This may be Baltimore's cutest restaurant: Home Maid in Federal Hill is decked out in kitschy rooster wallpaper, old-time photos and mismatched tables, sort of like Pottery Barn meets Aunt Bee's kitchen.
The restaurant concentrates on breakfast with a minimalist menu that focuses on specialties like biscuits, waffles, French toast and grits. It's only open Friday through Sunday. And the style of food fits the homey decor.
"Everything is made small batch," said Derrick Faulcon, who runs the restaurant with his brother, Justin. "The recipes are my grandmother's and mom's. We made them at home."
He explains that the prep cook makes 15 biscuits, enough batter for eight waffles, and grits for 15 diners at a time. When that's gone, the staff replenishes the mixes.
"Everything is really fresh," Faulcon said. "It can be an obstacle."
For instance, if 10 people sit down at once and order waffles, the kitchen has to scramble to meet the order.
Perhaps that's what happened on our visit. We were two adults and a teenager, but it took 25 minutes to get our food — and then we got only one plate.
The other two dishes arrived at 10-minute intervals with each of us eating at different times. We wanted to enjoy the food, which was delicious, while it was hot.
It's expensive, too, with breakfast plates that have cutesy names like The Raggedy Anne (French toast) and Fat Albert (sausage gravy with a buttermilk biscuit) running from $13 to $22.
The Faulcon brothers relocated their 14-seat restaurant from Towson to a larger space on Key Highway that can accommodate 56 this spring. They take their goal of turning out homemade, scratch cooking and the extra time it involves seriously.
"Once they understand, we hope people are willing to wait," Derrick Faulcon said.
Scene & Decor The cozy cafe is homey and adorable with cheery yellow wallpaper with roosters in one section and newsprint wallpaper in another nook. Most of the dining tables are made from reclaimed pallets. There's a 10-seat counter with pendant lights if you can't nab one of the 56 seats, which fill quickly.
Appetizers: Not applicable
Entrees With the Full Monty ($17), you have a couple of choices as far as style of the two eggs (we picked over easy) and whether you want bacon or sausage (we chose sausage). We liked the spicy andouille link, though it was slightly overdone. The plate also included wonderful rosemary potatoes and a biscuit the size of a doll's head. Another dish, the Chicken n Waffle ($20), capitalized on its main components. A plate-size waffle partnered with a crispy fried chicken breast adorned with fresh thyme sprigs. A drizzle of house-made maple syrup tied it all together with a note of sweetness. The accompanying sweet potato cubes were good, but they were missing the brown sugar, cinnamon and parsley advertised on the menu. The Baltimore ($22) boasted a worthwhile jumbo-lump crab cake with two eggs, sweet potatoes and another giant, coarse-grained biscuit. Our side of turkey bacon ($4) showed up at some point during the meal, but the lackluster slices were as flabby as a thick rubber band.
Drinks: Cocktails like a mimosa with fresh-squeezed orange juice, several local beers, and four wines are available. Of the non-alcoholic choices, we enjoyed the flavorful cucumber and watermelon "lemon-aid," a refreshing drink for any time of year.
Service: Our waitress was pleasant but distracted. She didn't ask us how we wanted our eggs cooked and other choices, and forgot to bring us a carafe of water after we drained our first one during the long wait. We also had to ask another server for our grapefruit juice.
Dessert: Not applicable
Backstory: Brothers Derrick and Justin Faulcon opened Home Maid in a 600-square-foot space with 14 seats in Towson in December 2014. After 10 months, they realized they needed a larger space and relocated to Federal Hill in the spring.
Bottom line: The brothers are cooking up delicious food at their welcoming restaurant. We appreciate their attention to scratch cooking, but the experience would be a lot better if everyone at the table received their dishes at the same time.