Homemade Cafe: Pepin, WI

Junior Burger
2009/08/16 13:03:21
The town of Pepin is located on Lake Pepin, which is a naturally occurring lake on the Mississippi River.  It's a small town with a lot to offer, not the least of which is the Lake Pepin Campground.  There are several restaurants in town, one of which is nationally recognized for its cuisine (Harborview Cafe).  The Homemade Cafe, located on the main street through town (WI-35) boasts made-from-scratch food, including all three meals and desserts.
We decided to go for breakfast because of the advertised weekend special of biscuits and gravy.  Now, I'm always reluctant to order this dish, because it usually doesn't measure up to my own, and is more often than not poorly executed.  It's either gruel-thin or the consistency of paste, with a taste to match.
I ordered the "biscuits and gravy breakfast", which includes two eggs and hashbrowns, figuring that if the gravy was a disaster, at least I wouldn't starve.  My spouse played it safe with an order for eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and a biscuit.  The gravy turned out to be pretty tasty:  it was obviously prepared from scratch, using the sausage drippings to create the roux, with plenty of meat in the product.  The seasoning was sage and fennel, which I found to be a nice change, although the fennel tends to be the predominate flavor.  The biscuit was somewhat doughy and needs improving, but was acceptable.  The eggs were done perfectly. 
The hashbrowns were a disappointment, unfortunately.  In my humble opinion, hashbrowns and home fries should be made from scratch for every order, not cooked en masse and shoveled to the side of the griddle to be reheated.  They were cooked through, but had a poor consistency and were not nicely browned as they should have been. 
In defense of the kitchen, they were slammed this morning with a large group of about 20 people arriving unannounced.  To their credit, they moved our order up in the queue so we wouldn't be sitting there for two hours waiting for food.  All in all, I'd give the place a 7/10 rating, and believe they will improve with age.