Dining Out: Billygan's serves breakfast without the wait

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Why: If your idea of a relaxing weekend means an early breakfast out without any wait time, you might want to consider breakfast at Billygan's Roadhouse. The restaurant is a popular spot for many who seek a Midwest-style atmosphere with a meat-and-potato type of menu. With a wait almost guaranteed at nearby Biscuits on the weekend, Billygan's offers breakfast as well, and plenty of seating to accommodate a large crowd.

Atmosphere: Subdued lighting, minimal natural light, and dark surfaces create the foundation for the unique roadhouse décor that incorporates an array of neon signs on the walls. Seating consists of tables and chairs on the open floor and rows of booths, which have been placed on platforms elevated above floor level. A large banquet room is located on the south end of the restaurant; the north end of the restaurant allows for a more intimate dining experience. And what would a roadhouse be without peanut shells on the floor? The experience of munching on peanuts and discarding the shells on the floor is part of every meal.

What I tried: I stopped in on a recent Sunday for breakfast and was happy to be seated right away. I decided on the Roadhouse Breakfast, which consists of Billygan's Potatoes or hash browns; two eggs; two slices of bacon or two sausages; two pancakes or French toast, or a biscuit & gravy. I chose the potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon and French toast.

Billygan's Potatoes are seasoned and deep-fried to a golden finish. If you are a fan of McDonald's hash browns, you will likely find Billygan's Potatoes agreeable in flavor — although they are cubed, they reminded me of them in terms of flavor. Beyond the crisp exterior, I found the interior texture a bit dry.

The bacon was lean and crispy, brown in appearance and soft to chew.

The eggs were a large two-egg portion, well-scrambled and fully cooked, without any slimy areas. Salt and pepper is left off for diners to add at their discretion.

The Texas-style French toast at Billygan's is tasty. The egg-dipped bread is topped with enough margarine to cover both pieces. A small container of warm syrup accompanies the toast. Though the French toast hasn't arrived at greatness, it does have potential. If it were served with real butter and real maple syrup (the latter, unfortunately, is cost-prohibitive), it would be something I would return for.

Coffee at Billygan's is Seattle's Best. If you drink yours straight, you won't mind that the cream available is actually Classic Original from International Delight.

My breakfast experience at Billygan's had its high and low points. As I considered this, I thought it ironically positioned between what I consider to be the least and most favorable breakfast dining options in the Salmon Creek area.

Menu Highlights Beyond what I tried: Both the Billygan's Omelet (made with avocado, jack cheese, tomatoes and salsa), as well as the Veggie Omelet (made with green and red peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and Swiss cheese) sounded good to me.

Other Observations: There was no wait time on my visit, service was prompt and my order arrived quickly.

The wait staff was friendly and attentive.

The one-page breakfast menu goes no further than the basics one expects to find.

Cost: The signature Roadhouse Breakfast is $8.99. A traditional two-egg breakfast served with either Billygan's potatoes or hash browns is $6.99; add four slices of bacon or sausage for $8.49. Pancakes, French toast and waffles are $3.99 to $5.99; strawberries are an additional $1.49. Signature Platters come with two eggs and include a bone-in ham, hamburger patty, country-fried steak or a 6-ounce sirloin for $8.49 to $10.49. Omelets are served with potatoes and cost $8.29 to $8.49, plus .99 for meat. A Lite Side category offers smaller portions for 3.99 to $5.99. Sides include oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar for $3.99.

Hours: Breakfast is served 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. Billygan's is open until 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday. Happy Hour is all day on Sunday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close Monday through Saturday.

Where: 13200 N.E. Highway 99, Vancouver

Telephone: 360-573-2711

Health Score: Billygans Roadhouse received a score of 5 on March 22. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.