Good Mornings Restaurant has been serving up, well, good mornings, for two decades.
Located at 44A Bridge St. in East Windsor, Good Mornings is a breakfast and lunch joint – the kind that welcomes regulars and first-timers alike. Owner Bonnie Emmons recently expanded the dining room to offer more space where she and her staff serve-up traditional fare and a few twists.
Emmons has always loved eating and cooking.
“When I was much younger I wanted to own a bed and breakfast,” Emmons said. “I had a fulltime job, so I started doing small catering jobs on the side. ‘Dinner For Two’ was my specialty. I had always enjoyed cooking. I always enjoyed eating out at fancy restaurants and when my meal would come I’d think to myself, I could make that! So I started experimenting at home, kind of self-taught.”
She began looking for a brick-and-mortar space 20 years ago.
“Our current location was for sale and I purchased it thinking I would expand my catering business,” she said. “However, I quickly discover that there was enough people in the area interested in it opening back up as a cafe. We decided we could do both. After a couple years we phased out the catering part to concentrate solely on the restaurant aspect.”
Emmons is still a bit in shock that she opened her doors two decades ago.
“It’s really exciting to think that we have made it 20 years,” she said. “Over the last 20 years there have been a lot of businesses around me that have come and gone, but somehow we’ve made it through. Being a restaurant owner certainly is not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart. The first five years I worked seven days a week, 10 -12 hours a day. I knew I would have to work hard to beat the statistics, which is that 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year. And nearly 80 percent shutter before their fifth anniversary.”
Surviving and thriving in the business can be nearly impossible, but Emmons knows the recipe for success: customer satisfaction.
“Knowing your customers and what they really want is a must,” Emmons said. “We have a ‘cheers’ kind of atmosphere. I know most of my customers by name and can almost always predict what they will order.”
Those customers have become like family and are what have helped Good Mornings outlive so many businesses over the past 20 years.
“I have a very loyal following and I credit those customers for getting us to the 20-year mark,” said Emmons. “But, I have always said I could not do it without my family. My son Daniel works every day with me. My daughter Alicia, my sisters Wendy and Laurie and my brother Terry have all been there to lend a helping hand when we were short staffed or when something is broken and needs repairing. I could have never done this without them. We are just a small place with a total of 12 employees.
“I also want to thank those that have my back every day -- Nancy, Judy, Jennifer, Ceferino, Faith, Erin, Olivia, Sarah and Pat who retired but has always been willing to come back for a day or two to help out!
While Good Mornings’ menu strays just a tad from the traditional, Emmons said she does have her personal favorite dishes.
“I don’t think I have a favorite food to eat! I just like food in general,” she said. “I’m always willing to try something new at least once. But I’m also very adamant about the couple of things that I really don’t care for when it comes to food. At the restaurant I’d prefer to cook breakfast as opposed to lunch.
“At the restaurant I like making myself a pancake with crumbled bacon, roasted corn and cheddar cheese. Outside of the restaurant I like a good chocolate espresso martini with a good rare steak!”
Good Mornings’ breakfast offerings include stacks of pancakes and French toast with toppings including blueberries, chocolate chips, cranberries, nuts, coconut and raisins. There are many egg options, from fried and scrambled to omelets and sandwiches. Breakfast specials include steak and eggs and the somewhat unconventional grilled pork chop and eggs.
Sides of fresh fruit, muffins, bagels and toast, various meats, hash and home fries – with or without cheese sauce – complete the breakfast menu.
As the menu states, “Good Afternoons Start With A Great Lunch,” and the lunch menu doesn’t disappoint. There’s the soup of the day as well as a quiche of the day. For those seeking something on the lighter side, Good Mornings has salad options including a grilled chicken Caesar salad, a grilled chicken Mandarin orange salad and a grilled chicken Mahoney salad, which features fresh romaine lettuce with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta and grilled balsamic chicken.
Wraps, grilled sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers round out the menu along with sides grandma would love – potato salad, cole slaw, macaroni salad, fresh fruit, applesauce, four-bean salad and pickled beets.
Good Mornings Restaurant
is open Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.