^ Owner Sara Ernest mugs beside the “86” board.


There are two reasons people love Early Birds Breakfast in St Louisville.

#1 You cannot find a better home-cooked, short ordered, pan gravied, piled up, original, classic red, white and blued breakfast anywhere else in the county.

#2 all of the above plus, free entertainment.

#3 and love, everybody gets love.


^ That’s owner Elizabeth Ernest at the top expediting the orders and managing the griddle. There is a steady lineup of no fewer than 15 orders on the board in front of her.

This morning I am here for all of these reasons but mostly to soak in the free entertainment. The entertainment comes from the staff. Just watch and listen. I have heard people describe this as improvised modern dance. To me, it feels more like game day and I have a sideline VIP pass with one of the privileged four stools facing the short order action. Game on.


^ The first thing you do at Early Birds is get your name on the wait list.


I count at least twelve staff in uniform this morning. They are setting picks, dodging, block and tackling, calling signals, and laying down a full court press in a game with no time outs. The whistle don’t blow until the last ticket is closed. It is beautiful thing to experience.

It is late Sunday morning when I arrive. I got signed in on the wait-list board and ask Sara (who doesn’t love Sara?) for a seat at the counter. My plan was to order either the Chicken Fried Chicken (its technically brunch because it comes with eggs, grits and gravy) or a Tot Stack. Those plans got derailed when it was insisted that I order the special, a BLT Pile Up. “You can order off the menu anytime,” she said. “The BLT Pile Up is only here today.”

bltstack 1
^ This is not a big salad with creamy dressing. This is a BLT Pile Up.  WTF it's good.


Pay attention. The BLT Pile Up is a deconstructed BLT sandwich layered open face with 2 pieces of toast with mayo (yes, mayo), topped with fried eggs, smothered with pan gravy then piled with lettuce and tomato. I earned clean plate honors this morning if that tells you anything.


^ Everything is kept old-school here. Orders are hand-written on tablets, Casio calculators tap out the totals, and receipts get stabbed on a skewer when closed. There are lots of receipts.


It’s about 12:55 when the last order goes out to the tables. High fives and hugs are shared in the kitchen. These teammates know what they accomplished and I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to witness this crew up close. They played a good game today.



^ Yep.


sara elizabeth

^ Sara and Elizabeth Ernest.

Early Birds Breakfast
8290 Mount Vernon Rd
Saint Louisville
(740) 745-2987

Wed-Fri 5:30am-11:30am
Sat & Sun 7:00am-12:30pm



Author: Barnstorm
About me
Been there and ate that.
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Celebrating the diverse food experiences in Licking County, Ohio from restaurants, food trucks, purveyors, growers, brewers and distillers. Know your food and the people making it. Eat local. Drink local. Enjoy local.

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