Restaurant Review: Summery Breakfast Sandos at Frankie & Essl's | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly

Restaurant Review: Summery Breakfast Sandos at Frankie & Essl's 

This Liberty Park breakfast cafe has more than a few reasons to get up early.

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The Liberty Park area is a lovely spot to spend a summer day. It's in close proximity to Herman Franks Park, there are always cool markets popping up along its avenues and you've got Tracy Aviary and its accompanying botanical gardens for when you need to chill out with your avian friends.

For those early risers who like to spend their mornings at this great local park, you may find that you need a grab-and-go breakfast to match the unique summer energy in this part of town. If that's the case, look no further than Frankie & Essl's. Located right across from the southwestern corner of Liberty Park, this cozy nook of a restaurant specializes in breakfast sandwiches, locally-roasted coffee and cold-pressed juices.

Though Frankie & Essl's is all about whipping up a quick breakfast that can easily be transported along with you, its internal dining area is bright and welcoming. I swung by on a breezy summer morning while I was out and about, and the experience was a lovely oasis in an otherwise hectic day of running errands.

I tend to seek out a good breakfast sandwich when my own internal batteries are feeling undercharged; I get a much-needed burst of positive vibes no matter when I scarf one of these down. As my current knowledge of Frankie & Essl's was based on following their Instagram account for candid pics of their well-curated menu of breakfast sandos, I knew that they would offer the pick-me-up that I needed.

Frankie & Essl's offers a lean menu that features five core sandwiches. Each of them comes served on a locally-baked brioche bun that has been sliced, buttered and toasted to a light crisp before getting stuffed with the good stuff. I tend to judge a breakfast sandwich on the quality of its sausage, so I started out with the sausage, egg and cheese sandwich ($9.49). I suppose I use sausage as my baseline because it's a hard protein to mess up, which means it's even harder to make it stand out. After allowing a few bites of this masterwork of flavors and textures to really permeate my palate, I knew that Frankie & Essl's was on to something.

The full name of this sausage is "spiced honey sausage," and that's exactly what you get here. There's a real temptation to make breakfast sausage into a mammoth salt bomb, but Frankie & Essl's has taken its time with this one. Texturally, it's a perfect breakfast sandwich protein—it melts in your mouth right along with all that creamy egg yolk. Yet, its flavors are refreshingly subtle, which is hard to do with a breakfast sausage. The sage notes of a classic sausage patty are there, but to a more muted degree. This makes room for the caramelized sweetness of the honey to come through, creating that epic savory/sweet combo that makes us want to dump maple syrup all over our breakfast meats. The supporting cast of American cheese and arugula perform admirably, and it's clear that Frankie & Essl's is the real deal when it comes to the nuances of breakfast sandwiches.

Both the bacon, egg and cheese ($9.49) and the Canadian bacon, egg and cheese ($11.49) showcase the porcine magic of these cured meats. While I'd probably make the sausage, egg and cheese sandwich my go-to at Frankie & Essl's, both of these sandwiches are excellent for when you absolutely need to munch on some hot bacon with your eggs.

For something meatless, the understated eggs and cheese ($6.99) makes you remember that quality eggs, butter and toast don't have any right tasting as good as they do. The same goes for the egg, tomato, avocado and cheese ($7.99) sandwich, which swaps American cheese for gouda and incorporates a luscious avocado spread into the mix. Again, it's hard to reckon with how good some freshly-sliced tomato and fried eggs taste when they've been prepared with a bit of sea salt and love.

Those after a caffeinated kick with their breakfast can enjoy the work of both Later Days Coffee and locally-based La Barba. Frankie & Essl's also has a fridge fully stocked with Happy Moose Orange Juice. Their Valencia blood orange is super tasty, so regardless of whichever drink you like to kick your morning off with, they'll have something tasty for you.

Between the well-curated menu of breakfast sandwich classics and the rotating menu of locally-baked seasonal pastries, Frankie & Essl's kind of snuck its way into being the casual, neighborhood eatery that Liberty Park needed. It's one of those spots that needs to be near a park, and vice-versa. There's just a summery vibe that kisses everything at Frankie & Essl's, and it's the kind of place where you leave feeling sunny side up.

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