As I’ve said before on this blog, there are very few restaurants that I think are worth visiting for brunch. The wait is usually long, the options are usually overpriced and most don’t taste as good as what you can make at home. But, not only would I go to brunch at McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods Cafe in
Westchester Dutchess County (thanks to a reader for correcting this), I would also go there for lunch, dinner or an afternoon snack.
The restaurant is a favorite of Empanada Boy’s aunt Spanikopita and his uncle Iceberg, and for good reason. It’s warm, comfortable, makes delicious food and has reasonable prices. Located in the middle of town in Pawling, the front door opens into a bakery where delicious cookies and pastries are sold for take out or a quick bite. The main dining room has solid brick walls and equally solid antique wooden booths. The menu consists of well-made classics like omelets, French toast, fish and chips, lamb curry, grilled pork tenderloin, duck breast, calves liver, haddock and more.
EB and I have been there at least twice for dinner and twice for brunch. The first time we were there, we were chatting at the table when we heard a powerful and strangely familiar voice behind us. We glanced over at the nearby table and saw none other than James Earl Jones himself. He apparently lives in the area, and like many people, frequents Fine Foods. It’s a true neighborhood place, but it also happens to serve great food.
The last time we were there, EB’s cousin Vegemite was visiting from Australia with her husband and two young sons. We all piled into the big booth near one window. The kids ordered delicious banana nut pancakes and eggs and toast, while Spanikopita and Vegemite veered toward lunch with the salmon salad. Iceberg ordered what he always does: the Smokehouse omelet made with hickory smoked bacon, peppers, onions and cheddar cheese, served with hash browns and onions. EB went for the chorizo omelet with potatoes, and Vegemite’s husband Biscuit ordered another omelet. I got “Judge Malone’s Corned Beef Hash”—something I could never make at home— served it a skillet with fried eggs and toast.
While not quite at the level of O’Rourke’s, which serves my favorite corned beef hash in all the world, this was a crispy, fatty treat. I stabbed the egg and let the yolk run over the hash and sopped it all up with bread. Could there be any better meal to start a day? The omelets were all delicious and vibrant, and those pancakes were phenomenal. The little guy who ordered them loved them so much that he sat there long after the rest of us had stuffed ourselves silly to finish every last bite of the thick, fluffy short stack. Yes, this food is that good.
McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods Cafe
10 Charles Colman Blvd.
Pawling, NY 12564