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Quintessential Olympia breakfast

Wake up with a friend at Darby's Cafe

Some like it hot. Darby's Cafe knows that.

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Seattle has Matt's in the Market. San Francisco has the Fog City Diner, New Orleans has Commander's Palace, New York has the Carnegie Deli, Chicago has Geno's, and Philadelphia has Pat's. Every city has a restaurant that reflects the people, the culture, the reality of the place - not the town you see in a tourism brochure, but the town that folks actually live, work and eat in.

Olympia has Darby's Café.

Darby's represents the city of Olympia to the tea (15 versions).  Funky, liberal, friendly, and laid-back, it's all about serving quality food in the Man's front yard. While elected officials and developers argue about waterfront condos, folks can enjoy the democratic principles of fairness, whole foods, open-toed sandals, and an odd assortment of Wizard of Oz paraphernalia in this tiny joint.

When the cooks scream "Order Up!" over the loud clatter from the hidden kitchen, pancakes the size of your head, huge breakfast sandwiches - including one with sausage the size of a huge hamburger patty and a vegetarian option pictued above - five scrambles, nine omelets, Batdorf & Bronson Bohemian Blend coffee served in a variety of coffee mugs (mine was a cow that said "Hay, I feel good,"), and an assortment of beverages including the infamous Brass Monkey - fresh-squeeze orange juice and a pounder of Olde English 800!

Best of all, the ingredients are fresh, not hastily prepared, with more options for vegans and vegetarians than not.

If for some weird reason you don't like the spice of your meal, a wall-mounted rack housing 30 hot sauce flavors awaits.

A full menu - including lunch and dinner options - is available online.

Darby's Café

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, breakfast all day (no pancakes or French toast after 11 a.m.), lunch after 11 a.m., closed Monday and Tuesday
211 Fifth Ave., Olympia

LINK: What is the best restaurant in Tacoma? Vote now!

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