GALLOWAY – When Melanie Ruggles left a seven-year career at an area car dealership, she had no idea what her new career would mean to others.
“I have customers who call me to say they are too sick to be able to make it in,” said Ruggles, sitting at a corner table inside The Cracked Egg Café, a restaurant she opened in April 2016.
The 29-seat eatery sits beside the Ten Acres Motel at 637 S. New York Road in Galloway.
Fourteen months ago, Ruggles was working as a collision shop manager with Chapman Ford in Egg Harbor Township while the restaurant sat vacant, waiting for someone with a vision.
Ruggles and her husband, Chris, had that vision.
“We spent a lot of money,” she said. “We put in a new floor and opened it up.”
After three months of work, they opened the restaurant in April 2016, and customer numbers grew.
“It feels warm in here,” she said. “That’s what a lot of people tell me.”
The eatery has nearly everything a morning appetite could want: eggs, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, French toast and waffles. There’s also a kids menu, and hot and cold subs for lunch.
A sign for coffee that hangs on a wall reads, “If you’re not shaking, you need another cup.”
“I need a lot of coffee,” she said.
Sometimes there is a 20-minute wait to get a table, Ruggles said.
“At 6:02 a.m. the other day we had the counter full and people were sitting out here at the tables,” she said. “Sometimes on the weekends the regulars will say ‘Wrap it up’ when we are filled to capacity.”
“People feel like they are at home,” she said.
The café is open 6 a.m.-2 p.m. daily for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is served 5 p.m. -9 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
For Ruggles, the work doesn’t end in the afternoon when the restaurant closes. Unlike other restaurants that get their food delivered, Ruggles prefers to pick hers up so she gets the freshest ingredients available.
For example, she drives out to Vineland to get meat from Serra’s Italian Sausage.
“We close at 2 p.m., but sometimes I don’t get done until 9,” she said.
Ruggles is also proud that her restaurant is on Yelp, a website where customers rank restaurants. The Cracked Egg does well.
“We’re No. 1,” she said with a smile.
One of Ruggles’ favorite menu items is the sausage, pepper and onion omelet made by Nick Bates, the chef who works on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Marina, who declined to give her last name, works the rest of the week. She makes a waffle stuffed with scrambled eggs, meat and cheese and topped with syrup.
Ruggles also likes a sandwich called The Crackin’, made with one egg, sausage, home fries and American cheese on a kaiser roll.
“We serve it with a steak knife. It’s huge,” she said.
The Crackin’ comes with a large 16-ounce coffee and costs $6.
For dinners, Ruggles said she always plans on having one chicken meal, one pork, one fish and a spaghetti item.
Prices range for $3.50 to $7.25 for eggs and omelets and $3.99 to $5.99 for pancakes. Waffles start at $5.50.
Hot sub sandwiches are $6.50 to $6.99 and include cheese steak, pizza steak, and sausage, pepper and onion.
Kids meals range from $2.75 to $3.99 and include hamburger, grilled cheese, and chicken tenders and fries.
The Cracked Egg has a Facebook page. For information call 609-241-8784 or email firstname.lastname@example.org