Jason Knoll is vice president of culinary for the “breakfast with a bar” restaurant chain Another Broken Egg Café.
What was your first bartending or hospitality job?
At age 15, I had my eyes set on my first car, a 1975 Jeep CJ5. Now came the issue of paying for it.
My mother suggested a job in the restaurant business as she said my demeanor was “well suited” for hospitality. I started as a bus boy at night and server during the day at a French restaurant.
A few things became very clear early on: The more you knew about spirits, they easier they were to sell. The more you sold, the happier the guest. The happier the guest, the bigger the tip. The Jeep was a money pit lemon, by the way.
When did you join Another Broken Egg Cafe, and what were you doing before that?
I’ve been working with Another Broken Egg Cafe since 2010. Prior to that, I was the multi-unit director of operations for two Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses, one Trader Vic’s and a Florida-based catering facility. I’ve been fortunate to have many great experiences in this industry, including a job as a private chef on a yacht in the Caribbean!
Another Broken Egg Cafe is all about breakfast but you have a bar-forward approach. What are some of the recent brand design and product investments you’ve made to put the bar front and center?
The new company and franchised cafes that we are opening now feature our new bar-forward design. We completely reconfigured the layout of the restaurant to showcase the “theatre” of the bar and the experienced bartenders at each restaurant.
Creating cocktails is truly an art form, and everything from beverage prep to creation is on full display in this new design. We have always had brunch-centric beverages, but now we are celebrating them with as much creativity and thought as we put behind our culinary innovation.
What are some of the interesting breakfast and cocktail pairings?
With the launch of our bar-forward program, a new platform of pairings has been opened to us. Seasonal ingredients aren’t limited to food, and items like lemon custard-stuffed French toast pair surprisingly well with our summertime Blueberry Margarita.
An obvious pairing comes into play when you recommend a Michelada (a combination of beer, tomato juice, lime juice and hot sauce) to go with our version of huevos rancheros. Then there are the classics, like any of our fresh Mimosas with our Benedict creations.
Finally, the most interesting pairing is our spiked spiced rum cold brew pairing up with rum cake French toast. It’s a nice contrast and complement of hot/cold.
What is your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?
Right now I’m having a lot of fun with gin. For some reason, that juniper berry flavor is mixing well with a lot of clean, fresh fruit flavors.
What’s your current go-to cocktail or beverage?
Isn’t that like asking to pick a favorite child? In the morning of a day off, you’ll see me enjoying an Irish coffee or Bloody Maria, depending on the weather. In the afternoon, I’m sucking down a cold Modelo or sipping on a Rum and Coke.
Would you share the recipe for one of Another Broken Egg’s most popular cocktails or one of your favorite drinks?
Our Brunch Blueberry Margarita is one of my favorites and performing very well in test markets.
Brunch Blueberry Margarita
1 ¼ oz. Milagro silver tequila
½ oz. Grand Marnier
4 oz. House-made sour mix*
2 oz. Fresh blueberries
1 tsp. Blueberry powder
Add all ingredients except the Grand Marnier in shaker. Shake well. Rim the glass with blueberry powder and float the Grand Marnier on top, garnishing with a lime.
* For House-made sour mix: Combine1 cup simple syrup, ½ cup fresh lemon juice and ½ cup fresh lime juice.