Big Bad Breakfast wows diners with big portions, great food

Big Bad Breakfast isn’t that big – it’s not exactly cozy, but you can see pretty much the entire restaurant from any vantage point. And it’s certainly not too bad – we wouldn’t say the food is great, but it’s decent, and you get very large portions for what might otherwise be high prices.

And as a new chain (well, it’s actually a franchise, but that’s the semantics) in this market, it’s full on weekends. And crowded on summer weekdays. With 30-90 minute waits for a table, even outside in what, by mid-morning, was still oppressively hot.

Although single diners and small groups can get an almost immediate seat at the bar. This is how we came across, over a few visits, the Big Bad Breakfast brunch.

It’s good to have goals in life. Our goal is, eventually, once things have calmed down a bit at the Big Bad Breakfast, to be able to sit at a table like normal customers.

The Big Bad Breakfast plate gives the customer two eggs in any style they choose; choice of meat for breakfast (we chose ham); choice of bread (toast); and a side dish (we chose a fruit cup of berries and watermelon). (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison) Ben Brainard, formerly of Yellow Rock Concepts, is the local franchise co-owner of Big Bad Breakfast, a Birmingham, Alabama-based chain featuring a Southern-style breakfast-brunch menu created by award-winning chef James Beard, John Currence. .

The space is a former Arvest Bank building which BBB shares, at least for now, with a David’s Burgers outlet, which makes parking and traffic on weekdays and Saturdays a little difficult. (David’s Burgers are said to be planning to move across the street to a new building in a mall parking lot.)

You’ll see General Manager Heinz Kurt, who ran Yellow Rocket’s ZaZa Fine Salad & Wood-Oven Pizza Co. and, all too briefly, his own South American-centric restaurant, Lulu’s Latin Rotisserie & Grill, upstairs. , manage the staff, who are dressed in BBB t-shirts in different colors with cute Southern brunch-related messages emblazoned on the back – “Kiss my grits”, /28 /big-busy-brunch/”Courage is coming,””Lard has mercy” and so on. You can even see one of the three Keets, who operate JTJ restaurants and are minority partners in the business, handle the food.

They currently only serve from 7am to 2:30pm daily so their aim to offer an all day breakfast/brunch menu “breakfast for lunch or lunch for breakfast” lunch,” as Brainard once noted — is always a goal for them.

The prices are relatively high compared to, say, competing chains with nearby outlets, including IHOP or Cracker Barrel, but the portions are huge and the quality is excellent.

Photo The chicken and waffle — three crispy fried tenders on a Belgian waffle, drizzled with honey (a house-mix syrup is available) — is probably the most “brunch” option at the Big Bad Breakfast. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison) We dove into the menu primarily for breakfast, including, among the “Big Bad Specialties,” the lovely homemade French toast ($12), which the menu says is made with “french bread à l’ ‘eau-de-vie frite’, garnished with strawberries and ‘whipped cream’ and the house BBB syrup mix, served with a choice of meat (we had an impressive slice of ham).

We also enjoyed our Cheese Omelette ($12), a concoction wrap of three eggs shredded Cheddar, Swiss, and crumbled goat cheese. And while we normally steer clear of the stuff in unlabeled bottles, we were assured that the green stuff inside this one was a tangy homemade salsa that goes particularly well with eggs. So we tried some and damn it, it noticeably improved the omelet. We easily and gratefully replaced the menu-promised greens and fries with other accompaniments: rich cheese grits and a watermelon and berry fruit cup. (Other omelet options: Ham and Cheese, Creole, BLT, and Veggie.)

We worked quickly on our weekend Big Bad breakfast plate ($12), which consisted of two eggs (made, as we ordered, on a medium size and with minimal salt), a choice of meat (a little smaller slice of ham), bread (wheat toast) and a side dish (a fruit cup with the same combination of berries and melon). But not fast enough – on a trip to the toilet an overzealous bus driver emptied our plate which still contained some uneaten ham, toast and fruit. The management, in a frenzy of apologies, sent us home with four more slices of toast and another cup of fruit to take away.

Our chicken and waffle ($13) was the most brunch-like item we’ve tried; the menu floridly explains, “Roscoe started it, and we like to think we just made it better.” We had a made to order Belgian waffle topped with three very crispy fried chicken breasts all topped with a drizzle of “local honey”. We could have used more honey, and it is available on request; we decided not to mix the honey with the BBB House syrup mix, which you can pour from table (or in our case, bar) containers. The portion was so big that we took some of it home.

Photo Big Bad Breakfast’s kitchen prepares French Toast, one of the ‘great specialties’, with ‘brandy’ fried French bread, topped with strawberries, ‘whipped cream’, the house syrup mix and a choice of meat . (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison) We can recommend the homemade squeezed orange juice (the squeeze machine at the bar looks really cool), although it’s certainly not cheap – we paid $5.50 for a “tall” glass which was, at best, of medium height.

Something for a future visit: The chewy “cathead” cookies, available with gravy or as a frame for sandwiches, looked really good on other people’s plates.

Given how busy all of our visits were, the kitchen got our food ready in a relatively short time – we don’t think we waited more than 10 or 12 minutes – and the staff behind the bar, who had loads to do , still manages to pleasantly take the time to take our orders, provide our cash needs, check the progress of our meals and provide our checks. The reception hosts, although under considerable pressure, were generally friendly, with the exception of the one on our last visit who was a bit surly.

big bad breakfast

  • Address: 101 S. Bowman Road, Little Rock
  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily
  • Kitchen: Brunch
  • Alcoholic beverages: Wine, beer, brunch cocktails (mimosas, Bloody Marys, screwdrivers, breakfast margaritas, etc.)
  • Wheelchair access: Yes
  • Credit card: V, MC, D, AE
  • Information: (501) 406-0195;
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