Rick and Ann's in Elmwood and Bette's Oceanview Diner on Fourth Street are both beloved breakfast and brunch establishments in Berkeley with a cult-like following. Criticizing someone else's favorite may cause me to lose esteem in your eyes. I get that.
But I gotta be honest here. The hands-down best place for breakfast (if I can get in) is Bette's Oceanview Diner. I have cajoled, tricked, flirted, and phoned ahead. I have sent my husband as an advance scout, and I have finagled a table in the rain by tricking some tourists (ok, I am kidding about that one, but you get me?).
If I have 20 minutes, I will opt for the apple brandy souffle pancake. If I don't, I'll take a special. Or something “plain” like pancakes or eggs. Because it is all phenomenal. Yes, it's pricey. Yes, it's crowded. Yes, it's worth it.
In my love letter to Bette's as a place for rookie parents, I mention that if your baby gets you up before 6:30, you should run — not walk — to Bette's because they, too, are up at the crack of dawn.
And on the other side of town, there seems to be a whole different set of folks blindly devoted to the many charms of Rick and Ann's. Similar to Bette's, there is a cute children's clothing and toy shop adjacent where you can kill a few minutes while waiting for your table (if it is open at the crack of dawn when you try to go, which it won't be). Similar to Bette's, there is a Peet's across the way to keep you caffeinated if there's a line. And similar to Bette's there will be a line if you time your visit incorrectly.
But, as for the food, meh. It just doesn't do it for me. It is only ok.
The restroom is a huge pain in the butt to get to with a diapered baby or toddler (outdoors, needs a key, always damp).
So, what do you think?? Can we still be friends?
Coming soon… my hipster diner smackdown for parents!