DATELINE DINING: Vacation visitors attempt the Lengthy Seaside custom at Schooner or later leisure
If your relatives are in town for the vacation and expect breakfast, skip the cooking and cleaning and give them a taste of Moncton’s famous schooner or later.
Whether you get there sooner or later, you can wait for a table at the popular restaurant overlooking the harbor, but it’s worth the wait – imagine the queue as proof of how popular the breakfast and lunch place is Community is.
“This restaurant really embodies the Moncton lifestyle,” said owner Denny Lund. “We hear so often when people visit friends or family from out of town or state that this is the first place they come.”
Even on a weekday morning, there’s barely any vacant space in the dining room, where classic American cuisine is combined with vintage diner decor, like a jukebox, salvaged artwork from the old downtown Crest Theater, and a bespoke neon clock.
On the outside terrace, which is one of the real highlights of Schooner or Later, crowds of people keep their heads over breakfast plates and keep their eyes on the yachts and sailing boats in the marina. Above us there are big umbrellas, palm trees, seagulls and sunshine from Southern California.
Regulars know each other and they also know Lund and his sister Denise, as someone in the family has been there almost every day for 35 years.
A piece of history
Lund said he was inspired to start Schooner or Later because he grew up with his father in a galley called The Little Ship’s Galley – aimed at boaters picking up quick bites of where Schooner or Later is now.
After his father passed away, the fourth generation Moncton guy said he felt compelled to buy the small ship’s galley, added that large patio dining area and renamed the business.
He and his family have been eating there ever since.
“There’s something on the menu called ‘Denny’s Favorite’ for a reason,” Lund said.
About the food
The owner’s favorite is a combo of scrambled eggs, cream cheese, red onion, and coriander served with hash browns and toast, muffin, or bagel ($ 10.45).
However, most people order “The Mess” ($ 12.65 for the full version or $ 10.65 for a half order). It’s a “world-famous local tradition” made from minced ham, peppers and onions, grilled with hash browns and eggs, topped with melted cheddar cheese and served with sourdough toast. Avocado, sour cream, or chilli can be added for an additional fee.
A popular accompaniment to The Mess is Madras ($ 7.75) – a mix of Cook’s champagne, orange juice, and cranberry juice that Lund said the restaurant sold enough to make Schooner or Later a Cook’s top seller To make champagne in the world.
The breakfast made with fresh ingredients is so famous at Schooner or Later that the world understood it – the restaurant was featured on Food Networks “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri.
What makes it so good, Lund said, is how he and his staff push for consistency and personalize the place – several staff have worked at Schooner for most of their lives or later, including Chef Tony Galope and Chef Hector Rodriguez.
There is care to be taken in getting on every plate that comes out of the kitchen hot, and Lund said everyone there is determined to make Schooner or Later the best they can.
And they know exactly what they are doing.
Schooner or later goes through at least 7,000 eggs a week, Lund said.
Important to know
If you’re visiting schooners instead of later, the hours of operation are 6:30 am to 3:00 pm on weekdays and 6:30 am to 4:00 pm on weekends.
Free parking is available on the property next to the restaurant on 241 Marina Drive.
For more information, call (562) 430-3495 or visit www.SchoonerOrLater.com.
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