Cafe Society

Second Helping: After 25 years and a new location, the Egg Shell still shines

It's late on a weekday morning — too early for lunch, but well past the breakfast hour, and the Egg Shell is still half full. A woman giggles to herself, text-messaging as she finishes her coffee at the marble-topped bar. A silver-haired man in the corner leans back in his chair and gives his paper a shake, willing it to stay straight as he reads the news. And near the back of the room, a group of adults placates the child among them with crayons and continues to loudly exchange what I assume are once-a-year family-gathering pleasantries.

The Egg Shell feels well-loved and settled, its 25-year history shining through, despite the fact that it moved to this location just a year ago, evacuating the basement digs that now house Syrup. This spot on Fillmore that once belonged to Mel's is closer to the heart of Cherry Creek, and the wine, beer and spirits proudly displayed behind the prominent bar illuminate another advantage of the new address: a liquor license.

On this morning, though, no one is ordering off the list of mimosas and Bloody Marys available.

My server is eager and slightly nervous, and he's also prompt: I've barely started scrolling through headlines on my smartphone when my huevos rancheros arrive: a couple of warm flour tortillas topped with yolky over-easy eggs and smothered with savory pork green chile that I wish had more bite. I also wish that the lettuce meant to provide crisp texture wasn't just shredded iceberg. And that the soft, herb-specked potatoes on the side had more salt.

I'm not really put out, though, because a morning meal at the Egg Shell is pleasant. So pleasant, in fact, that as Christmas music plays softly in the background and the silver-haired man flips another page of his paper, I decide to linger, ignoring all those unfinished errands.

I wonder if I could get away with this more often. I wonder what time the Egg Shell starts serving lunch. — Shunk

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk