The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Nook serves just regular breakfast to regulars

Tucked in between the brick storefronts that make up the Downtown Mall is the diner-like facade of the local breakfast joint, the Nook. Operating from the same location for over 50 years, the Nook maintains an ambiance of a time long past with rustic wood booths and a plain yet retro interior. Even the help rings of another era with their looks and no-nonsense mannerisms as they deliver cups of piping-hot Joe to the silver-haired regulars who fill many of the booths for morning breakfast.

Service at the Nook, in fact, does not come with a smile, but rather with a brusque bark. When service does come, it comes so quickly that diners wonder if they are truly welcome at all. Few students frequent the inner sanctum of the Nook and, perhaps, there are reasons for this. Perhaps they are not wanted. Or perhaps it is the food.

At the Nook, diners find themselves transported back in time. But in an age in which people prefer their food fresh, old sometimes comes across as stale. And there is little fresh about the Nook.

Cuisine-wise, breakfast offerings are fairly standard and the food standards are simply fair. There are eggs, scrambled for $1.50 or made into an omelet for $2.95. They can be westernized, mushroomed or hammed up and they are served with a choice of biscuit or toast and a hash brown.

Rather congealed in matter, the omelets do not stir in the plate or in the soul. They just aren't good. Lukewarm and rubbery and containing a high grease-quotient, the Nook's omelets bear little resemblance to the light, fluffy omelets of egg lovers' dreams. Although they are cheap, cheap does not necessarily connote "good." Protein can be better sought out elsewhere.

"Big Breakfast" meals try to do just that. They offer up eggs, but then go further by kicking in such protein packers as corn beef hash, sausage, ham or steak. Aesthetically and geometrically varied, these meat icons tantalize the eye but not the tongue. From the diced hash to the ovular sausages to the seemingly two-dimensional ham, whichever of these the diner chooses the end result is the same. Such animal-based items beef up an otherwise moderately sized breakfast, but do little more.

The Big Breakfast meals also incorporate sausage gravy, hash browns, biscuits or toast into their gala of gastronomy. Priced from $3.75 to $5.95, these meals are intended for the hearty eater who does not fear a little cholesterol kick.

But it is the biscuits that look as though they could use a kick, hockey puck-like as they are. And the mash-like hash warrants no culinary description as it does not seem to be a culinary derivative. Filling, but not fulfilling, the meal deals are bargains worth missing.

Slightly better are the pancakes. Between $3.75 and $4.75, pancakes are offered plain or can be had in such variations as banana nut, strawberries and cream, chocolate chip, blueberry or bacon. The blueberry pancakes aren't bad. But at the same time, they aren't great. Somewhat heavy but still flavorful, they are able to preserve the juiciness of the blueberries while still serving up nicely browned and warm pancakes. Topped with butter and syrup and served as a petite trio of palatable pillows, the pancakes make for a filling morning meal. And, in comparison to some of the other options on the menu, the Bisquick beauties really shine in the "edible" category.

Less enticing are the waffles. At $2.75 each, paper thin and bland, the waffles seem to be born of a bad frozen food variety rather than of a waffle iron or griddle. There are no echoes of "leggo my Eggo" here. After having tasted the Nook's interpretation of what is supposed to be the waffle, the diner will be inclined to pine for an Eggo.

Other options for breakfast at the Nook include cold cereal for $1.50, an English muffin for $0.95 and oatmeal for $1. Such things you could get at home - or at a dining hall. And perhaps you should. For although the Nook does have its regulars, the restaurant itself is just regular. The Nook does little to remind you that, in fact, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.