Purple Onion: Good Things are Worth the Wait. This Breakfast Wasn't.

Purple Onion
1838 Irving Blvd.

Promised Delivery Time:
20 minutes
Actual Delivery Time: 50 minutes

Getting my favorite meal of the day delivered to work: 50
Getting that meal 30 minutes late: -20
Big menu, small prices: 20
Short-tempered employee: -10
Lingering scent of French toast: 10
Hangover almost cured: 20
Stomach still growling: -10
Total: 60

Last night, thousands of runners and fans alike gathered at Reverchon Park for the annual Katy Trail 5K. As someone who can't run a mile without mandatory cigarette breaks, I knew my time would best be served hanging out at the beer tent, cheering on the sweaty throngs of runners and drinking a foamy Michelob Ultra. The event was packed with local restaurants offering free samples of their fare, but despite filling up on all the goodies, I woke up this morning with a growling stomach and throbbing head. There was no time to make breakfast or head to a fast-food joint, so I perused the delivery menus on my fridge, hoping that I could find a lunch place that delivered early enough to the Observer headquarters. A menu from Purple Onion promised free delivery and breakfast served until 3 p.m. It also promised "good home cooking and friendly service." That sounded like a good cure for my hunger and hangover.

I could tell the restaurant was busy as the woman who took my order hurried our conversation and interrupted me to talk to customers there, but she quoted me a delivery time of 20 minutes. I had a fairly large order of breakfast sandwiches, eggs and sausage, and French toast for myself and some colleagues, so I figured 20minutes was a decent estimate on a delivery from a restaurant so close to the office. I'm a patient and understanding person -- occasionally -- so I didn't complain when the food still hadn't appeared after 50minutes. Had it been forgotten? I placed a call to the restaurant, and the same woman who took my order answered and immediately spouted off, "He's there!" before I could get a word in. A few minutes later, the delivery guy arrived with bags of warm food, giving me the impression that my order wasn't prepared until after the promised delivery time had lapsed. By the way, no one apologized for the 30-minute delay.

The scrambled eggs were fluffy and a little greasy, but that's the way I like my eggs on mornings like today. The overcooked sausage patties tasted like the kind you'd find at any greasy spoon, and the hash browns were dry and flavorless. My French toast was a rubbery disappointment. I wouldn't have minded the 50 minute wait had my breakfast been better, but at least it was cheap. Eggs, sausage, hash browns, and French toast were less than five bucks. My colleagues said their breakfast sandwiches -- egg, cheese and bacon served on toast -- were comparable to breakfast from the deli in the office building. Now, that should tell you something. Purple Onion also serves lunch items like hot sandwiches and chicken-fried steak. I may give them a second chance, but this time I'd like a little more friendly service and a lot more home cooking.

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Elizabeth Bair
Contact: Elizabeth Bair