13-Seats For Breakfast & Lunch With a Hungarian Twist
By The BaldOne
On a recent Monday morning while returning from a short visit to the RMV at Liberty Tree, a stop was made at the The Little Depot Diner Located just on the edge of Peabody Square next door to the Essex County Courthouse, it has been a fixture in Peabody since 1929 when it was known as Kurly’s.
Ross and Alicia Scanlon have owned it since 2102 and market the joint as having a “fantastic blues breakfast with a Hungarian touch.” We lament that the Corton that was available under the previous ownership is no longer on the menu, but before we left I offered to drop by sometime soon to conduct a lesson in basic Corton creation.
The 13-seat counter was just about full when I entered with one of our top operatives who we refer to as “Petite fleur Sauvage.” Little Depot Diner is a favorite of hers and also a favorite of quite a few more in her social circle. She seemed determined that it too, would become a favorite of mine. The little Lionel train that runs around the high perimeter was a good start, as was the good music playing in the background.
When it comes to breakfast I am a tough nut to crack. I like the basics done well. Variations are fine but I am not a big fan of the current trend where breakfas is being turned into an exploration of odd and exotic mixtures of ingredients that sometimes just lead to confusion and chaos in the kitchen, which then reflects itself in an inconsistent product. Substance over style. Do simple first, then spread your wings.
We found two seats at the end next to a local character that turned out to be a long time regular. Making ourselves comfortable we given menus, coffee, and greeted politely. I was introduced as a “newbie” which is only true if one considers the current ownership.
The Little Depot Diner menu features all of the basics to include cleverly named offerings like the “All-Aboard and the Monte Depot.” The Eggs Benedict options include one with Shaved Steak, one with Pastrami, and a Hungarian selection. They offer a hash, but we did not explore it this time. That will be for the next visit.
I saw a Meat Loaf & Eggs on the specials board and could not resist. I can seldom, if ever not try meat loaf if I see it offered. Petite fleur Sauvage went for the House Scramble with house-made Hungarian sausage. When they offered the option of cheese for my scrambled eggs I began to fall in love with The Little Depot Diner (Ok, Alicia may also have something to do with that). We both selected the marble rye toast. Both were posted at $8.95
As Alicia re-filled my coffee we fell into conversation with Bill, the Little Depot Diner regular. He was effusive in his praise for the place, but you did need to navigate through the wise-assery that seems to come with being a regular at any of the north shores small dining spots. It’s always good to meet the real people of a community.
Breakfast came out and we wasted no time. Diligence and dedication are a requirement for this gig. As I began to eat my breakfast I suddenly found myself the recipient of some of my partners House Scramble with Hungarian sausage. This is a clear of example of the sacrifices I make to bring you these reviews.
The sausage was excellent. Each of us had scrambled eggs and they were cooked properly. Over cooked eggs will ruin any breakfast, unless of course that is how you like them. The meat loaf was good, but the next time I was ask for a little beef gravy or add a little hot sauce. The cheese, we each chose cheddar, was melted just right and there was enough to compliment the eggs without overwhelming them. Yes you read that right, the cheesy eggs were not too cheesy.
We will be back for breakfast at the Little Depot Diner again, I need too try that Pastrami Benedict and plan on trying lunch one day too.
There will also be a day soon where I will drop Alicia off some Corton. There are a few traditions out there that should survive an ownership change.