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47 Oak Street

Three Plates  
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Marcy's Reviewed: Fall, 1999

On the corner of Oak and Free Street is a little diner style restaurant called Marcy's Breakfast and Lunch. Our friends had always tried to take us there when we came up for visits from Boston, but we had always found the tiny establishment too crowded to be seated and never got the opportunity to eat there. Although we have not gotten a chance to try Marcy's Lunch, we were ecstatic to discover this great breakfast nook in such a great location, the kind of place we had been searching for for months, ever since the unfortunate closing of our former favorite, Ye Olde Pancake Shoppe.

At 11:00 last Sunday morning, we ventured out for brunch expecting to wait in line anywhere we happened upon. Surprisingly Marcy's had no wait at all. As we ate our breakfasts, we realized we had just arrived at the perfect time, for by noontime, there was a crowd of hungry young people waiting like vultures by the door to prey upon the next empty seat. The very casual inside consisted of five crude wooden booths, a sign above each requesting that you please reserve the booths for parties of more than two, and eleven bar stools along the counter behind which we could see the waitresses and cooks preparing meals at lighting speed. We grabbed the last available booth and we were immediately greeted and offered coffee and beverages. Our very friendly waitress brought us three coffees, with a few creamers and glasses of ice water, which we hadn't ordered but were very much appreciated.

We shared the one menu that was on our table when we arrived. The front listed the breakfast items, the back had lunch selections. From what we could deter, either could be ordered at any time. Our waitress pointed out the white board above the counter that listed a few specials. The specials for this particular day consisted of Marcy's infamous Chili Omelet, for which they sell a T-shirt inscribed "Home of the Chili Omelet", for $2.95, BBQ Kielbasa Omelet, and various muffins including Raspberry, Banana and Walnut, Pumpkin, and Blueberry. Our friend could not resist the temptation of the Chili Omelet and ordered that, which came with home fries and a choice of toast, and a side of bacon ($1.50). I opted for a grilled onion bagel with cream cheese, which had been offered grilled or toasted, plain or onion, and a side of home fries ($1.00). Our other friend passed over the blueberry pancakes and ordered the buttermilk pancakes ($2.95) with yet another side of home fries. In addition to these fine selections, we could have had French toast, hash, or any one of a number of egg/toast/bacon or sausage/home fries combos.

We didn't have to wait more than ten minutes before our food arrived piping hot from the kitchen. Our waitress refreshed our coffees and left the tab on the table along with our meals. My bagel was completely doused in butter, so much that pools had collected in the nooks and crannies, and was grilled to a crispy finish. I didn't even need the little tub of cream cheese that I had ordered but I used it anyway! The bagel was great but it was so greasy I turned my napkin into a ball of shredded paper while I was eating it. The home fries were too hot to eat at first but turned out to be delicious, very greasy soft chunks mixed with little bits of crispy potatoes. The serving size was perfect and I was very satisfied after my meal. Although it did sit a little heavy in my stomach, that's what greasy spoon diners are for, perfect weekend-morning meals.

wheelchair accessible  
vegetarian selections
vegan selections  
No credit cards accepted
My friend's pancakes were huge. Three giant pancakes, each bigger than the plate they were served on, which he described as very light and flavorful, full of airy pockets, and the slightest bit crispy on the outside, possibly the best pancakes he has yet to find in Portland. They were served with a little scoop of butter and a bottle of maple syrup. He ate every morsel as well as his home fries. And our other friend found his Chili Omelet to be well worthy of the T-Shirt. He said it was amazing, and he enjoyed every last bite, but he feared what it would do to him later! He said the chili was not spicy at all and made for a great combination inside the omelet. His bacon was good, a little on the greasy side, but that seemed to be the general consensus throughout the meal.

The service was great, quick and attentive, and the meal was very satiating. Just be prepared for the greasy spoon when venturing out to Marcy's and you'll find delicious diner food at unbelievable prices. The bill totaled a mere $14.25 for three of us that morning. I'm sure we'll be back there again, if not for breakfast, to try their lunch menu filled with burgers and sandwiches, which I am betting are just as amazing as the breakfast food.  back to the top


Tracy B. Wheeler is a classical flutist and freelance writer who lives in Portland.

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