of deja vu falls over me… Ted’s Restaurant always takes me back to my grandmother’s farmhouse, where she would keep the gas stove on and biscuits warm until I woke. Then I would warm up to the open stove, in my pajamas, while eating a buttered biscuit with her homemade blackberry preserves.

Next, Oneonta Mayor and dear friend, Richard Phillips walks in the door. He is here to meet Kev and me at Ted’s Restaurant for early brunch. We settle into a window booth, where Richard pulls up a chair. Coffee for Richard, a mimosa for Kev, and mimosa (minus the juice) for me. And we pair our beverages with an order of Biscuit and Gravy to share, while we look over the menu. Our server asks if we want sausage on top. Why not? The expansive menu is divided among eggs and omelettes, specialties, breakfast bowls, and griddle classics. Every member of their family contributes to keeping the restaurant novel, without losing its charm and tradition. The Touloupis’ son, John loves bowls and encouraged the breakfast bowls section. Daughter, Mary Catherine and Beba selected the new tableware, which looks like my grandmother’s china, bone in color with gold rim.

Richard selects the classic, Ted’s Southern Breakfast, and narrows its offerings to two eggs scrambled, applewood smoked bacon, grits, and biscuit. The eggs are bursting with farm freshness, the bacon is cooked to perfection. The white, stone-ground grits are just like my grandmother’s, as are the golden biscuits. And as an extra side he orders Ted’s Fluffy Pancake. One of the best pancakes ever—just enough crisp on the outside, light and fluffy inside... I will order it next time.

At first glance Kev finds an omelette that has his name on it, Philly Cheesesteak Omelette! He grew up on these cheesesteaks in Pennsylvania, so he is forever craving one—but not always happy with Southern versions. But in an omelette? Kev thinks it is a great and unique idea, of the Touloupis’ son, Alexios, who is the brainchild behind the Philly omelette. This large provolone cheese omelette is crowned with traditional, shaved, tender beef, sauteed onions, and more cheese—all melded into the Philly steak style omelette. And the first bite proves him right. Kev describes it as tasting just like an authentic Philly, yet made lighter by the egg rather than bread. Found right here, among the classics, in this Southern kitchen!

I opt for the Belgian Waffles. They are accompanied by my choice meat: bacon, pork sausage, or chicken sausage. I request fruit rather than meat, which they happily substitute. In addition to the protein side offerings, Ted’s waffles are also available with fried chicken in both their Chicken and Waffles and Hot Chicken and Waffles. My four thick, golden Belgian Waffles arrive warm with fresh, locally in season strawberries, whipped cream, butter, and maple syrup. As the butter melts onto the hot waffles, I slather them with strawberries and cream and drizzle maple syrup over it all. The toppings drip down into the deep pockets of each waffle. And the firmness of the outer crust stands up to the toppings without getting soggy. As the creamy, fruity, syrupy toppings intermingle with the airy, puffy insides, the flavors conjure memories of strawberry trifles, only better, as their buttery yeastiness shine through. Highly recommended!

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