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Maple Counter Cafe

Walla Walla's home away from home

Sometimes you can't fight family destiny. Kory Nagler's grandparents had a restaurant in Chicago offering breakfast and lunch. His parents have The Oak Table Café in Sequim, serving breakfast and lunch. And now Kory and his wife have the Maple Counter Cafe, serving breakfast and lunch, in Walla Walla.

Kory at Maple Counter Cafe

You can look at their breakfast menu and see that you can get almost anything: omelettes, scrambles, Benedicts, pancakes, meat and eggs, skillets, French toast, porridge, yogurt parfait. Not so different from anywhere else. And this is where your first mistake is made (well, second, if you've been nearby and haven't gone in-that was your first).

Work starts early at the Cafe because chefs (including Executive Chef Kory) make their authentic batters from scratch-no mixes. They use unbleached, hard wheat flour, fresh eggs, real cream. Pancakes are light due to the old-school process of yeast handed down generation to generation. Omelettes are made French-style, finished in the oven. Butter is above USDA 93, the best. They render out "impurities" (salts and solids) and use the pure oil to baste eggs and cook other dishes. A special blend coffee is offered just for customers. Juices are fresh-squeezed in their kitchen daily. They also focus on locally-sourced ingredients, so you know you're getting fresh items without much of a footprint: locally-baked breads, fresh produce and meat from the Walla Walla area.

The variety is kind of astounding: omelettes include ham and cheddar, bacon and Swiss, Western, Mexican, Florentine, Dubliner, mushroom. There are five kinds of Benedicts, two special dishes--Eggs Nicole and Eggs Casey, and four scrambles. Pancake-wise, you can get buttermilk, blueberry, bacon, chocolate chip, apple and cinnamon, Georgia pecan, coconut, silver dollar, strawberry-granola, buckwheat, German, Danish Cherry, Swedish Flapjacks, or the ever-popular pigs in a blanket. There are also several flavors of syrup, all made in-house. Each dish is made to order.

One of their house specialties is the apple pancake, made like a soufflé, three inches high, filled with apples peeled and cut in their kitchen, and covered with a cinnamon glaze. Do not believe them when they say this is for one person (although there are numerous occasions every day when someone finishes it all by themselves). There's still more to choose from and breakfast is served all day.

Lunch is served Monday-Friday; weekends are breakfast only all the way. Lunch options are almost as plentiful as breakfast items: sandwiches (turkey, ham, veggie, Monte Cristo, BLT, grilled chicken-Thai, Cajun), deli, gourmet burgers, salads like their to-die-for Thai Chicken with a sweet/savory Thai peanut dressing, 10 house-made dressings to choose from, quiche, and then there are the homemade desserts. Of course, there is espresso, along with gluten-free toast and veggie sausage. They also offer wine, beer, and breakfast cocktails.

Maple Counter Cafe opened in November 2011, and it is a true family affair. Their two daughters, Nola and Neve, are often on site, and you may even be led to your table by the eldest (with a little help from Rachel). Interior space is large with dining areas on either side of the entry hallway. It has an old-fashioned feel to it with wood chairs and high ceilings. The hallway that leads to the restrooms holds family pictures, always fun to review.

While there is surely a pent-up demand for dinner, they're sticking to breakfast and lunch. They may do some pop-up dinners and small dinner events. There have always been requests for waffles, and in 2015 they started their Maple Counter Waffle Company truck (check their Facebook page for days/hours). Especially on weekends, the Cafe can have a line, so if you're craving a waffle and don't want to wait for breakfast, the truck is for you. They offer 10 sweet waffles, eight savory waffles, plus house chili made with locally raised and grass fed beef. They are planning on expanding the outdoor dining area for the truck.

When you're in Walla Walla, the Maple Counter Cafe is a must-visit spot. Whether you go in for breakfast or lunch, you're sure to be back for the other. It's an addictive, delicious experience.

 

Maple Counter Cafe
209 E Alder Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362
509-876-2527

maplecountercafe.com

Waffle Truck

205 E Alder Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362
509-520-2107

www.facebook.com/mcwaffleco

For more information, listen to our recorded interview with Kory at www.seattledining.com/show/, Walla Walla Special Editions, part 1.

Connie Adams/July 2016


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