The Takeaway: The Dandy Lion is as wholesome and versatile as breakfast itself

Chose Titus/Little Village

Breakfast is perhaps the humblest meal, but also one of the most universally loved. It can be eaten at any time of day and its most common components — eggs, some sort of bread or pastry, maybe a little meat — can be put together in innumerable ways, from a basic scrambled egg and toast to a perfectly poached egg resting on a homemade biscuit. No matter your level of skill in the kitchen you can probably put together a tasty breakfast. And when it comes to restaurants, both greasy spoons and high-end cafes can deliver the goods.

I love breakfast because it never disappoints, it’s affordable and it can be a truly wholesome and filling meal if you play your cards right. Often when I’m hungry but I don’t know what I want, I’ll check to see who offers breakfast all day.

Earlier this week, having woken up at 10 a.m., I didn’t get hungry until the weird, between-meals hour of 2 p.m. It was the perfect time to order breakfast. I looked to see who had breakfast at 2 on a weekday and landed on the Dandy Lion.

The Dandy Lion is already a favorite place of mine; I’ve taken my daughter there for lunch dates, stopped in for a golden latte or a glass of wine when hanging out downtown and been enticed by the specials listed on the chalkboard outside the door. The Dandy Lion is located in the Ped Mall in a space that formerly housed Forbidden Planet and before that, the Tobacco Bowl. It is co-owned by Tommy Connolly, who was also one of the owners of Forbidden Planet, and Lindsay Chastain, and opened in 2018 after the partnership behind Forbidden Planet dissolved.

The menu features everything from your standard stack of buttermilk pancakes to a charcuterie sandwich. The restaurant offers delivery for lunch and breakfast from 9-2:30 Monday through Friday, from 8-2:30 on Saturday and from 8-1:30. There is also a dinner menu available from 5-8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

This time, I was looking for something sufficiently hearty but not too heavy. I ordered the salmon toast, whose modest name belies its true nature. It was essentially an open-faced sandwich layered with smoked salmon, chèvre cheese and two poached eggs. It also came with a generous side of hashbrowns.

To say that it was tasty would be an understatement. This was one of those breakfasts that elevates the form. The flavors were delicious: the chèvre was mildly tangy and perfectly complimented the brine and salt of the salmon and it was also a harmonious marriage of textures. The thick slice of focaccia provided a sturdy base for the flaky salmon, crunchy radishes, creamy chèvre and poached eggs with perfect jammy yolks inside them. The hashbrowns were crunchy, salty and perfect for mopping up egg yolk that went astray. The whole meal literally melted in the mouth.

My partner ordered the chicken biscuit, which again was somewhat deceptively named as it was huge. It consisted of a breaded chicken thigh seasoned with hot sauce and maple syrup between two halves of a buttermilk biscuit. It was accompanied by hashbrowns and a couple orange slices. In the name of journalistic integrity, I took a few bites of this sandwich as well and it was every bit as delicious as my meal. The biscuit was flaky and the chicken was perfectly breaded and moist. The maple syrup/hot sauce combo was balanced and so, so tasty.

Both of our meals were so large that we were able to eat the leftovers for dinner later.

This was just another in a long chain of meals from the Dandy Lion that have exceeded my expectations. We will undoubtedly be getting takeout from them again while we’re spending all our time at home (I’ve got my eye on that dinner menu) and we have it on the calendar for a post-COVID date night. With great ingredients that are deftly executed, the Dandy Lion absolutely lives up to its clever moniker.

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