The Egg at Davidson
231 Griffith St., Davidson
DAVIDSON – It’s a charming college town; artists, students, families and organic gurus harmoniously co-mingle.
The restaurants are mostly artisan in style sporting decidedly chic atmospheres with homegrown herbs spicing the hormone-free chicken. However, Davidson can still surprise.
Take, for example, The Egg restaurant. It seems a basic country kitchen, and owner Rob McCrary likes to keep it simple with eggs, pancakes and sides.
However, any restaurant run by a former soap opera star who is best friends with television personality and chef Guy Fieri that features seven different Eggs Benedicts clearly deserves another look.
McCrary grew up in Knoxville, Tenn., and was attending college in 1987 when an opportunity came up to be an extra in the movie Biloxi Blues, directed by Mike Nichols. McCrary really enjoyed the experience and was singled out by Nichols.
“He told me to come to New York because he had a part in his new movie for me,” said McCrary. So McCrary left college and moved to the Big Apple.
Once there he could not get a hold of Nichols. “I never heard from him again,” said McCrary, clearly holding no ill will. “That is just how the business works.”
He did manage to find work for six years on the soap operas One Life to Live and Santa Barbara.
By 1995 he was living in Los Angeles, and as the acting gigs dried up, his restaurant career was taking off.
“He ended up working with Fieri, now a famous restaurateur and chef, who became one of his best friends.
“He planned my bachelor party and was in my wedding,” McCrary said.
From there, he worked in management at several other big chain restaurant outfits including Macaroni Grill and The Cheesecake Factory which took him to Charlotte.
McCrary bought The Egg at the Lake in Mooresville in 2006 from its struggling owner. Under him, it flourished as a breakfast and lunch restaurant. In 2008 he decided to open The Egg at Davidson, and then sold The Egg at the Lake in 2009. The Egg at Davidson is now a gold standard for breakfast and lunch for college students, firemen, policemen and even the mayor who stops in twice a week.
The menu is full of traditional breakfast choices: omelets, pancakes and French toast. The individual creamer and jelly packets sit in a bowl; the coffee cups sit askew on tables and are all different sizes, colors and patterns.
“A customer really likes a cup? They can take it,” said McCrary. Just try to bring another one in to replace it the next time you dine.
NASCAR emblems mix with framed rooster prints giving it that country feel. But the place is saved from the greasy spoon diner with its elevated food, such as homemade hollandaise sauce on Benedicts ranging from fiesta with chorizo to Hawaiian with smoked ham and pineapple.
Customer Rocky Watkins of Union Grove gives testament to the excellent eats.
“I live up at Exit 65 and still try to get here two times a week,” he said. “The hollandaise and grits have a little kick to them that keeps me coming back.”
“We make comfort food,” McCrary said with a shrug of his shoulders. “It’s easy and affordable, but really, really good.”