Doug's Breakfast Lunch only begins to describe what the diner offers, but adding words such as creative, house-made, fresh ingredients and more to the name is too much to swallow in one bite.
Yes, breakfast and lunch are served, and there is a man named Doug, although he no longer owns the Colorado Springs eatery. The owners are Rob and Vicki Fraley. Vicki was general manager of Doug's in Fort Collins for many years. Rob is an engineer who retired to run the restaurant with his wife and their youngest son.
Doug's is popular, and a wait for a table isn't uncommon. Despite a sign asking patrons to limit their stays to an hour on weekends, we never felt rushed. We leisurely enjoyed our meal and our conversations with each other and with Rob, our server.
Doug, the namesake, started with restaurants in New Mexico before opening four in Colorado. Three years ago, he sold the local business. "We've tweaked a few things," Rob said, "but Doug has a formula for success; we're not going to mess with that."
The formula is based on well-prepared food using fresh, high-quality ingredients. Who ever heard of stocking English muffins from Harry & David, purveyors of premium foods? Plus the owners make all of the jams, and these aren't simple spreads. Consider strawberry mango, blueberry raspberry, pepper and strawberry, to name a few.
The menu is heavy on Southwest flavors, with several nods to the Mediterranean.
One side has a variation on a Caprese salad: Sliced tomatoes drizzled with house-made pesto and topped with Parmesan cheese are lightly broiled. The not-quite-warm tomatoes create a suggestion of summer in what should be winter. The only problem with ordering the tomatoes is that you miss out on the butter browns (aka hash browns).
The browns, no matter what their first name, are potato perfection. Shredded spuds cooked in clarified butter are crispy and creamy. In addition to being a side, they're featured in papas dishes with such toppings as pork adovada, carne asada, turkey sausage, veggies, all with red and/or green chili using Hatch, N.M., peppers.
My carne asada papas ($10) featured tender, grilled pieces of steak with the Christmas combo of red and green chili (all made in house) and topped with scrambled eggs. This all-in-one meal was enjoyably spicy and far too much food to consume in one sitting. The crunchy element of the butter browns was a little lost in the mix, which was the only downside.
Several three-egg omelet options are available, including some with ingredients I'd never thought to add, such as roasted corn or almonds - not in the same omelet. The Clint ($11) was airy but plump thanks to chunks of bacon, fresh spinach, cheese and tomatoes.
The owners also make the sausages: green chili turkey, house and chorizo. We tried the turkey version in the Hillbilly ($12), an elevated version of a traditional egg-and-sausage breakfast combo: a biscuit, butter browns, two eggs cooked to order and covered with a choice of gravy or one of the chilis. We opted for the creamy, peppery gravy and were not disappointed.
The place is clean and comfortable. I'll focus on the lunch menu next time. Rob plans to begin dinner service soon. He didn't mention how that might affect the name, however.