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Scrumptious Sundays

Breakfast at Poor Richard's, dinner at J's

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Andre Perkins says he learned to cook from his mother and grandmother in Greenwood, Miss. - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • Andre Perkins says he learned to cook from his mother and grandmother in Greenwood, Miss.

My mother always said Sunday should be a day of rest. For her, that meant getting up early, dressing four kids for church, coming home, feeding everybody, taking a nap, writing letters in the late afternoon and cooking dinner for everyone that night.

I took her at her word. I can be as lazy as my 17-year-old sons on Sunday, waking, pulling a few weeds in the garden, reading, then sleeping more. When the weather's warm, I might work a few hours in the yard, but you won't catch me cooking.

That's why I was delighted when I heard: 1) Poor Richard's would begin serving breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings; and 2) Andre Perkins was back at J's Restaurant with his Super Southern Sunday.

Breakfast at Poor Richard's is quiet and pleasant, marked by good music, good coffee, a friendly wait staff and an imaginative, affordable menu. In keeping with the restaurant's healthful mission, eggs are cage free and farm fresh, potatoes are organically grown, the bacon is extra-lean, and you can choose a meatless sausage patty. There's wheat-free whole grain granola and French toast, low-carb bread and French toast, a tofu scramble over steamed veggies, and soy milk on request.

My favorite dishes are the breakfast grills -- eggs cooked to order, served over potatoes roasted with olive oil, seasoned and garnished to match a theme. The Santa Fe Mixed Grill ($6.25) includes a layer of black beans, is smothered with a tangy vegetarian green chili, and is topped with your choice of melted cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I found it tasty and ample but not overly filling. The Ham & Cheese Mixed Grill starts with potatoes and eggs and is delicately flavored with salty chunks of ham and sweet, sauted red onions and bell pepper.

Those with a breakfast sweet tooth will enjoy the pancake selection -- blueberry, raspberry, chocolate chip or walnut raisin available as buttermilk, wheat or dairy-free oatmeal cakes, all served with real maple syrup and butter ($4.75). I tried the Cranberry-Almond Swirl French Toast ($4.75), made with sturdy whole-wheat bread. Chewy pieces of dried cranberry provide a nice tang and texture, and the almonds add a nice crunch.

Breakfast at Richard's is my new favorite way to spend early Sundays, followed by a vigorous reading of the Sunday papers and a nap in the hammock. When my sons finally emerge from their caves about mid-afternoon, they're hungry for grub and J's Super Southern Sunday beckons.

This was a ritual we enjoyed a few years back when Andre Perkins ran the little diner in front of J's Motel. Perkins left for a couple of years and came back when the motel took on new management and improved the kitchen. Now, he serves hearty breakfasts seven days a week (try the pork chops and eggs or chorizo and eggs, with grits); lunch six days a week; and late afternoon/early evening dinner every day, including all-you-can-eat barbecued ribs on Wednesday nights, all-you-can-eat fried, cornmeal-battered catfish on Fridays, and a Southern feast from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

A hand-drawn poster board displays the choices: Fried chicken, catfish, ribs, hot links, collard greens, potato salad, baked beans, black-eyed peas, yams, green beans, cole slaw, mashed potatoes with gravy, cornbread, sweet potato pie, blackberry cobbler, peach cobbler, apple pie, cherry pie, ice cream. (You can get small portions of everything, if you choose, on the sampler plate.)

Order what you want, then ask for more for $10.95. My sons and I pull in at 3 or so and linger until 4:30 in the warm, lively atmosphere that sounds and feels like a raucous family dinner around the kitchen table. The fried chicken is the best we've had anywhere in Colorado Springs -- crisp, cooked so hot it's not too greasy on the outside and drips off the bones on the inside. I generally skip the other side dishes for a big pile of collards -- perfectly prepared, not too smoky, not greasy, tender, full flavored (pour on some white vinegar for the full effect).

If we could leave you with two pieces of advice they would be: blackberry cobbler (sugary dark juice, soft berries, buttery crust) and sweet potato pie (mmmmmmm).

Eat your dessert, then go home and rest.

-- Kathryn Eastburn

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Poor Richard's Restaurant

324 1/2 N. Tejon St.

Open 7 days. Breakfast served Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon; Lunch/Dinner, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.

632-7721

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J's Restaurant

818 N. Nevada Ave. (in front of J's Motel)

Open 7 days. Breakfast, 7-11 a.m., daily; Lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; Dinner, 4-8 p.m., Monday through Friday, all-you-can-eat ribs Wednesday; all-you-can-eat catfish Friday; Super Southern Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

520-5095

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