The Gertz Girlz are bird lovers. You might even say extreme bird lovers. One of us is the loving mother of a 29-year-old cockatiel. Another not only finds daily joy in feeding birds, but she even had the nickname “Birdie” at one time. For these, and other more gastronomic reasons, it seems fated that we would eventually pay a visit to The Purple Finch Café in Bedford, New Hampshire.
Yes, I’ve been a parrot parent to my cockatiel Arnie since he hatched on April 15, 1989. Tax Day. And he’s been taxing me ever since! But I love him dearly. And now I can say I love the Purple Finch Café!
This café has consistently won the Best Breakfast Place for the last several years (voted via customer polls) in the Manchester area. I kept reading about them in both NH Magazine and The Hippo, two local publications that take food pretty seriously. We took advantage of their “call ahead” service and set off on a beautiful Sunday morning recently. Walking into a busy café, made cheerful with splashes of purple and lime green throughout, we noted stencils of little purple finches which charmingly make appearances throughout. In addition to tables in the dining area, you can also request a seat at the breakfast counter which has a large tv screen, where on this morning you could watch Ina Garten cook up a storm, while you ate your own delicious meal.
One of the highlights of our visit was possibly the friendliest and most pleasant servers we’ve ever encountered – a smiling woman named Linny. She came to our table right away and let us take our time with the menu, answering questions and bringing our beverages to us in seconds. The menu takes a while to peruse as you have your choice of both breakfast and lunch menu items.
At 11am it’s usually a toss up for me. I decided on the Avocado Toast $8 (A slice of wheat toast topped with mashed avocado, sliced tomato, a poached egg, feta crumbles & scallions. Served with a cup of fresh fruit). Except could I make a few changes? Special orders don’t upset them. I swapped out the fresh fruit for a side of their amazing Sweet Potato Dots (think tater tots only healthier) which come with a little cup of real maple syrup for dipping. Also, could you hold the feta crumbles? No problem.
When our food arrived, I got exactly what I ordered PLUS “would I mind trying a new dish the chef is trying out and telling us which of the two you prefer?” Being the helpful human being that I am, I was happy to oblige. The experimental dish was similar but more interesting: An English muffin topped with mashed avocado, field greens flavored slightly with a light Greek dressing, topped with a perfectly cooked poached egg. Outstanding.
I let Linny know it was my favorite of the two and asked what the name of it was. The newborn didn’t have a name yet, so Linny rushed back to the kitchen to ask the Chef and came back triumphant – “The Arcadian Avo”. Pass the cigars, this one is special! So glad we could be there for this proud moment.
As I mentioned in our Parker’s Maple Barn entry, when out for brunch I go for Eggs Benedict whenever possible. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Purple Finch has not one, but three types of Eggs Bennie (WOOT! WOOT!) but for this visit I decided to fight the urge and try something different.
How do I love brunch? Let me count the ways! Choices, choices and more choices! Purple Finch doesn’t disappoint with its inventive yet down-to-earth menu and there were so many dishes that attracted me. Among many contenders, the finalists were Breakfast Nachos, the Cowboy Breakfast Burrito (yes, big Mexican food fan), The Breakfast Caprese and the Chicken Corden Bleu Stacker.
And the winner is (insert drumroll)…the Breakfast Caprese!
If you’re a fan of the salad, you’ll love the sandwich, unless you’re a vegan or vegetarian. This is an egg sandwich that made me think of what might happen if a BLT and a caprese salad had a baby. Served on a grilled ciabatta roll, the tomatoes were bright red and juicy, the field greens crisp and varied, the bacon thick and spot-on crispy. Instead of fresh mozzarella, they use a basil infused cream cheese, which I think helps make it easier to handle. It’s not super large, but things tend to slide around in a stacked sandwich with a lot going on. This one held it together well; though I did have to ask for extra napkins, I didn’t look undignified getting it into my mouth.
The shredded hash browns I ordered from a choice of sides were crispy on the top and tender on the bottom. Potato perfecto! They weren’t seasoned, which I prefer. I like to control my own salt and pepper.
As Lisa mentioned, our waitress was friendly and enthusiastic. I got the feeling that she eats at Purple Finch on her days off! I know I would. I could easily try EVERYTHING on their menu, and that has never happened in all my many, many years of dining out. DeeLish!
I really liked this place. It’s clean and bright and they even have a small coloring corner set up to keep the little kids quiet so I can focus on my Instagram scrolling.
The menu has some great choices. I ordered the Finch-wich: A breakfast sandwich with fried egg, cheddar cheese, sausage patty and hashbrowns on a grilled bagel. It usually comes served with the house-made Sweet Potato Dots, but I swapped those out for a side of seasoned homefries and bacon. Delish! The sandwich with those crispy hashbrowns is a brilliant combo and the thick bacon was a solid 10.
Gertz Girlz Final Dish:
After we left the Purple Finch Café, we took a peek at their Take-Out Menu which we grabbed on the way out. We discovered the genesis of the café – Jeff and Julie, who met in the food industry while they were working their way through college at UNH, and decided to build a breakfast-serving nest together six years ago. Kudos to the Lovebirds!
There are many more items we want to try including a soup special, Scallop & Bacon Chowder, and every one of their unique sandwiches and salads! When the weather gets chilly we’d like to try The Harvest French Toast – Three slices of golden French toast topped with fire roasted cinnamon apples, cranberries, walnuts, powdered sugar and whipped cream!
We will be returning to the Purple Finch Café because of the great experience and, because, you know “Birdz of a Feather?!”