the big egg

family restaurant

The Big Egg is back, right down to the nostalgic, egg-shaped menus. The celebrated eatery opened at 6 a.m. Monday. Once known as the after-hours place to go, the restaurant reopened at its former location, 5107 Detroit Ave., Cleveland.

The new owners, brothers Jimmy and Ahmad Lababidi, both of Cleveland, said they Open24-hour dining on , Fridays and Saturdays.

"We want to get the right crew working," said Jimmy Lababidi. "Plus, people start going out again in the spring." Meanwhile, to mark its opening, the restaurant will offer five dinners, each $4.99, until the end of March.

Jimmy Lababidi said he has been flooded with calls about the opening date since news of the return of the place where "the egg is king" broke in December.

In an earlier article, there was some confusion on the part of a former owner as to the original name of the restaurant. The restaurant opened in 1952 as the Egg Palace. The name was changed to the Big Egg in 1970, when Cleveland police officer Bobby Dunn bought the business. That's when it got the reputation as the place to go for cops, insomniacs and anyone else needing some late-night grub.

For more information, call the restaurant at 216-281-1600.

The Big Egg, former late-night fave in Cleveland, reopens

By Emily Hamlin, The Plain Dealer

February 17, 2009, 2:00PM

More than seven years have passed since Big Egg Family Restaurant, a 24-hour breakfast joint, closed its doors on the Detroit Shoreway. It wasn’t that the restaurant suffered from a lack of patrons; the Big Egg had developed a loyal following by offering good food on the cheap. Not so abundant was an adherence to standard sanitation practices. After being cited for a number of health violations, the Cleveland Health Department pulled the plug on what was then a Cleveland staple.

Fast forward to the present, and the Big Egg is taking another crack at the restaurant business. New owners Jimmy and Ahmad Labadibi received permission from the previous owners to retain the name, and although the décor may be different—it underwent renovations when a Vietnamese restaurant moved in—the great food and friendly service remains.

Food: If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why should it only be enjoyed once? That theme rests at the heart of the Big Egg philosophy, something that will immediately be apparent as you begin to peruse through the giant egg-shaped menu. Despite an impressive collection of salads, sandwiches and even seafood, it’s heavily dominated by breakfast fare, which, praise the breakfast gods, you can order all day long. Traditionalists will take solace in familiar favorites like scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and pancakes, which you can order a la carte or in various combination platters.

If you like a little more protein in your diet, there are also a number of egg and meat entrées, such as the pork chop and egg, the porterhouse and egg or the ham steak and egg. Omelets are another solid pick, including more creative takes like the Greek (gyro, onions, peppers and feta) or the behemoth Big Egg (onions, peppers, tomato, bacon, sausage, ham, mushrooms and cheese).

For the ultimate Big Egg experience, order the 2x4, a playful combination of two eggs any style, two pancakes, two pieces of sausage and two pieces of bacon. The pancakes will be mouth-watering, the eggs fluffy, the bacon that perfect spot between crispy and soft, and the sausage, despite an unusual casing crunch, downright delicious. And at $4.99, it’s meal that can’t be beat.

Breakfast specials: While everything on the Big Egg menu is very reasonably priced, the savvy shopper will love the jaw-droppingly cheap daily breakfast specials. Get two large eggs any style with a heaping dose of hash browns for only $2.29. Substitute the hash browns with a breakfast meat and the meal will cost you $3.29. More of a hot cakes person? Order up three for just $2.99. If those deals sound enticing, just make sure to keep your eye on the clock. Unlike the all-day breakfast dining, these specials only are served from 6-11 a.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Service: You’ve heard of service with a smile? At Big Egg, you’ll be treated to breakfast with a smile—which the waitresses actually proclaim every time they bring out your meal. “Here’s your farmer’s skillet! Breakfast with a smile!” they’ll sing. A bit cheesy, yes. But sometimes it’s just nice to be served a dose of cheer along with your meal.

Décor: While the menu isn’t lacking any character—it’s shaped like a giant egg!—the Big Egg’s décor leaves something to be desired. The place is essentially one big seating area, divided with a center partition. A number of booths line the walls, upholstered with an abstract, pastel pattern that screams 1992. Tables fill the center floor, with heavy iron-backed chairs for seating. One design plus: sunlight. Two walls with end-to-end windows allow for maximum daylight from dawn until dusk.

24-hour: Come morning, noon or night, the old Big Egg was always open. While the reincarnation opens at a respectable 6 a.m., plans to expand to 24-hour operation are in the works.

Bottom line: If you like delicious, low-maintenance breakfast food at an affordable price, take a crack at the Big Egg Family Restaurant.