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Java Jive puts kitsch in kitchen

Central locale for breakfast fare



Atlanta natives know how long the wait can be to grab a weekend table at Java Jive. But the same kooky kitsch atmosphere and breakfast-only menu is served every day except Mondays, and on midweek late mornings the place is often empty. It's the perfect locale for a deep nosh before a grueling day at the office or a round of endless errands with kids.

The playful feel of Java Jive features colorful chrome, Formica tables and vintage kitchenware, '50s ads and funky colors. It's all a great eye-opener that is both cozy and cool. It's like the big, overdecorated kitchen your eccentric grandmother might stiffly shuffle through.

Family affair: Java Jive's owners, Shira Levetan and Steven Horowitz, a husband-and-wife team, have been making modern meals in their retro-feel restaurant for more than a decade now. Shira does the baking and Steven the cooking, and a fine division of labor it turns out to be, providing consistent quality throughout the years.

Bite into a cloud: Java Jive is famous for Shira's home-baked biscuits, made from scratch (and more magical stuff) daily. Yes, they are big as babies' heads but fluffy enough to fly off the plate. And fly away they do. Those wishing to visit for a good cup of basic Joe ($1.85) and a fluffy biscuit ($1.25) can grab a continental breakfast kicked up here for very little green.

It's worth it, however, to go for the more stick-to-your-ribs entrees, ranging from $4.95 to $8.95. The Double Bullseye is a great twist on the classic "two egg," where over-easy eggs are cooked in the center of cut-out, grilled bread slices. Various scrambles mix a bounty of colors and textures together. The Mediterranean Scramble combines portobello mushrooms, red peppers, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and feta with eggs. It's all served with either grits or home fries and a biscuit or toast for $8.95.

Waffling on: The homemade breakfast sweets are also sure to stir smiles. For something you'll likely not find elsewhere, try the PB & J Goes to France, where peanut-butter-and-jelly-spread challah bread is dipped in French-toast batter, lightly browned and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The Ginger Bread Waffle (served only on weekends) is likely the house favorite. The moist waffle is served with a homemade lemon curd for $6.50. And Aunt Bernice's Fried Matzah features matzah dipped in an egg batter and then fried and sweetened.

Though most of the breakfast fare is wonderfully indulgent, there are options for the health-conscious as well as vegetarians. These include a granola parfait, wheat-germ pancakes, turkey sausage and the like. There are vegetarian scrambles and tofu, or egg whites can be substituted for eggs in most dishes for an additional cost.

Java Jive serves its own popular coffee blend sans any preservatives or prepackaging. Try the substantial but not bitter house blend or get fancier with a café breve, a latte where steamed half-and-half thickens the cup rather than milk ($3.50).

Java Jive is located as centrally as anything is possible in Atlanta, on Ponce de Leon. In a city full of fickle foodies, there is still a loyal following for the retro cafe, wait or not.

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