A few weekends ago while visiting my parents in Virginia Beach, my dad asked if I wanted to go out for breakfast. Since I run a brunch-focused blog, I obviously said yes. He then asked if I wanted to go Denny’s or a local place called Kim Café.
Hmm. Let me think about that one.
I should probably introduce here the fact that my dad is a health inspector, so he knows the owner of Kim Café, and since he is a health inspector, Kim Café must be a sanitary joint. We now proceed with that knowledge.
Due to the restaurant’s name and the fact my dad mentioned the owner is Korean, I imagined we were going to show up to a place decorated with palm trees, an outdoor patio, and breakfast-themed egg rolls. Not exactly what we found.
Kim Café is situated in a strip shop right off Virginia Beach Boulevard. In a strip shop that also houses “an adult novelty store” (fittingly called the Love Shack).
Me: “Is this the right place?”
Inside I did not find palm trees. Instead, it looks like a ‘70s diner in a small town. In fact, it looked a lot like this diner Sara took to me once in Connecticut that convinced me Connecticut has the best omelets in the nation, but this might be just me.
The front of the restaurant is a bar with stools where the cook prepares everything behind a tall counter and the back is composed of booths and tables with placemats dated to the ‘80s. Why do I say this? Because the placemats are either fun facts about the 50 states or popular cocktails including a Pink Lady, which is a drink that includes an egg white (I assume only Rocky Balboa orders these).
On that note, I’m not sure if Kim Café serves alcohol.
The food is why I came. Everything on the breakfast menu is under $10 and closer to $5 at that. I ordered a short stack of pancakes with ham and two eggs for $7.35. My dad asked for a BLT and fried egg on a bagel for $5.45. I could see they offered “authentic gyro sandwiches” for lunch from the table tent, but the lunch menu was otherwise separate from the breakfast menu, so who gave a hoot about it? (Maybe you, but certainly not me.)
Our server was a short Asian man (Korean from my dad’s knowledge) who is also the owner. He has owned Kim Café for almost 30 years. This is evidenced by the throwback décor and yellow walls (as in painted; they are not yellowing). The owner reminded me of a kind grandfather who would share sage wisdom and stories without boring you (not that a grandparent has ever bored me with their stories).
The owner’s wife appeared to be our cook. I’m not sure if they normally have other servers.
For this brunch, I remembered to take photos. I had to tell my dad to raise his arm so I could capture his bagel. He then made me tell the owner and his wife that I took and would be “sharing with all my followers.” Yes, Dad, all my followers; there are so many.
As you can see, my short stack came with bacon, not ham. But let’s be honest: I ordered ham because that sounded healthier, but I really wanted bacon, so I appreciated the mistake, and I’m pretty sure the staff - all two of them – would have corrected this in a heartbeat if I said something and probably let me still hang onto the artery-clogging bacon. (Except it couldn’t have been that artery-clogging, because yes, I am one of those people who pats their grease off with a napkin and not much came off.)
The eggs were, well, eggs. Delicious. The bacon was ohmigawd-so-good, but this is also coming from someone who normally abstains from bacon, but like, this bacon. And the pancakes: Mmmmmm. Super fluffy. Just the right amount. The whole plate was just the right amount. I was neither stuffed nor starved.
My dad’s bagel tasted great, too. He let me have a bite. (He also tried to offer me a whole quarter of it as if I didn’t have a plate already sitting in front of me. I told him he had already sacrificed enough by raising me.) But this is definitely a sandwich you could grab and go, which is something Kim Café offers.
Now here’s the twist:
The owner is trying to sell Kim Café.
He wants to retire. Cue my anguish.
Someone needs to gobble this place up and make sure they keep providing affordable, scrumptious brunch. Because I’m already planning on making my dad take me again on my next visit home.