This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.
The eggs benny arrives as a tower on the center of the plate.
I puncture the egg with my fork. The over-easy yolk drizzles out over a perfectly toasted English muffin. A small avalanche of balsamic-drizzled avocado tumbles from the top of the food stack.
Everything after that is a rapturous blur of shoveled food.
I know there’s a side of hot starchy home fries slathered in ketchup. I know there’s creamy, fatty avocado and chewy muffin bread. Between bites I’m gulping down swigs of hot Zoka coffee from a simple white diner mug.
I feel like the champion All-American diner.
A table of elderly regulars sitting near the kitchen—they get it. Breakfast with the boys. Talking city politics and Boeing politics. Who’s retired now? Who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis?
Old timers who know the value of a well-cooked diner breakfast made from scratch. They’re always in here and that’s a good sign.
And then I’m scraping the plate with my fork.
It’s over. So soon, every time.
It’s also the place.
It’s the sea foam green Formica tables. It’s two tubas suspended from roof-supporting beams. It’s the exposed brick walls of the vintage Public Market building. It’s the glass pastry case filled with mouthwatering pies and cookies baked daily.
Sisters does quirky. Like when you place an order you are assigned a plastic toy to put on your table so the server can locate you in the dining area.
The main cashier, Burt, often takes his time selecting just the right toy for diners. I’m often assigned a plastic “Sullivan” Monsters Inc. action figure. I am curious to know how a blue monster symbolizes my personality, but I trust Burt’s assessment.
Gretchen Quall has worked here since 1983. She was nineteen when her mother bought the restaurant.
She’s seen regulars with babies where the babies grow up and bring in their babies. She’s seen regulars retire from the day job and drop out from the pre-work breakfast scene.
The wall leading from the front room to the dining area is covered in photo portraits of the extended Quall family.
There are six sisters and most of them have been involved in running the restaurant over the years. Each has had their own personal strength.
Some cook, some do prep work, some attend to personnel and order supplies.
Their combined effort has led to the restaurant’s longevity and loyal customer base.
Everyone has a different idea of what “comfort food” means.
For some it’s a cold creamy bite of coconut cream with coffee (Sisters has pies).
For others it’s a hot bowl of homemade chowder from scratch (Sisters has soups).
For me it’s breakfast made from quality ingredients. It has to be. You can have your hipster fusion bistros with clever tapas. But a no-nonsense breakfast: it’s the foundation of the day and without it things so easily turn into hangry mistakes.
So here’s to Sister’s *raises diner mug*—an Everett comfort food classic.
Richard Porter is a social worker and musician. He lives in North Everett and enjoys running on Marine View Drive, bicycling down tree-lined streets, and trying to coax vegetables out of his yard.