'Best Breakfast USA': The Villa Coffee Houseby jmaloni
by Joshua Maloni
Stop the presses: The Villa Coffee House has added blueberries and chocolate chips to its signature thin and crisp pancakes!
"We did sort of violate one of Tom's rules, which was putting things into the pancakes," owner and chef Mike Loraine said. "That's a new addition. ... I think the chocolate chips are great."
Pancake variations notwithstanding, Loraine has basically kept the breakfast menu he inherited from Tom George when he purchased the restaurant last fall.
"Tommy George built the business, and he established the clientele," Loraine said. "When I came in, I didn't have any plans to make any particular changes, because it seemed like a successful formula."
In fact, The Villa is so popular that people will brave the harshest weather just to stop in for breakfast.
"I was actually very surprised that, even in the dead of winter - in the polar vortex - people would come down for that stack of pancakes," Loraine said. "People who get up in the morning and need something to eat, that's what we got. That's what we're here for. And it's stuff that fills you up and energizes you for the day."
Popular items: Mixed eggs, corned beef hash, pancakes and bagel sandwiches.
"The basic mixed eggs is just potatoes with some eggs," Loraine said. "But we have a variety ... of other ingredients that you can put in there. So you basically construct your own breakfast with all of the ingredients that you like the best. We have ham, bacon, sausage, cheese, all sorts of vegetables and so on. You can build it your way."
While the choices are numerous, Loraine said moderation makes the best mixed eggs.
"I understand the urge to put every kind of meat you can think of into one - you know, I'm a meat lover, too - but sometimes less is more," he said. "If you pick two or three, that's probably a better choice."
Chef's choice: A large ham, bacon, onion and cheese omelet.
"I think we do a pretty good omelet here," Loraine said.
Writer's choice: Bacon and egg bagel sandwich. Crisp bacon and fluffy eggs served inside a perfectly toasted bagel. It's simple yet superb. This grinder is on Lewiston's Mount Rushmore of sandwiches.
The Villa Coffee House is located at 769 Cayuga St., Lewiston. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.