By: Paige Kingsley
Just past the corner of Erie and Main Street is the USA Brockport Diner, a charming local restaurant in the heart of the college neighborhood. I took to this place with a vested interest in their breakfast offerings and an empty stomach on a Sunday morning. Despite having a full house that day, their service and quality did not disappoint.
Once inside the modest building, my senses were flooded with the rich and savory scent of freshly-made breakfast platters, coupled with the background sound of over a dozen different conversations coming from the fully packed booths. Though the diner was full to the brim, I was able to get seated in a small booth on the wall right away by the hostess and greeted by the friendly waitstaff within the first five minutes of being settled. After being given some hot coffee and a few minutes with the menu, I placed my breakfast order and admired the large mural on the wall beside me while I waited.
Twenty minutes or so fly by before the meal is brought out, with steam coming off the freshly made stack of chocolate chip pancakes that smell deliciously sweet. The three-tiered pile is garnished with a generous amount of whipped cream, which slowly melts into the fluffy layers as it is warmed from below.
All these elements combined in the first bite to create a rich yet balanced flavor. The surplus of chocolate chips certainly leaves nothing to be desired, but the batter itself earns its own place on your palate as it compliments the chocolatey sweetness without being overpowering. There’s a hint of vanilla in the mix that keeps the batter from being a simple bland canvas, but the flavor isn’t so intense that the whole combination is too sweet. Rather, the lightness of the pancake texture itself worked wonderfully with all these flavor elements to keep the meal from being overly heavy in the stomach.
Alongside this small tower of sweetness, I also ordered two over easy eggs, an order of corned beef hash, and some hash browns. Yes, it was quite a lot of food for one person to take on, but I can assure you that nothing went to waste. My roommates greatly appreciated the leftovers the next morning.
The eggs were cooked exactly as they should be, with the yolk being runny within the set whites. The oil used in the pan to cook them was very light so the eggs didn’t feel or taste greasy whatsoever, and the buttered sourdough toast served beside them paired wonderfully. The yolk atop the crisp, crunch of the slightly-salty buttered slice was exactly what I was looking for to satisfy a good breakfast craving.
Aside from the eggs, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of flavor in the corned beef hash. In my personal experience, the seasoning and quality of this dish can be very hit or miss. Oftentimes it’s far too salty, while other diners may rely too heavily on the flavor of the corned beef while cooking it and it comes out underwhelming and bland in the end.
The USA Brockport Diner, however, definitely overcame these common challenges. There was a thin crust on the outside of the serving, having come fresh off the frying pan. The potatoes and fried onions mixed within were chopped into very small pieces, ensuring that there was a little bit of each component in every single bite. The peppered mixture satisfied me greatly and the portion served was exactly enough to fill me up without being pushed over the edge of being uncomfortable, which came in handy when it came to the last aspect of the large meal I had ordered: the hash browns.
Now, there’s a couple different ways that hash browns can be served. It really all depends on the place that’s making them, but the most common I’ve seen in diner settings is the shredded, string-like consistency that’s fried to a light crisp on the top with a soft bed of potato strings underneath. True to traditional American diner fashion, this is what is served at the USA Brockport Diner.
In all honesty, there’s nothing particularly special or stand-out about this side dish compared to other places, but it is one of my personal favorites so I hold a decently high standard for it. And these standards were met with ease, with that perfectly golden crust atop the soft, steaming, freshly shredded potato. I did supplement the serving with a little salt and pepper, but the dual texture side needed very little aid in flavor.
Overall this breakfast experience was exactly what I was looking for from a small-town diner. And the price for everything came in just under $25, before the tip of course. Having such reasonable prices in a college town community does wonders for their business, while the food certainly exceeds the expectations of those prices. The next time you’re craving a good traditional American-style diner breakfast, this is the place to try.