This little gem is going to be the talk of the town.
I've learned two things while doing these food reviews. There are really talented chefs in the Valley and expect the unexpected. These things both ring true with Margie's Kitchen in Boardman.
Located in a small plaza across from St. E's Hospital on Market Street, this little gem is going to be the talk of the town. Open every day for breakfast and lunch, the quaint dining room is a place where regulars are coming daily, and the lunch hour bustles with carry out orders from local businesses. I expected this to be a little carry out place but when I walked in I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice sized dining room and a lunch counter toward the kitchen that I love.
I met with Executive Chef Mike Niles who welcomed me with a proud smile and began to line up plate after plate after plate of beautiful food on the counter. My jaw dropped and my mouth began to water. I did not expect this.
"We make everything from scratch to order", Mike told me. "We use real butter, good olive oil. I'm very picky about what I use." As I looked down the row of plates, I sat at the beginning and just moved from chair to chair sampling everything bite after bite.
I don't review breakfast food often. In fact, this may be my first breakfast food review. I love breakfast and I love the fact that at Margie's, they serve breakfast all day. My fork pulled me toward the Veggie Omelette. A 3-egg giant, stuffed with sauteed mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli rabe and white American cheese. It's then topped with Monterey Jack cheese and served with real home fries and toast. One bite and I knew this was the real deal. The flavors were amazing. I asked Mike why broccoli rabe? His reply was simple. "Because it's good." He's right. The veggies are cooked perfectly and it's the white American cheese that makes this so unique. I've eaten my share of omelettes and have made many "everything in the fridge" omelettes as well, but this one, it just doesn't get any better than this. I would've sat and ate the whole thing but there was bacon on the plate next to me calling my name. As I reached for a crispy slice, Mike told me that before Margie's opened, they spent a whole day tasting different bacons and sausages until they decided on which they would serve. (I thought I had the dream job!) The bacon is pecan wood smoked, very meaty, and delicious. The sausage links are just as good. Plump spicy links go perfectly with everything on the menu including The Margie, a popular breakfast choice. It gives you a bit of everything, with a few variations. My Margie had two eggs, two pieces of French toast, home fries, bacon and sausage. You normally just get your choice of bacon, sausage or ham but I think Mike was trying to impress me. What he didn't know is I was already impressed with my first bite on the last plate. Could it get any better? Yes, yes, and yes. The French toast needs no additional butter or syrup. It's that good in its pure state. Sweet, light, golden brown. There a secret in there that you will not find anywhere else. Really. It's a secret. Mike puts it in the pancakes, the french toast and the Belgian waffles. Only he has the recipe and he's not sharing it which is ok with me as long as I get to eat it. You know food is good when the chef himself eats there. As I was raving over my double stack of pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream, Mike said his absolute favorite thing on the menu is the Pancake Sandwich. What? Yes. A Pancake Sandwich. Two pancakes, fried eggs, white American cheese, and bacon, sausage or ham. I just might have to try that on my next visit. I love these pancakes. They're cooked with just long enough for the edges to get the slightest crisp and inside they're light and delicious.
One of my favorite dishes, was also in my opinion, the most beautiful. Polachinka. Two Croatian style crepes are filled with a sweet cheese filling, placed on a strawberry drizzled plate, topped with fresh berries and whipped cream. I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. And I must confess. I took leftovers home and finished them before going to bed. A perfectly satisfying, late night snack. I don't think I could eat at Margie's without ordering this dish.
The breakfasts were amazing but the clock was ticking and there were lunch plates to my right. I slid to the next chair facing Margie's Burger. By now, you've probably figured out that this isn't going to be just an ordinary burger. A fresh ciabatta bun is layered with two beef patties, cheese, a fried egg, fresh tomato and lettuce. I could barely get my mouth around it but gave it a good squeeze and managed a big bite. What a great sandwich. Two more sandwiches were sampled; The Club and the Italian Sub. The Club is massive. Three thick slices of Italian bread layered with ham, turkey, pecan smoked bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato. I thought the Margie Burger was big but this one I really couldn't get it all in one bite. The Italian Sub is just as good. It's a big hoagie roll grilled with ham, salami, pepperoni and cheese and topped with fresh tomato lettuce and a yummy sweet Italian dressing. Everything is packed with flavor. The meats, cheeses, bread and veggies are so fresh and according to Mike, "no shortcuts". All sandwiches come with a side. I tried them all. Pasta salad with chunks of cheese, creamy cole slaw, kettle chips and my absolute favorite, potato salad. This potato salad is made with both white and sweet potatoes, bacon and onion. I told Mike I would come work with him just to learn how to make it. It's that good. Sweet potatoes. Really? I won't even try to copy this one because I know I could never make it taste like this.
There are also several salads to choose from. You won't find bagged lettuce in Margie's Kitchen. I tried the Chopped Salad. A beautiful bed of crisp, chopped Romaine lettuce is topped with perfectly placed rows of chopped tomato, english cucumbers, bleu cheese, hard boiled egg and bacon. Served with a homemade white balsamic dressing it's almost too pretty to eat. My first bite was with no dressing. I wanted to taste the freshness of everything. I could actually eat this whole salad this way but one taste of that dressing and it was over. Mike tells me it's a favorite with all the car dealers and I can see why. It's also a favorite with me. Seems I have found a lot of favorites here at Margie's.
Rarely do you find a chef that no only prepares great food, but can also bake. Mike has been baking as long as he can remember and presented me with bread pudding and tiramisu. Made here? Yes. From scratch. By Mike. Again, beautiful plating, fresh, and absolutely delicious. The bread pudding is moist and the perfect sweet bite. Wonderful flavors dressed with a chocolate drizzle. The tiramisu is popular and just as good as you'll find anywhere else if not better. This Italian layered favorite is sure to "make you happy". You get flavors of coffee soaked cake, sweet cheese filling and cocoa. Mike will always have something sweet including everything from fresh baked pies to homemade Cinnamon Rolls on Saturday mornings.
Since eating at Margie's Kitchen, I have not stopped talking about it and I can't wait to go back again. The hard part will be deciding what to eat. Do I go with a favorite or try something new? Whatever I decide on, I know there will be Polachinka to go for my late night snack!