Top Hash in Top Hat

At Ed's #1 Cafe, half-and-half takes on a whole new meaning.

The inclusion of "#1" in the name of any business is an audacious maneuver. When that business is a diner, such audacity can be interpreted as an unspoken challenge to all other diners: Just see if your yolks hold firm on an over-medium order, Flo, and the coffee'd better come quick. While it probably doesn't serve the absolute best breakfast in town, Ed's #1 Café definitely serves the best breakfast in Top Hat, a sliver of a neighborhood that can best be described as a suburb of White Center. Top Hat's commercial core rests along First Avenue South on the golden road to Burien, anchored by Ed's, a roadhouse bar called the Barrel, and Bernie & Boys Market Place, a supermarket that touts itself as "home of the live butcher." Upon entering the store's meat market, it becomes evident that this marketing ploy is meant to signify nothing more than the fact that the butcher is, indeed, alive. Ed's has a small floor plan, fully viewable from the street by virtue of its fishbowl façade. If passersby want to judge whether Ed's customers are the best in town, well, there they are, spreading their sourdough in plain sight, a veritable Sunday-morning red-jam district. And if Ed's customers want to judge whether the cafe's cooks are truly #1, that's a similarly public affair, as the grill and its tender are both located a short distance behind a counter where customers sit. The food is fulfilling and inventive, based on what you'd expect from such a utilitarian-looking place. There's an omelet called the Malibu Barbie, which is laden with tomato and avocado. And at Ed's, half-and-half means two things: (1) a type of creamer you put in your coffee, and (2) shorthand for three strips of bacon and three sausage links rather than half a dozen of either as part of a "He-Man" order. Also included in this dish are three eggs, hash browns, and six pieces of toast, buttered as though the cook's required to blow an entire stick per order. Hence, if Ed's isn't #1, at least it's going all-out in an effort to reach such a pinnacle.

 
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