Date of Visit: June 22, 2007, 8:30 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: The Gingerbread House Bakery is about 15 minutes down Highway 12 (the main/only road on the Outer Banks) from our regular vacation spot in Avon, NC. The steep sloped roof and ginger-brown coloring fits the name perfectly. There’s seating inside plus a large wooden deck out front. Always a lovely selection of flowers around the building; Beth and I admired the huge lilies and hydrangeas after breakfast. We’ve been to the Gingerbread House for donuts and for their excellent pizza (best on the island!), but never for breakfast. I expected something a little more formal (as formal as island breakfast places get), but the quiet atmosphere was pleasant at 8:30 a.m. while on vacation.
ATMOSPHERE: Very casual. About a dozen tables inside, all with the standard breakfast setup: salt, pepper, napkins, and packets of jelly in the center. The coffee carafes were on a side table with all the necessary accoutrements. As we sat down to eat, three men – apparently the owner and two construction workers who were working on the building – chatted over breakfast in the next room. A few other groups (2-3 people) came in after we sat down and ordered similar breakfasts. The Gingerbread House is (if the name didn’t give it away) a bakery, so Beth and I basked in the lovely smell of donuts as we waited for our meal.
FOOD: The menu is pretty straightforward. They specialize mostly in bagel breakfast sandwiches and donuts, but they had a few of the standard breakfast options. Beth went with the French toast and I opted for the breakfast platter. This is usually my choice for the morning meal: an all-encompassing mini-feast with eggs, meat, bread, and possibly potatoes. A side of fruit came with each meal. I was pretty pleased. The eggs (I always get scrambled) were just right: not sloppy, but not too dry. Potatoes were crisp. And the biscuit (which both meals came with) was soft and warm. Why don’t we do more biscuits with breakfast up north? It can be so much tastier (albeit so much less healthy) than wheat toast. Beth’s French toast was good, although there was a lot of egg in it; it looked almost like a fried egg on top of a piece of bread. We both got the self-serve coffee, which was sufficient. It’s a perfect candidate for our friend Karl’s “search for brown.” Beth order juice, too.
SERVICE: Locals! Seemed like a husband and wife running the place. She was up front taking the orders with her definitely native North Carolina accent. He was in the back, probably in the kitchen. The food came out very quickly. They served breakfast on Styrofoam plates with plastic silverware. So it definitely didn’t feel fancy, and the breakfast wasn’t exactly nuanced, but it filled us up.
OVERALL: Not the most awesome breakfast ever, and maybe not the best on the island, but still an excellent way to start a vacation day. I could see this as a great stop if you’re driving down Hatteras Island to the Ocracoke Ferry. The outside of the building is fascinating; they seemed to hit their intended effect of the cozy gingerbread house with warm cookies and donuts inside. Although Beth asked a good question… wasn’t the gingerbread house home to the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel? Uh… hmmm. Nevertheless, it’s a cozy little restaurant that seems to do well for itself with such a seasonal clientele. We’ll probably visit again next year.
So… what do you have going on tomorrow?