Did your mother ever scold you as you reached into the fridge in the wee hours to grab a slice of leftover pizza? Bread, cheese, tomatoes…breakfast of champions, right? Fat Cat Pie Co. which is well known for their wafer thin crusted pizzas laden with decadent toppings (see our pizza shout out), has validated this college craving by mastering the fine art of pizza for breakfast. Yes, it is a little known fact. Fat Cat opens its doors in the am serving a casual breakfast and lunch daily from 8am to 2pm. You may not find a hash brown to speak of on this diminutive menu, but you will find more interesting fare including breakfast "pies" with local organic eggs, sandwiches boasting the culinarily renown Bloodroot bread, as well as a selection of home made baked goods and granola. It is a laid back affair with top notch coffee and a barista who cares (note the latte art). For a diner seeking something beyond the "diner," Fat Cat is a breath of fresh air...and fresh ingredients.
Fat Cat is often bustling at night but breakfast here is a study in serenity. Guests sidle up to the bar to grab a cappuccino and a muffin after emerging from the yoga studio above the restaurant. A single server acts as barista and wait staff. There is a marvelous calm in the morning making Fat Cat the perfect spot to park your lap top or hold a business meeting. A large family style table nestled in the back of the dining room is particularly well suited for the latter.
For many, the morning only truly begins with with a good cup o' joe. I've found this challenging to find in Fairfield County as few venues concern themselves with sourcing good beans and even fewer have the coffee know-how to pull a proper shot of espresso. While some would scoff at the time and attention our server paid to my latte, I reveled in the rich flavor of the clearly fresh beans from Dean's Beans and appreciated the result. For those who prefer tea, Fat Cat also has a very nice selection of Organic loose leafed teas from Westport's Arogya.
We had come for Breakfast Pies, so pizza seemed like a good place to start. Fat Cat's 13" pizzas have a thin layer of scrambled egg atop the famously thin crust pies, and they can be ordered with an array of toppings including caramelized onions, housemade sausage, spicy peppers and garlic chips. These pizza accompaniments mirror the dinner offering but the addition of light fluffy eggs cooked to perfection, transform this dish into the perfect morning fare, indeed worthy of the "breakfast of champions" title. If you are alone and not up for the challenge of a 13 inch pie at 8am, individual slices with special daily toppings are available for $2.50. I was very satisfied with my single serving of sliced tomato pizza, and have my fingers crossed for the homemade sausage special on my next visit.
I was eager to sample the area of the menu titled "Bloodroot Bread" (seen above) as this handmade oatmeal sunflower seed bread is in my humble opinion one of the best in its category, local or otherwise. Bloodroot is often referred to as one of the top vegetarian restaurants in America, and they ship their hand crafted loaves to Fat Cat daily from their Bridgeport location. This healthy and yet almost cake-like bread can be ordered with artisanal cheese, or it can be toasted and accompanied by local honey, almond butter, jam , or my personal favorite, avocado, sea salt & crushed red pepper. This open faced avocado sandwich achieves a flavor trifecta delivering a subtle saltiness, the sweetness of crisp soft bread, and a touch of heat in every bite. The fruit forward olive oil drizzled in the midst puts it over the edge. Simple. Perfect. $3.50.
A slice of coffee cake arrived next. I was pleased to find that this was not one of those flashily cloying, crumbled sugar topped affairs, but rather a simple moist breakfast cake, slightly tangy, with a ribbon of sticky, nutty cinnamon running through the middle. I've rarely been able to stomach more than a few bites of this standard coffee sidekick, but Fat Cat's homemade cake went down all too easily, and reminded me of a breakfast cake I had once eaten in Italy years ago.
We did not manage the homemade granola on this trip, but intrigued by the Fat Cat Bops, AKA sandwiches made with house baked organic bread, then pressed in a grill with a delightful effect. Three such sandwiches are available, representing the lunchier options on this selective menu. Still recovering from my coffee cake and wanting another latte, I opted to take home the Classic Meatball "Parm" for future consideration, eager for the opportunity to sample both Fat Cat's house made meatballs and their signature tomato sauce. 15 minutes later…I had managed the drive home, but the smell of the garlicky meatballs forced me to rip open the foil surrounding this still warm sandwich slightly ahead of schedule. The tender meatballs, oozy mozzarella, and flavorful tomato sauce contrasted the crunchy bread with great mouthfeel and superior flavor.
For a light breakfast with wonderful fresh ingredients and a great cup of coffee, Fat Cat deserves kudos. Like their dinner offering, the menu is small, but dishes are presented with integrity and simplicity, a welcome start to any morning.
Fat Cat Pie Co. 9-11 Wall Street, Norwalk. 203.523.0389