The sleek, the charming and the traditional: Breakfast in Provo

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Everybody has heard it: the most important meal of the day is breakfast. And as such, breakfast has acquired a pretty large fan-base. Among the many restaurants that offer the popular meal in Provo, here are three that show there is something for everyone.

Communal: The Sleek

Outside of Communal, located in historic downtown Provo, a sign stands on Saturdays reading “Breakfast. Yes, breakfast.” It’s no surprise the restaurant feels the need to advertise the occasion since they are commonly known for elaborate lunches and dinners. But Saturday brunch at Communal is a must with its trendy and sleek ambiance, friendly workers and delicious food.

[easyembed field=”Photogallery”]Casey Bulkley, who has worked in fine cuisine in cities like San Francisco, Salt Lake and Park City, said he didn’t think Utah County showed the potential for serious restaurateurs.

“I was convinced I couldn’t have a career in the industry in Utah because it just wasn’t the time,” Bulkley said.

But Bulkley sensed things were changing with the opening of Pizzeria 712.

“I know the two owners of [Pizzeria 712], Colton and Joseph, and they were starting to do something in Utah County and I thought that’s wonderful and that’s exciting, but it’s so hard to make a living in Utah County,” Bulkely said. “Five years later, they have a restaurant group that is probably quickly becoming the largest restaurant group in Utah and nobody knows about it yet.”

Heirloom, the restaurant group Bulkley speaks of, is headquartered just a few blocks from Communal. With restaurants Pizzeria 712, Communal and Mountain West Burrito, Heirloom is growing in popularity and status as the self-proclaimed place “where food and community meet.”

And as part of this flourishing restaurant group, Communal has even gained the attention of The New York Times in a recent article covering a “new generation” of Mormon food.

Attention like this supports Bulkley’s statement that something special is changing in Utah County’s relationship with food and restaurants.

“Look at what happened while people had their backs turned,” he said. “There are a lot of people in Salt Lake trying to get to this size, and they would scoff at Utah County, but people will start hearing Heirloom a lot.”

Communal offers traditional meals with a contemporary twist. Eggs with tomato and chorizo, spinach potato pancakes and weekly specials like caramelized grapefruit, can all be found on the menu. And with their talented chefs and cozy, posh atmosphere, breakfast at Communal is a great way to start a Saturday. Communal is at 102 N. University Ave.

The Awful Waffle: The Charming

As a BYU student there is almost no reason not to stop by Provo’s recent college hot-spot, The Awful Waffle.

Located just south of campus, the restaurant space is made of a tiny indoor kitchen and a parking lot where customers dine outdoors. Even in the frigid months of winter, people keep coming. The size of the place adds to the charm of the trending restaurant, as it establishes itself as the no-fuss, friendly location to grab a delicious snack.

Ashley Wakefield, co-owner of The Awful Waffle with her husband, said the restaurant truly strives to bring community to the Provo life.

“Provo has such potential to be a college town, and not just a place to go to school,” she said.

And with experience from her husband’s LDS mission to France and Belgium, the couple’s internship in Brussels and traveling throughout Europe, The Awful Waffle is prepared to meet the challenge.

“We’re truly authentic through and through,” Wakefield said when discussing their European equipment and century-old crepe recipe.

Martha Davidson, a junior in advertising, began working at The Awful Waffle fall semester and loves the social and community atmosphere her job offers.

“We’re like a family here,” Davidson said.

Both Wakefield and Davidson agree The Awful Waffle provides a trendy atmosphere, without the pomp and pretense that normally terrifies customers away. Instead the friendly customers support the restaurant where trend and tradition keep customers coming back for more.

The Awful Waffle’s dough is made fresh daily and can include toppings like fresh fruit, Nutella, peanut  butter or house-made vanilla whipped cream. The cafe is also now offering savory crepes stuffed with eggs and cheese, pulled pork or pesto chicken. Fresh, homemade treats like these can provide a solution to almost any craving. The restaurant opens early and closes late and is at 815 N. 700 East.

Nate’s Diner: The Traditional

With new places often appearing in Provo, Nate’s Diner offers a long-standing, old-fashioned tradition of good food and service. As people walk in, servers greet them by name and know what their “usual” will be.

Nina Whitman, kitchen manager at the diner, said even from the kitchen she can tell who’s come into the diner by their order. Whitman explained why she thinks these regulars come back on a consistent basis.

“The workers, they love to come see us, the biscuits and gravy and just the food,” she said. “They know they can come in here and get good service and be in and out of here quick.”

Lisa Brockbank, manager of Nate’s, agreed the restaurant has done something right in order to keep people coming.

“These people have been coming here forever and ever and ever, just kind of our regular people that come every single day,” Brockbank said.

Justin Larsen, one of the diner’s younger regulars, has been coming to the place since he was little. He recognizes the tight-knit atmosphere of the place, but also thinks Nate’s has something unique to offer to the community as one of the last standing, traditional-style eateries.

“This place is one of the few real diners left,” Larsen said.

Larsen’s personal favorite on the menu is the Denver omelet, but the biscuits and gravy are what keep many customers loyal to the diner, and traditional homemade items like french toast and ham and eggs are almost are comparable to what is served up at home.

Nate’s Diner is at 170 W. 300 South.

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