Westside gets the Thumbs Up 

Some people consider breakfast to be an absolute waste of a meal while others will gladly eat it any time of day. If you find yourself in the latter camp, you'll be happy to know that Thumbs Up Diner (826 Marietta St., 404-745-4233, www.thumbsupdiner.com) recently expanded to the Westside.

Thumbs Up has been a longtime favorite among early (and not so early) risers for its retro digs, made-from-scratch fare and eclectic clientele. There are few discernible differences at the new location, with the exception of the spanking new furnishings and glossy plasma television mounted to the left of the counter. The seemingly identical menu includes many of the diner's signature items, such as the deliciously unorthodox multigrain biscuit – which you can order on its own ($.95) and slather with some homemade preserves, or make it a sandwich filled with apple-smoked bacon, egg and cheese ($3.40) – and "The Heap," a mound of potatoes, topped with eggs, cheddar/jack cheese and your choice of a biscuit or toast ($5.95). The one must-order is the savory and sweet soul food classic "Chicken and Waffles," crunchy, fried pieces of boneless chicken breast, a near perfect Belgian waffle, two eggs any way you want 'em and a tiny bottle of pure New England maple syrup ($9.25). Depending on your appetite, you can build a dainty or Michael Phelps-style breakfast from a long list of eggs, creamy stone-ground grits, a multitude of breakfast meats, breads and some awesome pecan pancakes. The restaurant also serves an extensive assortment of burgers, melts and sandwiches, which are decent but not as good as the breakfast items. The kitchen does get props, however, for smoking its own pork and chicken in-house.

Chock it up to newness or possessively secretive customers, but the waits have been surprisingly short. But that's unlikely to last given the number of loyal diners. If you find yourself queuing up, remember the eatery's motto: "Relax, its just eggs."


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