Breakfast at Boswell’s

About … hmmm …. oh lordy lord … has it been twenty-one years? Yes. Yes, I believe it has. How does that happen? How can sitting in traffic for an hour feel like an eternity, but pop! oh, guess what?! Two decades just evaporated. Thanks for playing.

Sorry. I’ll start over.

About twenty-one years ago, I was a card-carrying member of a dedicated, breakfast-loving group of co-workers. We met for breakfast once a month at a local greasy spoon called Boswell’s. Oh, did I say “spoon”? I was being nice. This place was a greasy bucket. I don’t think a single item on the menu, including coffee, came with fewer than 478 grams of fat.

The number of participants varied each month, but it wasn’t unusual to have at least ten of us show up. We met early in the morning. (At least half of the year, it was still dark.) No one bothered with menus as each of us, in turn, ordered his or her “usual”. We ordered as promptly as possible because it was at least a forty-five minute wait for the food to arrive and we still had to go to work. I don’t know why we never once thought about doing it on a weekend.

At least eighty percent of the group’s “usual” was what Boswell’s called the “special.” (Ever wonder why the most commonly ordered item on the menu in restaurants like this is always called the “special”?) From time to time, someone would perhaps order a waffle. But that was rare. (In fact, I remember one time, about two tables over, a poor guy ordered oatmeal. He was immediately escorted from the restaurant and banned for life.) No, with rare exceptions, you got the special.

I’m sure you’ve already pictured it in your head. Two eggs (“any way you like ’em!”), two pieces of bacon, four sausage links, four sausage patties, six slices of toast, a full (or half) order of hashbrowns (“full” is the correct denomination), a stack of hotcakes, slathered in trans fats and maple-like syrup, two more pieces of bacon, corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy, ham, grits, two bagels with lite cream cheese, steak, and a donut. All that for a buck ninety-nine.

It took nanoseconds for everyone to dive into their fourteen-thousand calories as soon as it hit the table. After all, it had been a long, long wait. Not to mention the only thing most of us had had to eat that day was three or four sugar packets while waiting.

The food was all exquisitely fine but, I tell you, nothing topped the hashbrowns. (Unless, of course, you topped your hashbrowns with grilled onions, green peppers, or jalapenos.) They were unlike any other hashbrowns I’ve ever had. The potatoes were shredded and essentially cooked into a giant, thick potato pancake: crispy on the outside and full of steamy goodness on the inside. I preferred mine with a single coat of Tabasco sauce and two cups of salt. Mmmm… mmm… those were certainly the days.

Unfortunately the tradition ultimately ended as one by one we dropped dead from clogged arteries. That must have been the fate of all their customers because they long ago closed up shop for good. We eventually looked for replacement greasy buckets, but alas! they just weren’t the same. I mean, hardly any of us died at the other places.

15 Responses to “Breakfast at Boswell’s”

Fattygetsfit said
March 13, 2009 at 4:10 am

sounds amazing
i am a fan of Denny’s hashbrowns for some reason.

Tom Rooney said
March 13, 2009 at 4:34 am

We have some local eateries that also provide “the special” although not as heaping as the one you describe. Usual fare was eggs, pancakes, sausage (links or patties) bacon (3 strips) toasted bagel, coffee and orange juice. I think the orange juice was for the vitamins. I agree that grease was the dominating factor and those of us that used to enjoy now see a cardiologist. Just a coincidence I would think.

Lesley said
March 13, 2009 at 5:40 am

Ha, that sounds like a breakfast I could only stand about once a year or so. While I can’t help but still love my greasy, fattening foods, I don’t indulge in them often as I do not with to go see a cardiologist anytime soon or later; )

Have a great weekend!!

Mara @ What's For Dinner? said
March 13, 2009 at 5:41 am

Oh those places are the best. There was one that I used to frequent before I moved out on my own that had these “skillets” with hash browns, 3 eggs, meat, cheese, and then pancakes on the side. YUM

Biz said
March 13, 2009 at 5:50 am

You had me at corned beef hash and Tabasco!

Tony – lets got out to breakfast tomorrow!

Hallie said
March 13, 2009 at 6:19 am

I’m starving now!!


Shelley said
March 13, 2009 at 8:01 am

Tell me you are joking about the donut. You had me until then!

Quix said
March 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

Dear fluffy lord it’s almost lunch time and now I’m even more starving! Thanks a lot! 🙂 My favorite breakfast if calories didn’t exist is a big stack of chocolate chip pancakes with strawberry syrup, double hashbrowns, and a mess of crispy bacon.

Sarah said
March 13, 2009 at 10:20 am

I LOVE breakfast. It’s my favourite meal.

Sadly, I try to only do greasy spoon breakfast once every few months 🙁 damn metabolism

Tuscanystone said
March 13, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I dont know how you could possibly eat all that in one sitting! lol But I like the social aspect and you’ve reminded me I haven’t had a breakfast out with friends for ages!

Must organise that….

Tusc 🙂

johngl said
March 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Having been to that greasy bucket, though I didn’t know Charlie at the time, I can vouch for the accuracy of what he says.

I think they went out of business because someone suggested they clean the place. Once they started cleaning, the walls began to collapse. Then the roof fell in.

But damn, those hash browns were good.

Mama Rini’s Breakfast and Salsa! « Biggest Diabetic Loser said
March 14, 2009 at 9:57 am

[…] Rini’s Breakfast and Salsa! Posted on March 14, 2009 by biz319 My brother Charlie’s post yesterday on his blog had me at corned beef hash and Tabasco!   So out to breakfast we […]

Kyddryn said
March 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Waffle House All Star Breakfast, eighty-six the grits, add hash browns scattered, smothered and covered, make the waffle extra done, double butter, eggs over medium, bacon extra crisp, OJ and coffee to drink (separate cups, thanks)have 911 on speed dial please, can’t talk, eating. The OJ makes it health food.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who only eats the above once or twice a year unless she’s feeling particularly suicidal)

Nicole said
March 21, 2009 at 7:57 pm

I’m hungry.

Stephanie said
March 25, 2009 at 11:41 am

*sigh* I can almost TASTE the loaded hashbrowns right now.

Those were the days Charlie!

They actually closed up shop because hmmmmm pay taxes????? You have to pay TAXES if you own a small business?? News to Randy, the chef exordinare of hashbrowns…. but not so good at cooking the books!