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DINING: Chicago-based Yolk changes the way CityWay does breakfast

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Dining - A&E

Breakfast is the easiest meal to create at home. Even Dustin Hoffman in “Kramer vs. Kramer” figured out how to make French toast.

But there’s a certain energy to a bustling breakfast restaurant that can’t be replicated in your kitchen—a spirit that lets you forget you are paying more for a few eggs, a couple of slices of bread and a shot glass of orange juice than you would for a carton, a loaf and a gallon for home consumption.

The newest downtown breakfast spot, Yolk (220 E. South St., 632-9655), comes to Indy by way of Chicago, where a single spot in the South Loop area grew to five locations before branching out to Indy for its first venue beyond Windy City borders.

Its Chicago prices could use a little modification at CityWay: A simple pair of eggs, for instance, run—so to speak—$6.79 at Yolk vs. $5.75 at Le Peep or $5.39 at Lincoln Square. But this bright, friendly, pay-at-the-register eatery has a few surprises to help mitigate the cost. Sure, Yolk has the expected egg, waffle, pancake and French toast combos. But there’s also a bevy of Benedicts (including the Irish Benny with corned beef hash), a carload of crepes (the Zamboni Crepes have ham and spinach) and a fair number of Frittatas.
 

ae-yolk-7main-15col.jpg Yolk’s unique spin on a breakfast staple: Red Velvet French Toast. (IBJ Photo/ Eric Learned)

I tried the Santa Fe Frittata ($10.99, which includes toast, pancakes or English muffins). Here, among the eggs, avocado and multiple cheeses, the diced red potatoes were cooked just right—not mushy or hard—the bacon pieces were substantial instead of mere crumbles, and the jalapenos and green onion balanced nicely in the sizable baked mix. My companion’s Red Velvet French Toast ($9.99) was more dessert than breakfast, but in a world where Dunkin’ Donuts thrives, that’s not terribly unusual. What is unusual is cutting into French toast—red French toast—that oozes cream cheese. Strawberries and whipped cream on top giveth and taketh away any sense of healthfulness.

If this is all too adventurous for you, there’s always the Yolk 2x2x2x2 Combo ($8.79) to fall back on, offering duos of eggs, bacon and sausage supplemented by the choice of a pair of pancakes, slices of French toast, waffles or crepes.

ae-yolk-62nd-1col.jpg Yolk serves breakfast until 3 p.m. (IBJ Photo/ Eric Learned)

Breakfast can—and should—be ordered until 3 p.m. closing time. But there are lunch options, too, including a hearty Pot Roast Sandwich ($10.99) with an ample supply of meat slices and melted cheese ably supported by grilled sourdough bread.

Like any breakfast spot, the atmosphere depends on when you visit. The brightly colored Yolk, with its Tetris-like interior design, can be a quiet place to get some work done or take a leisurely business meeting. A half-hour later, it can transform into a chaotic jumble of clanging dishes, loud families, and when-am-I-going-to-get-my-check impatience. That said, with Eli Lilly and Co. within sight, construction going on across South Street, CityWay residents to feed, and the Alexander Hotel attracting out-of-towners, Yolk is a welcome addition to a growing area. Now pass the syrup.•

–Lou Harry

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  • YOLK
    YOLK gets a C- from me . Food took 35 mins for 4 of us. Server was slow . Bad Location, hard to find a place to park . and most of all i found it to be not worth the price . I'M Huge Fan of Market Table at the Hotel right nextdoor i guess ill go back . Much better value for your price . ALL YOU CAN EAT .
  • Thank Goodness for Yolk!
    The food and service are well worth the price, IMO. We got hooked on Yolk a few years ago during pilgrimages to Chicago, when we would start each day there. We've been there twice since they opened here. Excellent both times. Will be a weekly or bimonthly stop for us.
  • ate there yesterday
    Ate at Yolk yesterday with friends. Overall, the food was good. One of the tablemates didn't like the pancakes (too cakey). Bacon waffle was great. Service still needs a bit of work (we had a new server, not one of the owners). I'll give the place another couple of weeks and go back for a second try. I would recommend Yolk!
  • Very Good
    Had brunch there with a friend last weekend. The atmosphere was cool, the service was great and the food was EXCELLENT! I didn't really find the prices to be too bad - certainly not considering the portion sizes (I couldn't clear my plate, which is rare). It was also very nice to see the owner behind the counter and the owners wife in the front of the house waiting tables (she was our server- and very nice).

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