Union City is known for its plethora of ethnic restaurants. You can find pad thai, burritos, pho, tocino or butter chicken in almost every shopping center. But when it comes to classic American breakfast or brunch, our options are limited.
That’s why when we got word that Jimmy’s Place — one of the few breakfast spots in Union City — was being sold a few months back, we got a little worried. But all fears were erased when we stepped into Break Your Fast, the restaurant’s successor.
Tucked in the back of the Safeway Shopping Center at 1688 Decoto Rd. and facing toward the BART station, the restaurant can be hard to find — but the journey is worth it. Break Your Fast carries the torch proudly, and runs with it an extra mile.
The coveted varieties of eggs benedict, fluffy beignets, delicious scrambles and tasty sandwiches that Jimmy’s Place patrons came to love are all there at Break Your Fast, along with some welcome new additions: chicken and waffles, chili, teriyaki omelets, fresh soups and more.
“We wanted to keep the essence of Jimmy’s Place, but also play around with it a bit,” said owner Jennifer Lee.
At 23, Lee’s among the youngest business owners in Union City. But don’t let that distract you. Her sharp business acumen, eye for ambiance and attention to detail just might take the restaurant from being a hidden gem to a go-to destination.
“I’m young, but I’ve got a strong foundation,” Lee, a 2008 Logan graduate, said.
Lee had just moved back home after graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in English when her mother mentioned that Jimmy’s Place was for sale. At the same time, Lee’s cousin John Seo had just completed a culinary program. They jumped at the opportunity, with Lee taking on the business duties, Seo serving as head chef and Lee’s mother, who worked in the restaurant business for 25 years, helping out on her days off.
“Everything fell together perfectly,” she said.
Lee took over Jimmy’s Place a few months ago, officially renaming the restaurant in August to Break Your Fast — a nod to Lee’s penchant for wordplay.
“You’re breaking your fast from sleep,” Lee explained.
One of the first things Lee did when taking over was freshen up the storefront. She painted the walls from a dark red to off-white and plugged in her iPod, instantly making it more friendly and inviting.
“We wanted to provide comforting tastes and a comforting environment for people,” Lee said. “We sell things as simple as bacon and eggs. You can make that at home, but you go out to eat for the experience.”
While Break Your Fast’s menu may lean toward the traditional, it’s far from boring.
Guests will see that Lee’s put a fresh twist on things with the addition of new items and daily specials.
Of course, the beignets continue to be their most popular item. The sugary doughnut-like New Orleans export is now becoming popular at west coast eateries, and you can get five for $2.50 at Break Your Fast.
Their eggs benedicts are also very popular, due in part to their variety. You can take your pick from Smoked salmon, corned beef, SPAM or Lee’s new crab cake egg benedicts, starting at $8.95.
Lee admits that she’s still trying to get the menu right. She often asks guests for feedback so that she can perfect the dishes. But while running a business can be challenging at times, Lee says it’s all worth it.
“It’s nice to know that we’ve been able to do something for our hometown and give back to our community,” she said.
Break Your Fast is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays.
For more info on Break Your Fast, visit www.facebook.com/breakyourfast510.