For those of you who have been following my blog for any length of time, I have made several remarks to the fact that I spent my formative years in Stow, Ohio. At the end of my 7th grade year and just before my 8th grade year was to start, my family relocated to Wadsworth, Ohio where I finished middle school and graduated from the high school. I was pretty miserable leaving my friends behind and I attempted to stay in touch for a while through letter writing. Ultimately, it got to be too much and the never very prolific penning of letters came to a grinding halt.
Over the years, I hadn't thought much about my Stow friends. That is, until Facebook came onto the scene. Suddenly I am reconnecting with people who, honestly, I don't even remember (anyone else out there have that problem, too?). As it turned out, this weekend was Stow High School's 20th annual reunion and many of these old friends had driven and flown in from all parts of the country. While I would feel a little weird crashing a high school reunion where I hadn't actually graduated from the school, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a pre-party the night before the reunion and to a brunch on the day of at the enormously popular Wild Goats Cafe.
Wild Goats Cafe was located at 319 West Main Street, Kent, OH 44240 and can be reached at 330-677-2326. Parking was a little strange in that only the spots directly around the restaurant were available for use. The outer spaces were for some type of medical facility that apparently shared the lot with the cafe. When I arrived today at 11:30 AM, there were absolutely zero spots available, so I ended up parking on the street further down West Main and walking to the cafe.
Here was a shot of the sign outside of the restaurant:
Once inside, I quickly realized why the parking lot was full: this place was hopping! Fortunately, it didn't take long before our group of 14 was seated at three different tables. Waiting for us on the table were menus:
The menu bordered on being just a bit too much in that there was almost too much from which to choose. It certainly didn't enter The Cheesecake Factory territory though. Looking through my options, I had to decide if I was more in a breakfast mood or a lunch mood. Since I hadn't eaten breakfast yet today, I decided to go for that.
I started out with a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice:
At $2.99, some might find this pricey, but given the size of the glass and how fresh it tasted, I certainly didn't mind. My body must have been craving orange juice this morning because somehow when I picked up the glass to take another sip, it was already nearly empty.
Looking over the menu, I tried to gauge which breakfast choice would give me the opportunity to try as many flavors as possible today. At $8.45, the Shepherd's Breakfast seemed to fit the bill perfectly. There were eggs, hash browns, toast, biscuit and sausage gravy, and a breakfast meat of my choice.
Here was half of my Shepherd's Breakfast:
And here was the other half:
Let's talk about the positives first. The eggs were cooked sunny-side up as I had requested with no visible uncooked whites surrounding the yolks. The hash browns were nicely caramelized and had that crunchy and creamy texture going for them at the same time. The toast, whole wheat, was thickly cut and nicely toasted so that the outside was crunchy and the inside was nice and soft. A restrained amount of butter had been brushed on the inside surfaces. The bread was tasty and made me feel like I was doing something healthy for my body.
The sausage gravy was perfectly seasoned and had just the right amount of spice to it. In combination with the biscuit,
I really enjoyed this combination of textures and flavors. The biscuit wasn't flaky, but it was definitely tender and warm.
Now the negatives. The first negative can almost get away with getting a pass since it happens at so many places where eggs are served: they came out unseasoned. The hash browns, while there was some seasoning, were definitely underseasoned. The ham, on the other hand, was like eating a salt lick in comparison. The other problem I had with the ham was that it looked like such a tiny portion on that big plate, especially in comparison to how full the first plate of eggs, hash browns, and toast looked.
My friend Rachel decided to get an order of the sweet potato fries for the table to share:
Flavor-wise these were good, but once again, they came out of the kitchen lacking some serious salt. After seasoning, the subtle sweet potato flavor came out even more and we enjoyed them as a nice side to our respective breakfasts/lunches.
In general, should the Wild Goats Cafe decide to fix their seasoning issues, I would heartily recommend that you check them out. They have a cool Kent State campus college vibe to them and I like that they strive to make healthy meals available should you choose to order them off the menu. You may want to try and go at sometime other than 11:30 AM on a Saturday if you want to avoid the crowds, but even then, it wasn't a terrible wait for a table. While I am actually a little sad that I won't be attending my previous alma mater's reunion tonight, at least I was able to share a meal and walk down memory lane with some of my old Stow friends. Wild Goats Cafe was a perfect place for all that reminiscing.