The Southport Grocery and Café is unsurprisingly on Southport Avenue and is about 10 minutes walk away from the Southport Brown line El Stop. It always seems to be very popular on the weekend, with the breakfast and brunch crowd. I have walked past many a time and not been able to spot a free table, but this time we were in luck so we jumped right in with eager anticipation.
This does not seem to be the sort of café where you are going to be getting egg and bacon with toast, the ‘Trademark’ menu options are a little more advanced and a bit fancier. You could have had egg and bacon if you ordered them as two side dishes, but I was going to play the game and pick one of the combinations suggested by the Southport Café team.
I ordered the Brisket & Gravy which was a plate of ‘house-smoked brisket gravy on a homemade buttermilk biscuit topped with two fried eggs‘ for $11. It was a very runny gravy, which might sound to be a strange comment, but you know more often than not the gravy is kind of gooey and it sticks to everything include the inside of your stomach. This brisket gravy was more of a soup and I really would have been better off with a spoon. It did have a really good creamy texture and the chunks of smokey brisket floating about in the gravy were really good, to be honest I would have liked bigger pieces of brisket and less gravy. Somewhere inside there was the buttermilk biscuit, it just soaked up the sauce and was a bit soggy. The two eggs on top were sunny side up and were just about cooked, they were still quite soft. This was a really tasty dish though, and it would be perfect for some old granny who had lost her teeth as there is nothing to chew. I am glad that I tried this, but I wouldn’t have it again as it is, I think I would need a side of homestyle potatoes or toast to add some texture to the bite.
In hindsight and having seen my companions dish I wish I also had chosen to have the Hash for $9 with bacon for an extra $3. This was a great big bowl of ‘shredded potatoes, red onion, mushroom, peppers, white cheddar topped with scrambled eggs & chive-sour cream‘. It was more of my sort of dish, packed with lots of different textures, a whole lot of flavor, sweet pepper, salty bacon, creamy eggs, tart from the sour cream and lots and lots of perfect potato. On this day the best thing about this bowlful for me was its size, it was so big that my companion could not finish it all so I got to finish off the last few spoonfuls. This worked out perfectly as I dropped it onto the remnants of the gravy on my plate and (as suggested) this mopped up the rest of the gravy quite perfectly.
I am really glad that I got to try the Southport Grocery and Café, If what you want is just the simple breakfast plate, then I think that it is not really the breakfast joint for you. If however you are looking for a slightly fancier brunch then this is going to be the place to go.
As well as the food, you can buy all sorts of jars, pastes, breads and pastries from the small grocery section alongside the counter. I bought a jar of bacon jam which is an excellent condiment for putting on the top of your burger or inside a sandwich. The Southport Grocery & Café is well worth paying a visit to, be warned it is very popular so be prepared to wait for a table or just get there early to stake your claim.