Our Sunday morning breakfast group chose to dine at Knapp’s Restaurant in the Proctor District. I was so excited. They have long been a favorite restaurant for breakfast. Their hash browns were my ideal: dark brown and crispy. They had great bacon and sausage served with excellent toast and lots of Smucker’s jam/jelly choices. Their gravy was thick and flavorful. It was the ideal mid-America diner for both breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With all of the new apartments and condos business should be booming. However, things have changed. Knapp’s has changed. It’s not a good change.
Everyone that ordered hash browns either gave no indication of how they wanted them cooked except for two who asked for crispy. I of course asked for my usual hash brown request: burnt, burnt, burnt . . . with an onion cut up in them. The delivered hash browns around the table all looked exactly the same. I had a small amount of hash browns mixed with onions placed on top of my hash browns. The hash browns where thin and had very little flavor, much like the chicken apple sausage links. I could have sent my hash browns back, but we had already waited longer than we thought we should have. My friends joked that it was because I asked for burnt, burnt, burnt. Knapp’s was not busy. In our dining room there were two other parties of two or three people.
My wife Peg asked for berries to eat with her scrambled eggs as a substitution for toast. They was never delivered. The scrambled eggs were like everything else on our order. Zero flavor.
I asked for a cup of SOS for my hash browns and toast. Everything seemed to be missing salt and pepper or butter. The toast had a spread, but the slices seemed thin. My SOS? SOS should have either hamburger or sausage mixed with fried onions in a white roux of flour, salt, pepper, and milk. Personally, I would add a little garlic powder or smoky paprika. Whomever made the gravy either used a basic add-liquid mix or forgot to add the meat. Picture a good biscuits and gravy breakfast . . . and take out the pieces of meat, the hint of frying pan color, basic spices . . . and thin it down . . . and you have the gravy I was served from Knapp’s. It tasted like slightly thick milk with an occasional lump.
When we got home, Peg took her dry left-over scrambled eggs and tasteless hash browns, added them to a pan with a small pat of butter, and started adding the essentials for taste: salt, pepper, a smidgen of garlic powder, a shake of paprika, and a sprinkling of dried thyme. She said everything tasted 100% better. Our breakfasts at Knapp’s smacked of cheap, which is a little strange when we had no coffee, but received an invoice for just under $30, plus tip. My toast came with one packet of raspberry jam.
Empty restaurant tables in an affluent shopping district that has hundreds and hundreds of condo/apartment people living just across the street is not a good sign. Knapp’s should read the writing on the wall . . . or at least re-read some of their old recipes.