by Jessica Grajczyk
As a breakfast expert, whenever I travel, it is my duty to try the quirkiest, kitschiest, most-loved-by-locals, non-franchised restaurant in which to enjoy breakfast and report back to you. I do this so you don’t have to strain your fingers by performing a pesky Google search looking for somewhere to fuel up in the morning on your road trip. I’m sure the iPhone has some neat application that detects the nearest bacon frying, but just trust me on this one.
Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly have any more reasons to drive to Bellingham, I have another worthy attraction to seal the deal. Just over a year ago my roommate and I and our tattooed friend with a skull on the dash of his Dodge Magnum (perfect for a goth soccer mom) thought we’d take a little drive over the border and do some outlet shopping (the dollar was better at the time). We did some lengthy online research and decided that our first stop in the state of Washington would be at the Little Cheerful Café on East Holly Street in Bellingham. To be honest, it was the name that really made us want to go to the restaurant. They don’t even have a website, so it was kind of a shot in the dark. Sometimes we like to fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to breakfast. We go on blind breakfast dates and jump on the grenade so you don’t have to.
When we arrived at the Little Cheerful Cafe, we knew our instincts were righteous.
It looks like a hand-painted, life-sized wooden mermaid threw a bunch of rainbows all over the place. Papier mache, macramé, decoupage, appliqué, pterodactyl kites, a canoe frame, Christmas lights, bright original paintings on the wall for sale – it’s all very ‘sunny side up’ and apropos for a breakfast restaurant. The menu is enhanced with lots of corny jokes and self-deprecating humour like ‘same day service guaranteed’, and ‘if you don’t eat here, who will?’
Jokes aside, the Little Cheerful is serious about breakfast. Their signature hash browns come in a variety of delicious concoctions like the Multicultural with red onions, red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, avocado, pico de gallo salsa, jack and feta cheese. If you’re feeling fancy you can have the Rose Omelet with brie, sliced apple and sundried tomato. Or you can do as the Romans do and have the Biscuits and Gravy. I’ve always been puzzled by some of the staples in the American diet (I mean, chicken and waffles?) Prices range from $4.95 for a basic two-egg breakfast to $11.95 for a fancy omelet. They serve AgriBay organic coffee and have an impressive selection of hot sauce.
I was so impressed by the quality and tastiness of the food and the friendly service at the Little Cheerful that I make a point to stop there every time I cross the border and have been three times since my first trip. Keep in mind however that they do not do separate checks, instead offering a calculator and the wise words ‘if you can’t trust your friends, meet them at Starbucks’, which is conveniently just across the street. Don’t forget to grab a Tootsie Pop on your way out.
The Little Cheerful Café
311 East Holly Street, Bellingham, WA
7am to 2pm, 7 days a week