If you need respite from or just a friendly face before the daily grind, you can find them at , 7814 Forsyth Blvd. in . Rudy Sirkeci and his wife, Barbara, moved the diner to Clayton in May from its home in Ballwin.
Sirkeci began his restaurant career at the tender age of 9 in his father's restaurant in Ankara, Turkey, washing dishes while standing on egg crates.
"The sink looked so big, I was afraid I would fall in," Sirkeci joked. He arrived in the U.S. through a series of jobs on Air Force bases. Sirkeci eventually returned to the food business, managing Robata of Japan. He learned front-of-the-house restaurant operations, gaining knowledge and confidence.
"I thought, if I can manage a $2 million restaurant, I can handle a $150,000 restaurant," Sirkeci said.
The Break-N-Egg Diner building previously served as home to Lampert's Plush Pig Barbecue, which had black walls and dim decor. Break-N-Egg diner now sparkles with white walls, smooth maple-colored floors and fresh and clean furniture.
A cascade of eye-shaped amulets (nazars) hang by the kitchen. Many cultures believe they protect their owners against the evil eye. The amulets are popular in Turkey and Salonika, Greece, the city of his mother's birth. The amulets are representative of the warm and inviting old-world feeling at the diner.
Reasonable prices and generous portions entice hungry customers. The menu includes comfort foods such as eggs, pancakes, omelets, french toast, waffles and platter combinations as well as sandwiches and burgers. Sirkeci sets himself apart from the competition by offering foods that are well seasoned and properly cooked with many flavors.
The waitstaff are Lindsay Schamel, a law student, and Sheree Hagar, a native St. Louisan and mom. It's obvious they are familiar with and loyal to Sirkeci. The three of them are comfortable enough with each other to know their quirks and pet peeves.
Schamel and Hagar both suggest starting with the Greek Skillet ($6.99). The skillet, an original creation, contains layers of fresh and crispy hash browns, a generous medley of beef gyro meat, peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, topped with two eggs. If that isn't enough, it comes with a side of toast or an English muffin that is grilled with butter.
The Mediterranean Omelet ($6.99) is filled with the same ingredients, only the hash browns are served on the side. Both the skillet and the omelet had a generous portion of vegetables that required great knife skills. Sirkeci can be found in the kitchen making all of the menu items to order.
Diners with a sweet tooth can enjoy old-fashioned pancakes ($4.49), Belgian waffles ($4.99) and French toast ($4.49). The French toast is light, airy and crisped by the grill. A light sprinkling of powdered sugar makes it hard to resist.
Break-N-Egg Diner is also open for lunch, when menu options include burgers, salads and sandwiches such as gyro, chicken gyro, BLT, Reuben and more.
Stop in to say hello and welcome Sirkeci and his staff to the neighborhood.