YouthWorks—that much celebrated and occasionally (and unjustly) maligned organization/clubhouse/cabal that orchestrates meaningful, civically beneficial skilled labor and workforce development for young Santa Feans of all backgrounds—now has a food cart called The Breakfast Club. Proceeds from the cart support YouthWorks programs.
In the strange rural industrial zone where Richards Avenue Business Park meets former farmland at the cusp of the city and Agua Fria Village—ie, more or less the corner of Calle Marie and Henry Lynch Road—The Breakfast Club bumps and grinds through the workaday with a small menu of dedicated and kind of weird offerings.
To ease yourself back into human form after a night on the town, breakfast options include burritos in red or green trim, with sausage and bacon on tap for flesh eaters. Or you may have a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola. And that’s it—a kind of gender war of breakfast options.
More oppositional options line the lunch menu: salad versus hot dog, vegetarian sandwich versus tortilla burger. There also is an unchallenged Frito pie. It’s curious for a cart with lunch listed as a tagline afterthought (“and lunch too!”) to have more midday than morning offerings.
But then, there’s a lot to be said, especially among the ranks of the bleary-eyed, for limited choices.
The last thing you need, when you have a hangover so bad that a headache has put a permanent arch in one eyebrow and the opposite ear feels like it’s struggling to contain the leaky mop bucket that your brain has become, is to stare uncomprehendingly at a build-your-own-omelette list. Of course, the YouthWorks cart does not condone nor cultivate degenerate customers like me; the limited options are indicative of the early stages of a small operation, rather than any pandering to the more reptilian among us.
But working stiffs can appreciate limited options as well: Are you a burrito girl or a yogurt guy? That’s as complicated as it needs to be on the way to work. Coffee, of course, flows freely throughout the day.
There are gripes. The Breakfast Club is located in stark, open country. If you’re paranoid, you feel exposed to sniper fire while ordering your parfait. If you’re not paranoid, you might just wish for some kind of shelter from the sun or—let sweet baby Jesus shine upon us—rain. As far as the quality of the food, well, you get what you expect for a fair price. It is 100 percent serviceable and satisfying. But, to me, the YouthWorks ethos is to over-deliver and to do it in a creative package.
To say the food could be better isn’t so much a criticism as the observation of an opportunity.
YouthWorks has been so successful at matching its talented young constituents with flexible and creative mentorship opportunities in its Conservation Corps, Green Collar Jobs Apprentice Program and other initiatives. Here’s the chance for already capable YouthWorks cooks to seek some tutelage from area chefs who, I like to think, would jump at the chance to help out. A few classic kitchen tricks and a couple of inspirational menu consultations could transform The Breakfast Club from a solid bet into one of the city’s most innovative and entertaining food carts.
Add the possibility of some bruised or less-beautiful produce from area farmers in order to up the freshness factor, and the happily laid-back cart might soon have a line around the block.
So, on second thought, just keep it simple.
Follow SFR food news on Twitter: @eating_wrong