Bacon & Butter offers rich, delicious cuisine but not for the faint-hearted

Bacon and Butter––Midtown’s newest breakfast/brunch restaurant––is not for the faint-hearted, both metaphorically and physically.

Located at 1119 21st St., Bacon and Butter has shared its space with Club 21 since B & B opened in May. This affiliation may be one reason why Bacon and Butter, which has been open for months, still maintains its new-restaurant popularity.

Another possibility is its owner, Billy Zoellin, who was the head chef at the Golden Bear, a Sacramento restaurant, when it was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Either way, it’s apparent that Bacon and Butter is not being overlooked by hungry patrons.

Upon entering the simple, old-country style restaurant, I was struck with a feeling of dread. The waiting area, which was almost the same size as the dining area, was packed.

I was told that it would be an hour-long wait. It turns out that along with frying excellent bacon, B & B has become adept at estimating wait times. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best idea to sample this popular brunch restaurant on a Sunday.

Sophomores Emma Williams and Lara Kong enjoy the s'mores flapjacks and waffles at Bacon and Butter. (Photo by Alan Williams
Sophomores Emma Williams and Lara Kong enjoy the s’mores flapjacks and waffles at Bacon and Butter. (Photo by Alan Williams

One of the downsides of waiting to eat for an hour is that once you get to the table, you’re ready to order the entire menu.

At Bacon and Butter that is a very bad idea.

Every plate that I tasted was incredibly rich and filling. By the time I left, I thought I would never eat again.

I also learned that the possible ways to put bacon in food are endless.

I started my meal with a mug of bacon and cayenne cocoa ($3.75), a choice that gave me a rather bad first impression.

For those who like heat, the cocoa is perfect, but I’ve never been the biggest fan of spiciness, so the cocoa proved incredibly disappointing. It seemed as though they were trying to add spice just for the sake of adding spice.

I did, however, come up with a remedy for those who can’t handle the prolonged scorching of their throat cells.

The cocoa is served in a pot along with a mug that has whipped cream. Instead of ordering one order for yourself, order an extra cup to share the pot with, and be sure to mix the whipped cream in before tasting.

Other notable options for drinks include hot apple cider ($3.75) and pineapple juice ($3.25).

With fried taste buds I tried the bacon apple fritters ($4 for two small pastries). At this point, I was a little worried that my disappointing beverage had set the tone for the rest of my meal. In the end, I need not have worried.

The bacon apple fritters were delicious. They were the perfect mixture of sweetness and savory. Of course, fritters are essentially fancy doughnuts so they were quite sugary, but the slight saltiness of the bacon bits was prominent enough to keep the taste original and interesting.

Lara Kong enjoys her "appetizer", a sweet and savory bacon apple fritter. (Photo by Emma Williams)
Lara Kong enjoys her “appetizer”, a sweet and savory bacon apple fritter. (Photo by Emma Williams)

As for my spicy-meal prophecy, it was expelled from my mind with the first bite of my s’more flapjacks ($13).

The dish consists of two chocolate-chip pancakes sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs and even more chocolate chips. Oh, and about a cup of marshmallow creme instead of butter.

The pancakes were delicious and the marshmallow creme, sinfully good. Nonetheless, a person can take only so much sugar in one sitting, and I was able to finish only a quarter of the plate.

Those who don’t possess a mouth full of sweet teeth might be more interested in the more traditional French toast ($11) or waffles ($11). These two dishes manage to combine superior simplicity with a flair of individuality.

The waffles, for instance, are delicious and fluffy by themselves. But chunks of bacon brittle sprinkled on top transform them into something marvelous.

One tip, though: use either the bacon brittle or the maple syrup with your butter.

Both are a little too much sugar.

The French toast, on the other hand, is fruity and refreshing. The perfectly cooked pieces are paired with cranberry sauce (topped off with whole cranberries and orange zest) and an orange creme topping.

Other brunch options are the biscuit, bacon and gravy ($10.50), the grilled cheese Benedict ($13) and the pork belly hash ($14).

Now, at this point I was starting to wonder if there was anything there that wouldn’t result in a heart attack when eaten regularly. It turns out there are healthier options too.

The menu offers to replace bacon with mushrooms when feasible. And there are other dishes like oatmeal ($7) or mushroom polenta ($12.50), though they aren’t nearly as tasty as the rest of the bacon-obsessed menu.

But, everything on the menu is made with fresh and sustainable ingredients. In a Sacramento Magazine article, Zoellin said, “We change the menu frequently and use whatever’s fresh. We hand-make everything. Except the bacon.”

And the best came last. Right as I was about to ask for the bill, I realized that I hadn’t tried the restaurant’s namesake and ordered a side of bacon ($4 for a regular size or $12 for three-quarter pound). Some, including me before this excursion, might say that bacon can only be so good. I mean, cooking edible bacon requires basically no culinary skills.

But this bacon was perfect. It wasn’t floppy but didn’t taste like cardboard either. The fatty parts of strips were delectably crispy, and the meaty portions were satisfactorily soft.

Despite the initial shock of the cocoa from Hades, Bacon and Butter is worthy of its popularity.

Just make sure to go with an empty stomach and to bring a pen: it’s become something of a tradition to sign your name and leave comments in the book you receive your bill in.

My comment? “Well worth the wait.”

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