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Restaurant Review: Morning Belle

Morning Belle’s waiting area – cleared out after 1:00 p.m.! Photo credit: Natalie Robbins.

A new brunch bistro, Morning Belle, opened last week Wednesday on the East Beltline; the Hawk Herald’s Jill Pierangeli, Nathan La Huis, and I visited at noon this Sunday and found ourselves pleasantly surprised.

Upon arrival, its already small lobby was made smaller by the waves of hungry post-church visitors waiting for their seats. It may have simply been the opening weekend craze, but I predict that Morning Belle’s doors will see just as many customers in the weeks to come.

One of the first things I noticed, aside from the overwhelming amount of other patrons, was the décor. White walls, wooden panels, plants draping from their pots, cute doodles on hanging chalkboards. In contrast to Twisted Rooster, the building’s previous occupant, Morning Belle’s atmosphere is much lighter and more open; the combination of high ceilings, light colors, and a myriad of windows gives the illusion of a much larger space. Every detail seemed like something straight out of a Pinterest board, from the brass lighting that hung over the bar area to the pastel coffee pitchers that rested on nearly every table. In short, it looks like exactly what you would imagine a new brunch restaurant to look like: clean, colorful, and bright.

A look at Morning Belle’s fresh new interior. Photo credit: Natalie Robbins.

Because we came in at such a busy time, there was, unfortunately, a lot of waiting; twenty minutes went by before we got seated, and another forty-five minutes went by before we got our food. Since the crowd had died down by the time we were leaving, it seems it would be a good idea to avoid coming in around noon unless you are willing to take your time and be patient for your food. But I can let you in on a spoiler: the wait will be worth it.

The “Dark Chocolate Brownie Pancakes”, filled with chunks of brownie and served with Nutella and fresh strawberries. Photo credit: Natalie Robbins.

Morning Belle’s menu offers many classic breakfast staples, but there are certainly some more creative options; if you want to step beyond your basic bacon and eggs, you can try anything from their Creme Brulee Banana French Toast to their Breakfast Chimichanga to their Glazed Doughnut Waffle. As for lunch, options are a bit more standard – salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads, many traditional but some not, make up the variety. They do advertise a decent lunch deal: you can pair any half handheld with any half salad or soup for just 8.99. Overall, the menu presents a pretty wide and unique selection, especially in the realm of breakfast.

Between the three of us, we ordered the Glazed Doughnut Waffle (9.99), the Dark Chocolate Brownie Pancakes (11.99), and the Silver Dollar Benedict (10.49). The presentation of the plates was nothing to write home about, but, of course, what matters more is the taste – and we were not disappointed, for the most part. Jill and I both found our waffles and pancakes to be lovely, with a thinly crisp outside but a warm and soft inside; Nate was satisfied with his benedict and was pleasantly surprised by the sweet cream paired with his potatoes. Some of the more unique flavor combinations, like the paprika hollandaise, did not work well, but others, like the lemon mousse, raspberry jam, and strawberries that topped the Glazed Doughnut Waffle, definitely did.

The “Silver Dollar Benedict”, a combination of poached eggs, cheesy sausage patties, silver dollar pancakes, and house potatoes, served with glaze, whipped cream, and candied pecans. Photo credit: Natalie Robbins.
The “Glazed Doughnut Waffle”, topped with a cinnamon maple glaze, lemon mousse, raspberry jam, and fresh strawberries. Photo credit: Natalie Robbins.

Whether you are looking to try something new or to enjoy something classic, Morning Belle has you covered – just be sure to time your arrival right. If you do not, no big deal; you can spend your wait time admiring the cheery decorations and taking in the upbeat atmosphere.

Morning Belle

Address: 1600 E Beltline Ave NE
Phone:  616-301-8171
Hours: open daily, 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Website: morningbellebrunch.com (menu)

Food

Price

Atmosphere

Service

Natalie


★★★★

Morning Belle has taken chocolate chip pancakes to a new level by adding in chunks of brownie and smothering it with a layer of Nutella – obviously not the healthiest meal on the menu, but definitely delicious and indulgent.

 


★★★★

Overall, prices seemed fairly reasonable, especially when comparing similar restaurants in the area. The quality of the food merits the prices set, and many dishes were two meals’ worth of food. There is not a single meal priced over 12.99.


★★★★

Although charming, the interior is just a tad tacky and unoriginal. However, since it is a brunch restaurant, it can get away with a lighter, cutesier feel than most other kinds of restaurants.  


★★★★

The obvious problem is the wait, which, considering it was at noon on opening weekend, was hard to avoid. Otherwise, everyone on the staff was friendly and attentive.

Jill

★★★★

The glazed doughnut waffle was amazing! The waffle just a bit crispy and the toppings worked together in an interesting way. The lemon mousse was light and zesty, the raspberry jam was tangy and flavorful, the strawberries were fresh and juicy, and the glaze was creamy and sweet. The creative flavor combination was a success.

★★★★

The prices were relatively cheap for the quality and quantity. Most breakfast dishes were $8-$12.

★★★★☆

The decor was cute and there was a lot of space. While the majority of the space was white, there were pops of color and plants throughout the restaurant. It looked a bit like a mom who spends a lot of time on Pinterest decorated it.

★★★★☆

The wait was very long for a table and food, but since it was opening weekend around noon the wait was expected. The hosts and waitresses were kind and professional.

Nathan

★★★★☆

They were ambitious with their flavor combinations, and every once in a while it seemed like it failed. It’s not always bad to stick to traditional flavors.

★★★

For the amount of food given and its quality, the price was not bad. I wouldn’t, however, want to spend my money there every weekend.

★★★★

The interior was cute yet a little cliché.

★★★★☆

Those that worked there seemed genuinely passionate about what they create.