People on Twitter are mad about egg sandwiches. To be fair, it's easy to find people mad about a multitude of topics on the app, where screaming into the void is a pastime.
But when the Justin Sutherland-fronted egg sandwich restaurant Big E softly opened on Grand Avenue, next to Grand Ole Creamery, there was much shouting and outrage over the average $15 price tag.
So we went — or at least tried — to get a first taste and judge for ourselves. For the first two weeks, hours were shorter and unpredictable and it took a couple of attempts before we found it open. But starting this week, Big E is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. A coffee program by Misfits Coffee of Minneapolis also launches this week, which means lattes and espresso-doused ice cream, a collaboration with Grand Ole Creamery next door.
This is the second Big E outpost; the first launched in Portland, Ore., last year. Sutherland, who rose to national fame by winning "Iron Chef America" and competing on "Top Chef," is also the face and culinary force behind Cathedral Hill's Handsome Hog.
Here's what to know before you go:
Location: 750 Grand Av., St. Paul, eatbige.com.
Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
The food: All the sandwiches are named for songs Sutherland loves. Prices range from $14 to $18 and are available for dine-in or carryout. Online looks can be deceiving — the sandwiches are the size of a standard burger.
Custom-made Japanese-style milk buns from John Kraus' Rose Street Patisserie serve as the base. Eggs, the star ingredient, are being sourced from Larry Schultz Organic Farm in Owatonna, Minn. Cheese is courtesy of Oregon's Tillamook Creamery (Big E started in Oregon) and spice comes from Sutherland's favorite hot sauce, Cry Baby Craig's, another local tie.
The most expensive sandwich, named for a Flaming Lips song, is Her Name Was Yoshimi ($18): A "scrambled" egg is prepared more Japanese-style, with a jiggly-soft custard texture, rather than diner-style. Then, there's a heap of lump crab topped with black sesame seed-dotted miso aioli. Crunchy daikon radish pickles balance all the plus textures and the portion size is entirely reasonable for a one-person breakfast. By the time I finished, I was stuffed.
Vibe: Even after finishing, I lingered in the shop, nodding my head to the late '90s/early '00s music mix. Since the name of the restaurant and all the sandwiches are inspired by music, it makes sense that it's bumping in there. The volume and lyrics might not be everyone's cup of coffee, but it's absolutely elder millennial nostalgic. There's a DJ stand near the front for eventual live events.
But on this early visit, the volume wasn't so loud I couldn't hear someone say, "I had to try the sandwich that had Food Twitter all riled up last week."
Service: Counter service was incredibly knowledgeable, answering the multitude of questions I peppered them with. The same delightful human who took my order had also made the breakfast sausage for the Somebody to Love ($15) that morning.
To tip or not to tip: There is no service fee, and an optional tip add-on.
Parking: Street parking only.