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[whitespace] Mary Ann Kent
Photograph by George Sakkestad

Groaning Platter: Mary Ann Kent doesn't skimp on the most important meal of the day at Henfling's.

Mountain Fling

Big breakfasts come any way you want them at Henfling's in Ben Lomond

By Janet Blaser

WHO'S TO SAY what will be the catalyst for change? That's the mystery of life, and it is to our credit when we can act as instruments for positive change. But, ahh, I digress. This, after all, is a food-news column not a philosophical diatribe. And even though to some the game of football may have spiritual overtones, the decision to open for breakfast at Henfling's in Ben Lomond was based on more pragmatic reasoning--folks were hungry when they showed up Sunday mornings to watch the games. Well, those early-morning tête-à-têtes have proven so popular that owners Albert and Mary Anne Kent recently decided to add two more days of morning meals: Saturday and Monday.

"We finally found an employee that would get up that early in the morning," laughed Albert, referring to the 5am start that is needed to get fresh biscuits, homemade gravy and other goodies ready for the seven o'clock opening. Henfling's, true to its mountain heritage, offers hearty, stick-to-the-ribs food; this is not the land of bagels and cappuccino.

"No espresso drinks and no umbrellas in my drinks either--only the real thing," declared Albert, who is also a bartender. He assured me that he makes a mean Bloody Mary, garnished with the traditional celery stick and maybe an olive, if that's the way you like it.

The menu offers all your breakfast favorites: eggs every way, with home fries and bacon, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, daily specials and an assortment of breakfast sandwiches, including the Eggfling, eggs, ham or bacon on an English muffin.

"It's all homemade food, just good home cookin'," said Andrew Craig, the morning man in the kitchen. "And big portions for the price." Albert explained the menu another way: "If you want it, and I got it, I'll make it." And yes, as a man who is not afraid of a challenge, he said it was OK to print that.

Where to enjoy your meal? Well, Henfling's offers a variety of seating options. Surprisingly, the inside (minus the bands and tightly packed dancers) is rather quaint in the daylight hours. Or weather permitting, you can sit on the small deck in front or out back in the "smoking pavilion"--a covered and heated deck.

Raised down the road in Felton, Albert is a dedicated hometown boy made good. Having been involved in the entertainment industry one way or the other his whole life, he's brought a lot of his expertise and experience to Henfling's in the four years since he took over, opening up the club to ethnically diverse shows and programs that often include dinner as well as performances. He is one of the founders of Mountain Community Theater and is involved with a number of other local theater companies as well, including the Cabrillo Stage and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

The rockin' little club in Ben Lomond--which is celebrating its 60th year of operation--is also open for lunch, beginning at noon. The place then stays open until 2am with live music and sometimes other events that include special dinners.

You can have breakfast at Henfling's on any Saturday, Sunday or Monday morning from 7am to noon. It is located right on the curve in Ben Lomond, at 9450 Highway 9; the number to call for more info is 336.8811.

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From the December 8-15, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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