We have a Sunday morning ritual of going to early church and then to Blueberries for breakfast. We never deviate from this routine when we are wintering Florida – right down to what we order. Our ritual has become routine so they no longer give us menus. We start with coffee, and I order two eggs over medium, whole wheat toast, and fruit. JB orders a short stack of blueberry pancakes that come with a hot blueberry compote. I then give him an egg and toast, he gives me a pancake and we both eat out of the fruit cup. Every Sunday – except when we deviate by adding bacon or potatoes. Today we were in an extra happy mood so we added Canadian bacon and a fresh squeezed orange juice.
Anyone driving up US 41 out of Naples can tell that Blueberries is a good restaurant for breakfast because of the people waiting on the porch for their number to be called. We have had other things on the menu – before we settled on our usual. We know the Greek omelette is wonderful, filled with feta cheese and fresh spinach. Friends have told us the eggs benedict is the best they have ever had. We go there for lunch or supper when we are hungry for a gyro sandwich. They make a really good one because the owner is Greek. The service is the efficient and non-intrusive kind that is found in Europe because most of the servers are Eastern European immigrants.
We don’t wait for a table, we wait for two seats at the counter (first come, first serve). We love the counter because we can watch the servers as they efficiently work together to keep the coffee and food moving. Four machines are constantly brewing fresh-ground coffee and whoever has a few free minutes is emptying grounds and starting new pots, even the owner. I enjoy the end of the counter where we can see the dance that takes place as plates of food coming from the kitchen are sorted by order and given the finishing touches, like a shake of powdered sugar, a cup of fruit, a scoop of butter, blueberry compote. Then whoever is available carries them to the correct table – or in our case to the counter.
We love going to Blueberries and have been going for enough seasons for the staff to recognize and greet us with smiles and a warm “How are you today?” We look forward to seeing them when we return each fall. But we also experience an extra joy that comes from sitting at the counter. Maybe you have noticed this if you are a counter sitter. We have the joy of talking with people who are sitting next to us. Sometimes we recognize people who we sat with before and we greet each other – but mostly they are regulars, too; and thus neighbors who we don’t know, yet. Blueberries is the place where we go and feel at home even though nobody knows our name.