A Visit To Yolklore
Life is sunny side up at Crestwood, Missouri’s new breakfast eatery.
Not being a morning person, I decided to get my official review visit to Yolklore over with bright and early, to cut my chances of having to interact with anyone. I underestimated. Customers of all ages were filing in just after the doors unlocked at 7am on a Saturday. I pulled my baseball cap lower and joined the flow.
Thanks to my actual first visit a few weeks earlier (when I’d only braved the drive-thru), I already knew that the staffers were cheerful harbingers of a new day. It probably helps that co-owners Mary and John Bogacki and Billy Oziransky set the tone because they’re enthusiastic about the family-friendly hours after their combined experiences at the Four Seasons, Old Warson Country Club, Strange Donuts and other restaurants around the country and the world.
Then again, maybe personalities play a role too. I remember Mary Bogacki chatting with the crowds waiting at the Maplewood Strange Donuts around 9 o’clock at night early on in her stint there as corporate chef. On my Saturday morning visit, it was who Ozairansky circulated through the fast-casual restaurant’s dining room to greet diners and deliver take-out bags.
The trio opened Yolklore at the end of July after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised more than $20,000. Their varied backgrounds—in everything from butchery to pastries—braid together into a unique line of entrees and treats.
Baked and griddled
Traditionalists who want a diner-style meal will find it in the Classic Breakfast: a couple of eggs with bacon or sausage plus potatoes and a buttermilk biscuit with sage-sausage gravy. This option is even more tempting if you spot the huge pot of freshly made gravy on the stove while you place your order. But you might also notice the equally huge pot of meat chili, which would lead you to the Billy the Kid breakfast sandwich. Named for Oziransky, it’s a hearty (and somewhat messy) combo of sausage, fried egg, cheddar and chili on a ciabatta bun.
The Bogackis each have their own sandwich too. The Mary B.E.A.R. adds a sweet touch of apple butter to savory brie, pickled red onions, arugula and a soft-boiled eggs. Johnny Ham Hands—my personal favorite—takes a thick ham steak and tops it with a fried egg, garden greens and “devil sauce” on a puffy gougère. The sauce provides a gentle, slow burn, not unwelcome when you’re trying to wake up both your brain and your taste buds.
On the simpler end of the entree spectrum, there are palm-sized pancakes and syrup (either maple or seasonal fruit) and baked oatmeal with fruit on the bottom. On the more complex end, there’s the Nest Egg, a quiche-style dish in a biscuit crust with cheddar, bacon, eggs, pickled red onion and preserved lemon, and the Mushroom Frittata with eggs, goat cheese, tomato jam and greens.
Weekend brunch specials are planned, but for now, as one staff member quipped, the regular menu is special enough for them.
Kids can choose from pancakes or a PB and banana sandwich, grilled cheese or an egg-pancake-meat combo—or they can order from the a la carte side dish menu. All the kid meals come with a side cup of seasonal fruit and melon. Be forewarned, it has “green stuff.” No matter how many times I told my kids it was just basil that added delicious flavor to the sugar syrup on the fruit, they were not impressed by this culinary touch. I, on the other hand, would choose it any day over the side of roasted seasoned potatoes, tasty as they were.
Brewed and squeezed
Caffeination comes via Dubuque Coffee Co. or Mighty Leaf teas. The coffee drinks are more extensive than a typical diner’s—there’s an Americano, a latte, a cappuccino and an iced coffee—but the focus is on the chefs rather than baristas. Then again, there’s something to be said for grabbing a tin cup off the rack by the counter and filling it up yourself, as many times as you want. Just like you would at home.
The milk is from Rolling Lawns Farm in Greenville, Illinois, a fourth-generation dairy that recently left its co-op and started marketing its wares independently. The juices are fresh-squeezed from boxes and boxes of oranges and grapefruits. The smoothies are also fresh, with berries or beets or kale or, this time of year, a seasonal special of peach and blackberry.
Frosted and sweetened
One of my family’s favorites on the Yolklore menu is the homemade blueberry Pop-Tart, with a flaky crust and the perfect amount of icing. The chocolate cake for breakfast is a good idea in concept, but you’d have to love mornings a lot more than I do to fully appreciate its moist richness at such an early hour. Ditto the crème puffs, much as I love them. Scones and coffee cakes were more my speed.
The cakes are a perfect showcase for Mary Bogacki’s mastery of all things sweet, and it’s a wonderful perk that you can order them whole for special occasions through the restaurant. Besides what’s on the daily menu, there are gooey butter cakes, cheesecakes and chocolate chunk cookie cakes.
I left humming “Supernatural Thing” by Superbreak from the restaurant’s playlist and watching the sun break above the trees. Yolklore didn’t magically convert me into a morning person, but the combination of positive vibes, spicy breakfast sandwiches and groovy tunes did put me on the road to a fabulous day.
Tips for a top-notch experience at Yolklore
Top dish: Johnny Ham Hands for its tasty combination of ham, egg, fresh greens and spicy sauce.
Popular pour: Fresh-squeezed oj with a tin cup of coffee.
Best place to perch: The communal table if you’re feeling social; the bar at the back if you’re not.
Insider tip: Don’t be daunted by the crackly drive-thru microphone—the food is worth the slight inconvenience of having to speak slowly and loudly first thing in the morning.
Where to go
8958 Watson Road
Kitchen hours: Mon-Fri 6am-2pm, Sat.-Sun. 7am-3pm
Photo by Amy De La Hunt.