Last updated: February 16. 2013 8:43PM - 179 Views

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We chowhounds have been getting up earlier lately.

Not really. (How unlike some us.)

Fortunately, however, weekend breakfast often extends well past noon at some of our favorite local haunts, and the new(er) Leggio's, just off the Dallas Highway, is no exception.

We've been here before and heaped high praise upon the modest-budget Italian specialties in the spacious and fairly artistic, stonework-heavy dining room. We've also enjoyed the weekend brunch buffet, one of the nicest in the area, and were a bit disappointed when that came to an end. So we were quite delighted to see a new breakfast menu (available at both locations) advertised lately.

Worth checking out? Why not?

We found the offerings fairly standard, but that's not a criticism exactly. After all how many ways can you do breakfast? And don't we all like our eggs, pancakes and French toast anyway?

The good news for seekers of the new and different is there are a couple of not-so-often-seen items on this menu, including egg, cheese and choice of meat on a croissant (as well as the more standard English muffin) and creamed chipped beef on toast, which I believe old military salts like to refer to as "SOS." (If you don't know what that is, Google it. One of those S words just won't make it past our good-taste testers. Sorry, friends.)

I was tempted to try this no-doubt-fine dish, in memory of a father who spoke of it quite fondly, but just couldn't pass up the croissant sandwich. I was not disappointed. For $5.95, the full plate included a large and particularly flaky and buttery croissant with a huge portion of egg and one of the most satisfyingly well-seasoned sausage patties I'd ever tasted. The cheese also was plentiful and nicely melted. Home fries came as a sidecar, and those weren't remarkable but nothing to complain about either. A few sprinkles from the NaCl shaker livened them up a bit.

A senior member of our party made sure to take Leggio's up on one of its senior-special offers and took care to point out that folks her age like to know when and where these smaller portions are available, which is not always and everywhere. Here a $4.95 plate of two fluffy but still large pancakes and side of sausage links more than satisfied, and she praised the pancakes especially for their lightness of being.

Another of us had not-so-great luck with a basic one egg, homefries, toast and choice-of-meat meal and noted she often does have this sort of trouble unfortunately. Problem is she's not an egg dipper and takes pains to order her eggs over-hard but usually gets them somewhat runny. Tradition held, and this was the case again. Not that the staff wasn't willing to correct, of course. Disappointment, however, in the first liquid yolk did not deter her enjoyment of the flavorful sausage. (Again, both forms of the king of breakfast meats are quite good here.)

So, on a sidenote, is the coffee, which is a nice, light roast, very drinkable and crowd-pleasing. Only problem on our visit was refills weren't quickly offered, but that could have been because of the packed house. (A late Sunday morning, and the place was indeed full with new folks sometimes waiting a few minutes.)

Finally, the renegade among us decided to pass over the eight omelets available and skip the French toast, too, and instead order a turkey burger for "breakfast." It ultimately perplexed him, but that's probably his fault. He's been trading beef lately for turkey in favor of better heart health and asked for some wifely advice on how this one grabbed her, seeing as he's so used to good old-fashioned red meat.

This large, attractive white-meat patty was great, she said, noting even the nicely textured, soft-on-the-inside roll, zesty seasonings and lack of that strong turkey-turkey taste. Her only complaint, really, was the fries, which came with a fishy essence likely because they'd been fried in shared oil. This may not bother many, but non-seafood fans (we had two with us) might want to take note.

On the whole, though? We still give Leggio's high marks. The original location's been around forever, which has to mean something, and the new one, a bit more upscale in look but still retaining a family-friendly atmosphere and wallet-friendly appeal, is working hard to keep its already loyal following.

Service was, if not quick, courteous, and, again, the crowd can account for that.

A final word on that crowd? Don't the cars in the parking lot sometimes say it all?

If you go

What: Leggio's

Where: 64 East Center Hill Road, Dallas

Call: (570) 675-4511

Credit cards? Yes

Wheelchair accessible? Yes

Note: Another location, the original, is at 1092 Highway 315 in Plains Township.

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