Why:Christine’s Restaurant is one Clark County eatery that has stood the test of time. The converted house became a restaurant in 1989 and changed ownership in 1999. Serving classic American breakfasts and lunches, Christine’s has a loyal following that reaches beyond its own neighborhood. That has helped sustain business in an age when getting the word out relies so heavily on Internet presence. A Facebook page with three photos and minimal traffic is the extent of the restaurant’s Internet participation; yet, its seats dependably fill up between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Atmosphere: The restaurant, a quaint, blue house with entry steps up the center leading to a single door, blends into the neighborhood. The inside has farmhouse appeal that shows its age. Wood floors are scratched and marred; doorways and windows are painted in a dark berry color that coordinates with the floral-and-fruit-patterned wallpaper (circa early 1990s) that covers most of the wall space; and the seating is well used. The atmosphere evokes an uncomplicated past, which I found comfortable and inviting.
What I tried: I settled on a half-order of the farm-style potatoes and a homemade caramel and nut roll. My dining companion had the special of the day, which was two sweet cream pancakes with an egg and two sausages. We both had orange juice and coffee.
Coffee was supplied immediately after we sat down, and juice and water arrived shortly thereafter.
I found the half order of the farm-style potatoes generous enough to satisfy my breakfast appetite, so I took the sweet roll home for later. The potatoes combine fresh-made hash browns, sliced and chopped ham, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers on the grill, and is then topped with sliced American cheese and smothered in homemade country gravy. The grill brought out the sweet flavors in the onion, ham and bell peppers, complimenting the other elements of the dish. It was not excessively greasy, and the gravy stayed appetizingly gravy-like instead of coagulating too much as it cooled.
The caramel nut roll was different than others I have had. Instead of pecans, the caramel topping incorporated chopped peanuts, which influenced the overall flavor of the roll. The roll was airy, loaded with cinnamon, and somewhat dry and crumbly.
My dining companion noted that the pancakes did not have a premix sort of flavor, which appealed to her, and they were not overly fluffy or dry. For anyone who prefers link-style sausage without casing, Christine’s will fit your criteria. The scrambled eggs were completely cooked, as is usually preferred.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Biscuits and gravy, omelettes, chicken-fried steak with two eggs, hash browns and toast, and oatmeal are among the breakfast options. Lunch items include salads, classic sandwiches, homemade soups and burgers. The Almighty Burger is a double cheeseburger stacked with all the fixings plus ham and eggs.
Other observations: Breakfast is served at lunchtime as well. Service is on-the-spot attentive, friendly, polite and adds a lot to the dining experience.
The food met our expectations. My dining companion and I left Christine’s feeling as though we had been invited and catered to.
Cost: The majority of breakfast and lunch items are under $10, with sides ranging from $1 to $4.25.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Where: 2626 E. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver.
Health score: Christine’s Restaurant received a score of 5 on Jan. 7. 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.