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Egg (and Cheese) Hunting

January 4, 2012

The egg and cheese sandwich on a hard roll, it’s a classic. Now there are surely some people reading who are native to New Jersey but find themselves in this far northeasterly outpost of civilization. And they may feel like the Garden State has cornered the market on this particular breakfast sandwich.

If you add Taylor ham and saltpepperketchup then it’s an inarguable point. But I’m not willing to cede the basic egg and cheese just yet. Or even the hard roll.

Despite what it seems, I’m not proposing an interstate Tour de Egg Sandwich, although I am indeed proposing a regional one. Really, it was Jess who suggested it way back in October. However, this tour is not going to be without its challenges. In the end we will certainly have a better sense of the form and a determination about which is the best of the five we sample. Although there will be worthy venues that will unfortunately be left on the sidelines.

Today I’m taking nominations. You have until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday to submit any qualified venues. What qualifies? Good question.

First, let me share the starting points suggested by Jess, and the problems they present.

Jack’s Diner
Dan’s Two Place
Iron Gate
Hamilton St. Cafe
Miss Albany Diner
*The Buttery Restaurant (could be subbed in and is still in the neighborhood)

This downtown Albany centric list makes a lot of sense. Primarily because an egg and cheese sandwich is a workday breakfast special. It’s got carbs, fat and protein to give you the energy to get through the day, it’s portable, and if it sits around too long it gets cold but doesn’t go bad. Oh yeah, it is also dirt cheap, so you can eat them every day and not break the bank.

Downtown has a dense concentration of workers, and thus plenty of places for a workweek breakfast. What downtown doesn’t have is a lot going on Saturday mornings.

A few of these places are closed or have gussied up brunch menus for the weekend. Jess had her heart set on the Hamilton St. Cafe, but regrettably that cannot happen. Because as far as I can tell they are not open on Saturday morning.

For better or for worse, the Tour de Egg Sandwich will commence on a Saturday morning. The start and end times will be determined by the business hours and locations of the participating venues. But I really really hope we don’t have to start too early.

Here’s the other thing.

The egg and cheese sandwich has to be on a hard roll. Not a Portuguese muffin, bagel or croissant. A hard roll is required for entry. This hard-roll thing is a northeastern regional phenomenon, and that’s part of my interest in the tour, to suss out variations of the roll between different purveyors.

Iron Gate Cafe does not list a hard roll as one of their egg sandwich options. You know who does though? Stewart’s. And frankly I think having a Stewart’s stop on the tour is a solid idea because they too are a regional chain, and their egg and cheese sandwich feeds more hungry mouths than all the others combined.

So do not be shy of nominating a Stewart’s, although I do request you specify a location.

The good news is that there are egg-and-cheese-on-hard-roll purveyors all over the place. Teri Conroy, one of the Times Union’s prolific bloggers, wrote about a joint in Altamont called Reddy’s that I had never heard of before. But apparently people on Urbanspoon love the place. Reddy’s could easily be a contender.

But I am an interloper in these fair parts. Even after my years in the region it is unreasonable to expect that I would know where to get a great egg and cheese sandwich on a Saturday morning. Which is why, as usual, I’m opening the Tour de Egg Sandwich up for nominations.

Hopefully you are all as excited about this as I am. Because I think I could use some help eating my way through all those eggs. Details as to dates will be forthcoming. But for now, I just want to hear about your favorites.

Ready. Set. Go.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2012 11:29 am

    While my favorite place to get an egg sandwich is Bell’s Pond Diner, that’s 40 miles away. Definitely not downtown-friendly. However! I will wholeheartedly get behind your Stewart’s recommendation. I’ve had good luck at my local, the 16 NSA location.

    Sigh. Now I want one for breakfast.

  2. Jess permalink
    January 4, 2012 12:09 pm

    I’ll nominate Famous Lunch on Congress St. in Troy. I’ll second you on a Stewart’s sandwich. I’m unfamiliar with Albany locations.

  3. January 4, 2012 12:16 pm

    I’m afraid of the Tour de Egg Sandwich…I wouldn’t want to eat so many egg sammys that I get sick of them.

    I’m not at all qualified to make a nomination. I eat a homemade two-egg sammy for breakfast every morning so I almost NEVER order one when I’m out (since I’m looking to change it up when I eat out). I’ll be interested to see the final list of places.

  4. Kerosena permalink
    January 4, 2012 12:42 pm

    Two Stewart’s locations worth nominating:
    -New Scotland Ave. at Ontario St.- Near hospitals, state buildings, schools.
    -New Scotland Ave. at Whitehall Rd.- Seems to be a larger location.

    • January 5, 2012 8:55 pm

      I think the one on New Scotland near Albany Med is probably the closest.

  5. Deborah permalink
    January 4, 2012 12:48 pm

    Digregorio’s Bakery House- 28 Maple Ave, Albany, NY 12208; MOST day’s i’ve been they do have hard rolls, but occasionally it’s a Portuguese roll…

    Cafe 217- 12 1/2 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12208

  6. January 4, 2012 1:09 pm

    The only place I thought of right away was Stewart’s — only place I know that consistently has cheap, grab-n-go eggwiches. I’d imagine any Stewart’s would work, whichever one is nearest to the other stops.

  7. January 4, 2012 1:12 pm

    I’m stoked that this is happening! I’m so very sad about Hamilton’s Cafe, but perhaps I’ll bring you one of their “it’s 10AM and we’ve already sold out” scones to try. Again, not as good as Mrs. London’s, but pretty freakin’ good.

    Ok, I’ll investigate the hard roll requirement and nominate a few later today! Whoo-hoo!

  8. Mr. Dave permalink
    January 4, 2012 1:20 pm

    Delmar Market/mccarrols? Pretty sure they use Prinzos rolls too. The egg sandwiches are fair to middling’. Also, Stewarts must be included. You are a nonce if you don’t….

  9. Lizz permalink
    January 4, 2012 1:26 pm

    I usually don’t comment here…but McCarroll’s at four corners in Delmar is the best egg and cheese sandwich around here! I usually get mine on wheat, but they always have fresh hard rolls. It is filled with Delmar-tians every Saturday and Sunday chatting and patiently waiting for their amazing breakfast sandwiches!

  10. January 4, 2012 1:31 pm

    Might I suggest that we have a Tour buddy or buddies? That way we could cut them in half or quarters. I can’t fathom eating multiple sandwiches and I dislike throwing that amount of food away.

  11. Silvia Lilly permalink
    January 4, 2012 1:38 pm

    I think you may want to visit McCarrol’s at the Delmar Marketplace. Their breakfast sandwich has its own Facebook page and is lauded by students and grown ups alike.

  12. January 4, 2012 7:30 pm

    I’ll third McCarrol’s That bacon is KILLER!

  13. January 5, 2012 12:28 pm

    It’s not downtown Albany, but I think there can be no regional champ until Poopie’s in Glens Falls is factored into the equation. I would add that while an egg and cheese is good, the sandwich doesn’t reach its zenith until sausage is added.

    • Kerosena permalink
      January 5, 2012 2:48 pm

      Sorry, I just can’t eat at an establishment that’s named “Poopies.”

      • January 5, 2012 8:49 pm

        Ohhh, seconding docsconz. I went to high school with the owner’s daughters, and I remember sleepovers at her house meant egg and cheese sammies for breakfast the next morning! They’re my favorite – which is, admittedly, a nostalgia thing, but they really are THAT GOOD.

  14. January 5, 2012 8:51 pm

    What about The Daily Grind on Lark St? I haven’t had an egg and cheese from them in some time, but if I remember right they have a hard roll option.

    You know, somewhat off-topic, but after hearing you rave about the grilled cheese at All Good Bakers (I’m thinking about grabbing one this weekend before picking up my bread share – yum!), I would love to see an egg and cheese sandwich on their menu. Nick and Britin, are you reading??? :)

  15. January 5, 2012 11:50 pm

    @Irisira, we are definitely reading! We have thought of offering an egg/cheese sandwich option but currently lack a proper griddle to produce them quickly and correctly (and the very expensive fire supression system that would enable us to cook with gas). Some good news (filed under unofficial announcement): we have very recently confirmed plans to move our shop to 540 Delaware Ave. (in the former Chocolate Gecko space, below the Yoga Loft next to Mingle)! We’ll be expanding our hours and services, and want to add a breakfast-to-order menu. We’ll likely begin w/ weekends and hopefully grow from there! We’re still shaking out what we’ll offer and when, but I think this option would be popular! On one of Nick’s hardrolls? Yum.

    • Kerosena permalink
      January 6, 2012 1:32 pm

      Congratulations! This is excellent news!

  16. January 6, 2012 11:09 am

    For $3.17 McCarrol’s bacon, two eggs and cheese on a hard roll is tough to beat.

  17. Colleen permalink
    January 9, 2012 10:07 pm

    You have to include Bagels & Bakes on Curry Rd in Rotterdam. It is just over the border of Guilderland near exit 25 of the Thruway –actually right off Carmen Rd in Guilderland. This family owned bakery has the best egg and cheese on hard roll. My kids like to add bacon or sausage and one of them prefers the croissant to the hard roll. Bagels & Bakes is an undiscovered treasure in the Capital region.

  18. DJdubJay permalink
    January 12, 2012 4:44 pm

    Natives know that the art of the hardroll in Albany reaches it’s incontestable zenith at Nino’s Bakery. Any place not using them (FRESH) for their egg sandwiches is missing out on a perfect score.

  19. Kong Torben permalink
    January 15, 2012 1:16 pm

    When is this Tour de Eggsandwich happening? Cause I’m still looking for a great egg sandwich!

  20. January 26, 2012 5:13 pm

    I’m picking up this thread a bit late. I’m glad you didn’t choose The Buttery. It was a nice place once, but when I went there last year for a breakfast nearly everything was reheated in the microwave. In addition, a nice 1960’s interior has been plastered with crap decoration.

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