Williamsburg is home to historical attractions, one of the oldest universities in the country and now, the best breakfast in Virginia, according to the latest issue of People Magazine.
The Oct. 8 issue of the popular weekly magazine names Food For Thought the top breakfast place in the state as part of a list of the best breakfast restaurants across the country. The article was compiled by author Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, who worked with editors from crowd-sourced review service Yelp. According to Pfeffer’s story, People and Yelp looked for breakfast reviews on the service, which were then ranked by their total volume, level of user feedback and overall scores.
The entry for Food For Thought praises the popular Williamsburg-based restaurant’s decor and highlights its Country Fried Steak & Mushroom Benedict.
Restaurant owner Howard Hopkins said he first heard about the list about a month ago, when People reached out saying that his restaurant was in the running for the best breakfast spot in Virginia and asked for photos of the country fried steak.
That was the last he heard about the award until this past Saturday night, when Hopkins’ wife received a call from a former customer in Kansas City, Mo., who said that the restaurant was featured in their copy of People Magazine.
He said the restaurant’s eclectic mix of menu items, attention to quality ingredients and unique atmosphere set it apart.
“There are great achievers on the walls from sciences to social leaders and business leaders, and the quotes on the walls reflect something that I think is sorely needed nowadays, which is kindness and wisdom,” Hopkins said. “I think that it has made a real impact. The three keys to a successful restaurant are atmosphere, food and service, and I think that we’ve been able to put them all together in this package called Food For Thought.”
The restaurant’s Country Fried Steak & Mushroom Benedict, which is mentioned in the article for its unique ingredients, is one of Food For Thought’s signature breakfast items, Hopkins said.
“We use grass-fed filet mignon for the steak, the breading is nice and crunchy and flavorful, our hollandaise is homemade, we use antibiotic-free, hormone-free eggs and we use a crumpet instead of a traditional english muffin as the base,” he said.
Hopkins first opened Food For Thought in 2006 and said he’s been able to grow his businesses to national recognition one meal at a time.
“We’ve probably served around 2.5 million people over the 12 years that we’ve been open,” he said. “We make modifications when people say that something isn’t quite how they like it, we’re playing with recipes and always trying to improve it.”
This isn’t the first time Food For Thought’s menu has received attention from a national outlet. Last year, the restaurant made its way onto Buzzfeed’s list of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in each state. That list was also compiled by aggregating Yelp reviews, he said.
Hopkins said tonline review sites such as Yelp are one of the most important things that can determine a restaurant’s success these days.
“In the 80s and 90s, secret shoppers were the big way that restaurants monitored that stuff, but now everyone is a secret shopper,” he said. “We look at every customer as a potential critic or reviewer, and we want to make everybody happy.”
For more information about Food For Thought, visit foodforthoughtrestaurant.com or call 757-645-4665.
To check out the People Magazine list, visit people.com/food/favorite-best-breakfast-restaurant-every-state.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.