East Windsor, it seems, is a breakfast town. At least a half-dozen local diners and coffee shops serve up pancakes, eggs and bacon, and that doesn't even include the chains like Cracker Barrel and Friendly's.
Of the cabal of morning-meal experts, Stir the Pot is one of the most innovative, cranking out creatively inspired specials every weekend. Think bacon cheeseburger Benedict, peppermint Patty French toast, chocolate hazelnut waffles and Boston cream pancakes, to name a few recent highlights.
Set in a nondescript North Road strip mall, the restaurant's interior is classic country-kitchen décor, cheery and welcoming. The weekend's specials were listed on a blackboard in the lobby, but we'd already gotten the scoop the night before on Facebook. What'll it be, guys: Philly cheesesteak omelette, cannoli pancakes, the "triple maple wafflenator" with maple sausage and bacon baked inside or March Madness "breakfast" potato skins?
A "family favorite" omelet from the permanent menu, the Cajun Man's, caught my eye: a zesty blend of chorizo and pepperjack cheese with caramelized onions and roasted green peppers, topped with creamy Old Bay shrimp sauce, a handful of small shrimp and a drizzle of hot sauce. The heat from the spiced components was just enough, a slow burn with plenty of flavor layers. All of the "Eggstrordinary" omelets are served with home fries (on the bland side) and toast (the sourdough option is a nice touch, thick and buttery.)
From the inventive specials, we also sampled the bourbon peach cobbler French toast, with grilled peaches topping sweet griddled bread. A bourbon maple syrup tied it all together. My husband, a corned beef hash aficionado, pronounced Stir the Pot's housemade side dish excellent.
The menu features plenty of standard fare, should you want something simpler: "plain Jane" omelettes with cheese, bacon and vegetables; eggs any way with toast and home fries, waffles, pancakes, egg sandwiches. Egg dishes are $3.49 to $10.99; pancakes and waffles $5.49 to $8.99; sides $1.25 to $3.95.
Stir the Pot serves only breakfast on the weekends; lunch is available Monday through Friday with an array of salads, sandwiches and hot dogs. The "two handfuls" panini sandwiches are as filling as the name suggests, with thick garlic-toasted bread and a choice of steakburger, grilled chicken or fried chicken cutlet, pulled pork, brisket or Portobello mushrooms with assorted sauces and preparations. Add fries for an extra $1 if you wish, but the restaurant's perfectly seasoned housemade potato chips are treat enough – they're also sold by the bagful at nearby Broad Brook Brewing, in a genius pairing of local booze and snacks.
On Thursday nights, Stir the Pot opens for dinner, offering an all-you-can-eat pasta bar for $9.99 a head.
>>Stir the Pot, 142 North Road in East Windsor, is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Information: 860-386-6726, www.stir-the-pot.com.