Are you looking for a cheap place to eat Sunday brunch? I found one, but the one stipulation is that you must embarrass yourself in order to get the deal.
Buckley's Tavern is located in an old white house on Route 52 in Centerville, DE and they have a Sunday “half-price pajama brunch”. I was only up to wearing my pajamas once out of the three times I’ve visited. I would say that maybe about a quarter or less of the patrons on Sunday wear their pj’s, so check your wallet and then decide on what to wear.
About two years ago I had a to-die-for French toast at Buckley’s. It had melted chocolate between the slices of bread and an orange glaze. It really was more of a bread pudding than French toast and that’s why I almost died.
I returned last Sunday in hopes of finding the French toast, but it was M.I.A. I sadly gazed at the menu. Three of the thirteen selections were vegetarian – Belgian waffles, Johnnycakes, and an omelet. Surprisingly, six of the selections had poached eggs – the vilest form a cooked egg can come. Variety, people, variety!
I had the Belgian waffles that were supposed to come with orange scented strawberries and powdered sugar. I guess they were out of powdered sugar and orange scented strawberries. I got plain strawberries - I didn’t detect any orange - and no powdered sugar. The waffles were luke-warm and dry. I questioned whether they were made in the kitchen or bought frozen. Not a question you want your diners to ask.
My companion had the Blueberry Johnnycakes. These were moist and delicious. There were four to the stack, which was way more than he could eat. This is where you can be thrifty. Wear your pj’s, order the Johnnycakes and split them with someone. The Johnnycakes are $7.25. At half price they’re $3.63. Split that with another person and you’re eating brunch for $1.82 apiece.
Not sure if splitting a menu item will fill you up? They have a sideboard in the dinning room that has fresh fruit and mini-muffins for you to eat before your order comes. They offer melons, pineapple, and yummy little poppy seed, cranberry, and blueberry muffins.
I have also tried dinner at Buckley’s. I had a salad with pecans and peaches. The pecans were toasted too long and the peaches came out of a can. Southern cuisine pops up in their contemporary American offerings, but they definitely did the salad incorrectly. You never send a burned nut out of the kitchen and you never serve peaches from a can - unless they’ve been spiced and pickled or you’re going for Southern-low-budget. I also had a calzone with the salad. It was very dry due to a meager amount of filling and sauce.
On another occasion I had a cheese quesadilla that was perfectly fine, but it’s hard to mess up a quesadilla. I also had sweet potato fries tossed in a Szechuan salt and pepper. These were good – awesome if they had not been cut so thinly. I don’t mind a greasy fry, but cut it thick enough so that it doesn’t flop.
For me, it seems to be hit and miss with the food at Buckley’s, but I will say that the restaurant has a great atmosphere. In the spring and summer, people are crowded on the porch and roof deck after hours enjoying drinks. The dining room towards the back of the house is very cozy and romantic with dark wood and a fireplace. If you’re feeling a little grittier, you can dine and drink in the tavern at the front of the house. At least they have variety in dining atmosphere. Maybe next time around they’ll be off the poached egg kick.Buckley's Tavern, 5812 Kennett Pike, Centerville, DE, 19807, (302) 656-9776. Lunch, Monday-Friday 11:30 to 2:30, Saturday to 3. Dinner nightly, 5:30 to 9:30 or 10. Sunday, brunch 11 to 3, dinner 5 to 9.