Breakfast Needs a Champion

Those of us who were born before Instagram and Facebook remember old school pop culture moments, mementos, and mottos. Congratulations, you’re old if the words “Eat Your Wheaties” run through your mind when you see an orange box in the cereal aisle. (Wait, do they still make Wheaties, or even cereal for that matter? Are carbs still available?) Regardless of your nutritional leanings, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Largely because of coffee. Breakfast has become an acceptable all day meal type thanks to early birds, late risers and Machiavellian marketers. But that’s okay, I am all in. But, despite the popularity of bacon and Açaí bowls, Bellevue is a bit behind in the number of breakfast restaurants and options per capital.  

We talked to three local breakfast champions about the best way to start the day at their restaurants. Take three Chace’s Potato Pancakes, a twice baked Almond Croissant from The French Bakery and Pumphouse Bloody Mary, then call us in the morning, or don’t. We’ll be having our second cup of decaf in the corner behind a newspaper.

Chace’s Pancake Corral

Est. 1958 

Janet Zakskorn owns and runs the oldest, originally owned restaurant in Bellevue with help from her sister Ada Williams. Chace’s Pancake Corral on Bellevue Way is an institution and a longtime neighborhood favorite. After 63 years she knows what the customer wants, and that’s more of the same friendly service, classic breakfast faves and maybe a coffee warm up, or three.

Why did you choose the Eastside for your restaurant?

Dad was approached by a friend, Betty Cook, who owned BBQ style restaurant in Bellevue to buy her establishment. Dad was in partnership with a friend at the time, owning and operating a chain of Coffee Corrals in the Seattle area. His partner was not interested in expanding to the Eastside so Bill told Betty he would come work it with her for a few weeks and see what he thought. He decided to go on his own, purchased it, turned it into Chace’s Pancake Corral and the rest is history and plenty of it!

What keeps customers coming back?

Some families of four generations have shared a tradition of enjoying family meals together here.  The consistency of our food, the friendly sincere service. It feels like home to a lot of people.

Do you have any especially long-term employees who have grown with your company?

Chris Reilly and Lorraine Lee have been with me over 13 years. They are both servers and have now grown to help with management. 2 of my lead cooks Mario and Guerrero have been with me for 10 years.

The French Bakery

Est. 2008

Forget what you know about the stereotypical French shopping experience. With two Bellevue locations, Downtown and Crossroads, The French Bakery is as well known for its friendly managers and staff as it is for flaky croissants, crepes and of course, de rigeur baguettes.  

Why did you choose the Eastside? 

The Eastside presents a perfect setting that feels like Europe; friendly community, small town feel, beautiful landscapes, and mild weather.

What keeps your customers coming back? 

Many come everyday, every week or even twice a day. We greet them by their names and they know most of our staff by name. The French Bakery is a gathering place.

How do you start your day? 

Our Team starts the day by preparing the dough and warming up the ovens. We start baking very early in the morning to have all pastries and breads ready for our early customers. Favorites: Butter Croissant, Pain Au Chocolat, Twice Baked Almond Croissant, Baguette, Ham and Provolone, Bacon Egg Cheddar Croissant

Do you have team members who have grown with your company? 

We develop our staff internally through ongoing development sessions and bring them up through the ranks. This allows them to understand every aspect of the business and keep a long-term connection with our customers.

Do you have any traditions or community events? 

Donate food seven days a week to local shelters and nonprofit organizations throughout the Puget Sound.

The Pumphouse Bar and Grill

Est. 1978

Owners Bob & Danielle Griffith opened The Pumphouse Bar and Grill in 1978. If Bellevue has a “Cheers” style establishment, this is it. Serving adults 21 and over only. The Pumphouse is the place for an adults only breakfast, or lunch, or dinner…you get the idea.

Why did you choose the Eastside for your restaurant?

We had been looking for a long time with no luck.  Until one day an uncle called us about a Tavern he found, Lou’s Place. There was no kitchen, just a microwave and a chicken roaster. It took us five years to add the kitchen.

What is unique about the morning crowds?

Lots of local customers come frequently to meet with their friends.   One of our oldest customers is 87, and we have lots of groups that visit together for work meetings and meetups. Local firemen, retired firemen, regular staff meetings and more.  

We started breakfast about 15 years ago to serve the Sunday Seahawks crowd.  Then we expanded to eventually every day of the week. 

Tell us about your loyal and repeat customers. 

Consistency and quality start with our employees!  Our dishwasher David retired after 25 years working at The Pumphouse.   We currently have 3 servers who have worked with us for over 16 years and 1 cook over 16 years and another for 12 years.  

What is your most popular item?

Our PumpHouse Breakfast, Eggs Benedict, Chicken Fried Steak (with gravy from scratch) and Joe’s Special. Our Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas are great!

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