Breakfast fans, particularly of the French toast persuasion, rejoice.
Blue Moon Cafe and Blue Moon Too, the popular breakfast eateries in Fells Point and Federal Hill, respectively, are unveiling 16 new menu items this month, including more than a dozen types of French toast.
Highlights include: a strawberry shortcake French toast made with English muffins and fresh strawberries; savory smoked salmon French toast; angel face French toast made with angel food cake, mimosa syrup and champagne whipped cream with fresh strawberries and oranges; and a a bikini french toast made with sprouted grain bread, egg whites, granola, fresh berries, Greek yogurt and local honey.
The new offerings will debut Nov. 28, which is National French Toast Day.
A variety of pancakes will also be added to the menu — lemon strawberry pancakes and pumpkin pancakes highlight the list — as well as the option to customize any egg dish into a scramble, quesadilla or omelet.
Most menu items will see about a $1 price increase — a first in six years, according to owner Sarah Simington.
“We're not going to skimp. I use the best quality ingredients that we can,” Simington said while launching into an explanation about the cost of her new crab dip French toast, which features crab chip encrusted toast topped with house made crab dip, tomatoes and a lemon slice. “That's not cheap. That's not the Blue Moon way. We are quality driven.”
Simington is also pondering the future of the business, including expanding through a food truck or opening a third location in the northern part of the city.
"I originally wanted to push to open 10 restaurants in 10 years," she recalled. "But I also want to enjoy life. This winter is about soul searching and working things out. There will be a Blue Moon 'three' coming in a year or so. I'll work on connecting with staff and myself and digging really deep.”
Needing to change the menu is an inevitable reality in Baltimore’s ever-growing restaurant scene, Simington said.
"There are so many breakfast options," she said. "In order to stay relevant, you have to keep pushing the boundaries. Everybody wants to try the new place. You want them to keep coming back. You want to give them something that they can't get anywhere else."
Simington has been thinking about expanding the menu since she opened Blue Moon’s Federal Hill location two years ago.
"It started organically," she said. "It has helped keep my creative juices going. Twenty-one years ago, there were not a lot of brunch options when I opened Blue Moon. I consider myself a pioneer. But now I need to keep up. It's fun. It's my artwork."
Simington is also considering more television appearances (she’s appeared on several Food Network shows, as well as NBC’s “Food Fighters”). Simington said she's been approached to appear on a "couple different" shows.
"There's always something on the horizon," she said with a laugh. "And lord knows I love the TV camera. And so far it seems to like me too."