Scrambled! switches up breakfast in Layton
Scrambled! is an update of your old-school diner. It’s got old-fashioned breakfast favorites like pancakes, french toast, waffles, biscuits and gravy, and Utah scones — but also more trendy items like avocado toast and an egg-white veggie omelet. And there are specialty coffee drinks such as Glacial Mocha Latte and Dirty Chai, with the coffee supplied by Daily Rise Roasting Company in Layton.
“A lot of old-school diners don’t keep up with what their customers want to see,” said owner Oscar Rodriguez of Clinton.
Also, the Scrambled! format is fast-casual. Instead of waiting for a staffer to come to your table, you order and pay at the counter. And there’s a drive-thru for customers on the go.
Rodriguez opened Scrambled! at 2151 N. Hill Field Road on March 7, 2020. Soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-restaurant dining in Utah.
“We were fortunate to have the drive-thru,” Rodriguez said. It kept the business going until restaurants could reopen.
“We’re not as fast as McDonald’s, because we make everything as it’s ordered,” he said of the drive-thru. “But we try to stay to a six-minute margin.”
Since Scrambled! opens at 5 a.m. Monday through Saturday, “We have a niche in this area, being accessible before anyone else is open,” Rodriguez said.
Early morning customers might be on their way to work or just getting off a graveyard shift.
Rodriguez was just 22 when he opened Scrambled! but already had a wealth of restaurant experience. He began washing dishes at age 14. At 18, he began working at Manoli’s, a Greek small-plates restaurant in Salt Lake City. He stayed there for two and a half years while earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and law at the University of Utah.
“That’s where I really refined my cooking skills,” Rodriguez said. “Chef Manoli taught me a lot about running a restaurant.”
He spent 10 months working as a law clerk before opening his own restaurant.
“My mom (Claudia Flores) wanted to do a restaurant for a long time but didn’t know where to start,” he said. “I had some background in restaurants and reached out to mentors to see what I needed to do.”
He chose to focus on breakfast “because we don’t have enough breakfast places here in Davis County. Also, I like to get my day going early and have my afternoons free.”
They found a former donut shop that had sat vacant awhile, just north of Antelope Drive.
“Initially, we were planning to do a more traditional diner, with sit-down service,” Rodriguez said. “But if we had done a sit-down diner during COVID, we wouldn’t have made it.”
He added, “Fast-casual creates more turnover and gives our customers their independence to come and order, and leave when they want,” Rodriguez said.
He came up with the Scrambled! name while “trying to think of something marketable, something trendy like restaurants in New York City, and I wanted to incorporate yellow into our logo.”
Flores cooks at the restaurant four days a week, Rodriguez said. The fragrant cinnamon rolls, slathered with cream cheese frosting, are her recipe. And so is the pork chile verde, which is used in Claudia’s Pork Chile Verde Burritos, huevos con chile verde and the pork chile verde nachos.
“My mother’s chile verde very is popular with everyone who tries it,” Rodriguez said. “Ours has a very authentic Mexican flavor.”
Although there’s a full slate of burgers, sandwiches and salads for lunch, breakfast items make up about 75% of the orders, even during lunch hours, Rodriguez said.
Top seller is Oscar’s Wicked Skillet ($10.85) — bacon, ham, sausage, cheddar jack cheese, onions, jalapeños and tomatoes over a mound of hash browns. It’s topped with two eggs.
“People just like the flavor of it, because there’s a lot of different flavors in one item,” he said.
Avocado toast ($11.35) has become the second-most popular dish since it debuted about six months ago.
“I felt that we needed some healthier items,” he said. “And I found this great sprouted wheat bread at Stoneground Bakery.”
Thin slices of avocado fan out across two slices of the chewy-textured bread, liberally sprinkled with cracked black pepper and a little olive oil. It comes with turkey sausage and two eggs.
The egg white veggie omelet “is our most popular omelet, because it’s light while a lot of breakfast items are heavy, and we put a lot of fresh veggies in it,” Rodriguez said.
On the heavy side, there are Utah-style deep-fried scones, with either honey butter or cinnamon butter. The indulgent Nutella Delight is a Utah scone topped with cream cheese frosting, Nutella, whipped cream, fresh berries and vanilla ice cream. Large enough for sharing, it’s ordered mainly by students from the nearby Northridge High, Rodriguez said.
“It looks intimidating, but everyone who has tried it likes it,” he added.
Just about everything is made in-house, except the breads, which come from Stoneground Bakery in Salt Lake City, and hash browns. “We go through 700 pounds of hash browns a week, and that’s too much volume to do in-house,” Rodriguez said. “Our pancakes and waffles are house-made, from a cake batter recipe that I converted.”
He hopes to expand Scrambled! to other locations. But he’s not planning to expand to a dinner menu, since his Layton location is already filled with chain restaurants. He prefers to stick with what Scrambled does best: breakfast.
“In this area, you have to drive past at least 18 other restaurants to get to us,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think we would be competitive enough to open for dinner.”
IF YOU GO
Location: 2151 N. Hill Field Road, Layton
Contact: https://www.scrambledut.com/ or 385-393- 8684
Hours: 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday