AUBURN, WA: The Sun Break Cafe

Now that we've settled in the Seattle area, the search is on for great breakfast restaurants. Among the potentials I'm trying out, one has clearly made the cut: the Sun Break Cafe in Auburn.

Conveniently located a block from the Auburn Sound Transit terminal at 22 A St. SW, the Sun Break Cafe has earned a loyal following of commuters and locals alike ... and it's easy to see why.

The Sun Break Cafe is just your basic restaurant; nothing fancy, but not too spartan, either. The wait staff is young and energetic -- and as a result may lack some polish -- but that's part of the draw, as is the tongue-in-cheek notation on the menu that coffee is charged based on how long you sit there.

The other part is clearly the food.

Freshly prepared, the portions are quite generous. On my first visit, I had the potato pancakes -- and could only manage about half of the order! As you can see, there was plenty; too bad I was eating alone. And I thought I would be eating light by not ordering the chicken-fried steak.

On my next visit, I went for it: the "half-order" of the chicken fried steak proved to be more than enough to keep me going all the way until dinner (well, almost). It was prepared nicely, with a crunchy coating covering a tender piece of meat. Though it could have used a bit more pepper for my taste, that was easily remedied with the black pepper and Tabasco(C) on the table.

The coffee was also pretty good for a diner. Not Starbucks, but not the weak colored water so many places serve. And the staff is excellent at keeping your cup full.

The Sun Break Cafe is decidedly low-tech: wait staff write your order on a plain piece of paper for the kitchen to read (no computers here), then present that slip to you as your bill.

If you're alone, bring a newspaper; last time I was there they had no Wi-Fi, but that's not why you go to the Sun Break Cafe. It's for the food, and I have yet to be disappointed!

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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