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Chomp! Breaktime serves good food with good service

By by jessica rodrigo/
Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:01 a.m.

The burgers at Breaktime are perfection. For me, it's the bun that makes it work so well. It's fluffy, yet dense enough not to fall apart when smushed (as I smush my burgers to ensure I can take a nice big bite out of them), and was buttered and toasted before piling it high with meat, and the usual P.L.O.T (pickles, lettuce, onion and tomato). The patty melt, right, was grilled perfectly, too, so the cheese was melted throughout.

Slowly, but surely, I am learning all about the hidden eateries that are often kept a secret by the locals. Some have little to no signs announcing their existence. I'm talking about those places where the owner/cook/cashier (sometimes all the same person) knows you by name and can rattle your order off before you even open your mouth to say hello - not that they would interrupt you mid-sentence, but you get my point.

Luckily, I've had several chances to do some exploring here in Victoria, and I have found such a place hidden away in one of Victoria's select tall buildings. No, it's not located in our sprawling downtown Victoria, it sits off Laurent Street.

Drive down Laurent and take notice of a slightly out-of-place structure built with black tinted windows and in a non-traditional form. Formerly known as Laurent Tower, Victoria Tower stands with jagged corners and high rooftops. No sign is posted on the exterior and only those who venture inside are rewarded for their curiosity. Just beyond the south-facing double doors is a small restaurant that serves not only the employees of the various businesses that reside within the dark ominous building, but also to the select group of patrons who know of its existence.

Breaktime is a small eatery where the food is good, the prices are reasonable and they call you by name, even if it's your first time.

The menu at Breaktime has something for everyone, for breakfast and lunch, that is. Given their location, they aren't open for dinner, since most of their patrons are no longer at work. There are burgers, cold sandwiches, salads, entrees, desserts and daily specials.

On our visit to Breaktime, it had been pouring all morning and had yet to let up. I overheard the woman behind the counter tell the person at the counter about how busy they had been since nobody likes to travel in the rain. She was right. Although Luke and I made the trip there for lunch, it was worth it. The ladies there know how to work a lunch crowd. Despite the long line and call-in orders, we had food in front of us in what seemed like no time at all.

I ordered their cheeseburger and Luke ordered the patty melt (I know, I was surprised, too). Each one cooked to order, as I could see small kitchen from the counter. She called my name and set two plastic baskets on our table. My cheeseburger looked delicious and the sourdough bun alone was a sign of what was to come. It was round and fluffy and was toasted just so slightly. The lettuce was crisp, and you could tell they just washed it by the small amount of water dripping into my hand after a few bites. A pile of pickles in the middle of the cheeseburger needed some re-arranging, but it was still one of the most balanced burgers I've had in a while. It had melted cheese, the perfect amount of mayo, a few pungent concentric rings of yellow onions and juicy discs of tomatoes.

Luke's patty melt was equally palatable. The wheat bread - no, not rye - was buttered and toasted well, and the cheeses, cheddar and Swiss, were melted throughout. He doesn't like onions, but I can imagine they would have been caramelized beautifully if it were ordered to include them.

Jessica Rodrigo is hungry for pasta. Know of a great place that serves a mean plate of pasta? Email her at or tweet her @eatseatseats.



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