Where the Locals Go

Breakfast (and Lunch) all day at the Mad Hatter Cafe

By Sarah MacDonald

People show up as early as 5 a.m. in order to be first in the door at the Mad Hatter Café. Located just off the highway on Route 18 in Weymouth, the restaurant attracts everyone from commuters to contractors who come for the big portions and home-cooked Irish favorites.

Chef/Owner Dermot Doran opened the café about two and a half years ago, after 20 years of working in the kitchens of major hotels and restaurants. A native of Ireland, Doran knew he wanted the restaurant to reflect his cultural roots—and what better place to do that than in the “Irish Riviera.”

Breakfast is king at the Mad Hatter Café and it’s served all day long. One of the signature menu items is the Irish breakfast. Perfect for meat-lovers, the dish contains two eggs served with Irish bacon, white and black pudding (which is actually two types of sausage), Irish sausage, a bowl of beans and two thick slices of homemade Irish soda bread to sop up all the drippings.

“It’s what my mom would serve me if I went to visit her in Ireland,” says Doran, who doesn’t serve anything that doesn’t have his personal stamp of approval.

On my recent visit to the restaurant I was fortunate to be able to sample a variety of breakfast and lunch offerings. I began by digging into a breakfast pizza. The 10-inch pie comes topped with a thick layer of scrambled eggs, Irish sausage, ham, bacon, tomato and cheese. Despite its many toppings, the warm flatbread crust manages to stay crispy. I also tried the thick-sliced crunchy French toast, which comes encrusted with sweet Frosted Flakes and is sprinkled with a touch of powdered sugar.

Lunch specialties were next to arrive at the table, including a reuben sandwich overflowing with homemade corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on Rye bread. I also tried the lobster roll, which was piled high with rich claw meat on a buttery grilled bun. A rotating selection of stick-to-your-bones blackboard specials are also available, including apple bacon French toast, prime rib, meat loaf and the ever-popular glazed doughnut breakfast sandwich.

Almost everything served at the restaurant is made from scratch in a small open kitchen, or sourced directly from Ireland, such as the bags of Tayto crisps and Club Orange soda. Muffins and bread are baked daily and corned beef hash is slow roasted for more than 10 hours to give it the perfect flavor. The restaurant décor is clean, with seats at the bar offering a view of the action. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations so seats fill up fast during the breakfast rush. Alternatively, some guests choose to take their meals to-go and wait outside at the Mad Hatter’s convenient pickup window.

One thing is for sure: guests never go home hungry. So, what’s in a name?  “I guess I’m just a little crazy,” says Doran. ”You have to be in this business.

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