Breakfast at Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia, NY
One of the Hudson Valley’s 12 best dishes in 2012: Breakfast at Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia, NY (Ulster County)
You may spot Uma Thurman, Kelsey Grammer, Mary-Louise Parker, or Edie Falco tucking in at this low-key, breakfast-and-lunch cafe in Phoenicia. But the real stars here are the famous pancakes — 20-some varieties of giant, thick, fluffy flapjacks so big that unless you haven’t eaten for a week, you need only one. Aficionados drive miles to get them.
Year-round favorites include the Red Monkey (with strawberries and bananas); Blue Monkey (blueberries and bananas); Hawaiian (pineapple and coconut); lemon ricotta; and chocolate chip (a favorite among the little ones). You can get whole grain, whole wheat, buckwheat, four-grain, and cornmeal, with occasional specials — like almond-meal ones served with low-fat raspberry yogurt and strawberries. Drizzle on some real maple syrup, and you’re in pancake paradise.
If you’re not in the mood for flapjacks, there are half a dozen varieties of French toast made from house-baked challah or cinnamon-raisin bread. Or you can choose from 10 different omelets. Perhaps you fancy made-from-scratch corned beef hash? It gets a little zest from poblano peppers, and comes topped with cheddar and two eggs. Those in a southern mood can go for shrimp and grits. If you’ve been on a toot the night before, you may want something soothing, like oatmeal. “Ours is a big bowl made with old-fashioned oats, dried blueberries, cranberries, and apricots, topped with low-fat vanilla yogurt and cardamom sauce,” says waitress Whitney Coomes. Add fresh-squeezed orange juice and hot coffee, and you’re eating the kind of real breakfast your mother always told you to.
Portraits of the pancakes hang on the cream and orange walls in the little cafe as a testament to their celebrity; a recent expansion into the adjacent building has reduced the notorious wait on weekends.