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The griddle is hot at Scrambled

by Kristi Maier

@triadfoodies

Scrambled Southern Diner officially has a couple of weeks of slinging hash and such under its belt. And from the looks at the droves of fans who’ve been waiting for this moment, the restaurant is enjoying early success””the kind of success that most new eateries like to experience. Of course, for restaurant owners, Chef Chris Blackburn and Sarah Keith, who are also partners in life, this is old hat to them. Scrambled now resides in their formerly beloved Josephine’s Kitchen. Josephine’s closed service in early summer to begin its metamorphosis from a dinner-only establishment, to a breakfast, brunch and lunch establishment. Scrambled opened on August 24. Scrambled is making some final adjustments in the kitchen with some new equipment and will be open for business on Thursday.

There were many customers sad to see Josephine’s Kitchen go, though Blackburn and Keith did keep the catering side of the business. But there was a flurry of excitement over what was to be. And now we’re here. Arriving at Scrambled Southern Diner, anyone who patronized the former restaurant will notice new signage and a new color scheme. Gone are the high benches and curtains used to create an ambiance of intimacy for their evening guests. The benches are newly upholstered with a lower back to create openness and some new, more rustic lighting has been introduced.

The menu, of course, is the biggest difference, while staying true to its farm to fork philosophy. Breakfast staples like Benedicts, waffles, pancakes, French toast, and omelets are plentiful. Foodies will also be tempted with items that are more akin to what they’re used to seeing from Chef Blackburn, like a breakfast flatbread with eggs, sausage, cheese, béchamel and potato. There’s corned beef hash in a skillet, shrimp and grits, and local house made granola. Biscuit lovers will find a variety of choices ranging from butter and jelly or biscuits and gravy to full-on biscuit sammy with bacon wrapped meatloaf. You can even make your own biscuit sandwich”¦or forget the biscuit and choose a different bread or toast. Then, there are the platters. And the scrambles which feature a variety of personal skillet deliciousness topped with 2 eggs your way. And that’s not even counting what happens on Saturday and Sunday when Benedict Row comes into play. A revolving door of chef-inspired Benedicts. You want a green tomato? There’s a Benedict for that. Crab cake? There’s a Benedict for that. Meatloaf? Well, you get the idea.

First visit to Scrambled had mr. foodie ordering a platter with pork tenderloin, scrambled eggs and grits with an English muffin. This is a great meal for someone who doesn’t want a heavy breakfast, needs some protein and likes to enjoy breakfast for what it is and without a lot of bells and whistles. Simple and satisfying. The pork is perfection.

I tease (kind of) about Scrambled taking the place of one of my favorite restaurants ever and replacing it with my least favorite meal of the day. So when I do breakfast out, I am usually not bacon and eggs. I go atypical and savory. Make it taste not like breakfast. But add coffee. Always add coffee. So I was really intrigued by Green Eggs and Ham, with chorizo, scallions, queso fresco, salsa verde and chili lime crema ($10) and it was delectable. It had just the right amount of heat and spice plus the perfect dippy egg. Add a dash of Texas Pete and you’re golden. You get a choice of side, which really goes under the scramble. I chose hash browns and they were crispy and a great accompaniment. I’m sure grits would be great too, as mr. foodie says they are “most proper.” Next time, I want to try the “OMG” which is rosemary ham, spinach, pickle peppers, mushroom and fontina.

At 9:30 a.m. on a Friday, there was a good stream of business coming in and tickets running through the kitchen, probably 25-30 customers in the dining room. We just so happened to be seated with Garland McCollum of Massey Creek Farms, who supplies many restaurants in the Triad, including Scrambled, with his products. McCollum mentioned he had heard a lot about the food at Scrambled and was pleased with the experience, “I wanted to see what Chris does with just a classic breakfast and I had to try to waffles this first time around. It’s really good. Next time, I’ll try one of the more adventurous dishes.”

And though Scrambled serves “breakfast all day,” it is a diner, after all, complete with blue plate specials that include meatloaf on Monday and fried catfish on Friday. And”¦ though it’s got that diner vibe, you’ll still find Chef Blackburn’s creative juices are very much in play with his Baked Fontina starter with three-pepper relish, walnut herb pesto with sour dough toast points. Or a Sherry Crab Fondue as well as inventive sandwiches and salads (available after 11am).

Chef Blackburn says it’s been an interesting change of pace. “I get up at dark, instead of going to bed at dark, so that’s a big thing.” He says the support for the new concept and name has been great. “We’re really working on keeping up with the tickets. It’s fast and it’s crazy and it’s not for everyone.”

The thing we kind of missed at Scrambled that we could count on at Josephine’s, was a happening bar with all kinds of craft cocktails being concocted. Being as it was 9:30 in the morning, that’s not a surprise. If you’re so inclined (especially on the weekend), the mixologists haven’t forgotten how to make your favorite adult beverages. And Scrambled even features beautiful Bloody Marys (like the Smokehouse with BBQ sauce and BBQ bitters, Irish Whiskey) and Sparkling Cocktails like Mimosas and a Lemon Flower. Definitely worth checking out. And who wouldn’t want an Itsy Bitsy Teen Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bellini? That, I want to see. !

WANNA go?

Scrambled Southern Diner is located at 2417 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. They will be closed until Opening Day on Thursday, Sept. 10. After that, open 7 days a week, M-F: 7am-3pm; Sa/Sun: 8am-3pm. Website: scrambledgreensboro.com Josephine’s Kitchen Catering caters events large and small, visit josephinesbistro.com

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