Dining Out: Breakfast with Greek flavor satisfies at St. John's

Welcoming cafe hits the mark with food, price, atmosphere

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photo The Greek omelet, center, and Wonder Hash Browns at the St. John's Cafe.

(/The Columbian)

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Why: If you grumble at the thought of those restaurants that stop serving breakfast at 11 a.m., you may be happy to learn St. John's Cafe will accommodate your breakfast appetite up until 2 p.m.

Owner Gajabar Sukaria opened the cafe 14 months ago with a menu that offers both Greek and American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Atmosphere: The cafe feels much like an old farmhouse. Surfaces are clean and tidy and there is not a cobweb to be found, but the acoustic popcorn ceiling and overall decor look as though it has remained mostly unchanged for quite a while, giving the cafe a somewhat nostalgic appeal.

Two main dining areas are comparable in size, with both booth and table dining. Large windows flank the street and entry sides of the cafe, allowing natural light in, and fluorescent fixtures provide additional light.

What I Tried: I chose the exclusive Greek omelet with potatoes, and my dining companion had the Wonder Hash Browns. Both of our selections were made-to-order fresh and arrived piping hot.

I ordered grilled, diced potatoes with my omelet instead of hash browns. Onions and green bell peppers were grilled and seasoned with the potatoes and they were topped with a dollop of tzatziki sauce, as was the omelet. I found the potatoes very tasty and a perfect accompaniment to the omelet. After having them, it's an easy choice between the hash browns and potatoes.

The Greek omelet is filled with gyros meat (combined beef & lamb), olives, and feta cheese. It was a delicious departure from an American omelet and the meat, similar in texture to sausage, was well suited to include in a breakfast dish. To complete the Greek breakfast, a plate of fresh, warm pita bread was served with the potatoes and omelet.

The Wonder Hash Browns begins with a layer of regular hash browns, browned on the exterior. The hash browns are then topped with diced ham, onions, bell pepper, tomato, cheddar cheese, country gravy, and two eggs (cooked to your specification). Toast is served alongside. This dish may be ordered in a half or full size. It was an all-in-one breakfast experience that satisfied my dining companion's hearty appetite. I was impressed with the absence of excess grease that is too often an evil of this type of combination.

Menu Highlights Beyond What I Tried: The country-fried steak comes with two eggs, hash browns, country and toast. You can also design your own omelet.

A mix of American and Greek choices includes dolma, chili-cheese fries, beef souvlaki, an Aloha Burger, a tzatziki sandwich and fish and chips.

Other Observations: Sukaria waits on diners with a welcoming, attentive attitude that truly makes one feel appreciated. The food exceeded my expectations and the portions are fairly priced and reasonably sized. I am looking forward to my next visit.

Cost: Breakfast items start at $3.49 and top out at $10.99. Sides are 99 cents to $3.99. Lunch and dinner items do not exceed $12.99, with most in the $4 to $9 range.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Happy hour is 2:30 to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Telephone: 360-735-7399

Online:http://facebook.com/StJohnsCafe.

Where: 4306 N.E. St. Johns Road, Vancouver.

Health Score: St. John's Cafe received a score of 12 on Dec. 14. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.