Coming back to Geneva after a summer away is great not only  to be able to see all your friends at HWS, but to revisit all the great restaurants in town, and to discover new favorites. H.J. Stead Company is a newly discovered favorite of mine, and I would be doing everyone a disservice if I did not give you the run down on what makes this place great.

Located on Linden street, one of the 'cooler' and revamped streets in downtown Geneva, H.J. Stead was originally a machine shop that manufactured bi-focal lenses, and the new owners decided to pay homage to the original occupants of the storefront and to keep the name that was originally used. 

No longer does H.J. Stead offer bifocals, but now, they offer some of the best brunch food that I have ever had. Coming from someone whose favorite meal is brunch, that's high praise. They also offer lunch and dinner, but I have yet to visit for that - although I will soon, and I promise updates on how great that is.

The Drinks

In honor of my friend's 21st, we started with Bloody Mary's and Mimosas, which were made with tart cherry juice instead of orange juice. Both were excellent, and you couldn't taste the alcohol in either of them - both a blessing and a curse.

Six out of seven of us also ordered coffee, as we were still waking up from the previous night's activities. The coffees came in tall glasses with lots of ice, and the orders ranged from  lattes with vanilla, stout caramel, or mocha flavors, to black coffee. We also learned the H.J. Stead has a special water filtration system for the coffee, which makes it taste 10x better - and yes, that is totally a scientific fact. 

For those of you who are tea fans, do not worry, because the choices in tea took up a whole box, and were served in teacups that could have been straight out of an Anthropologie catalogue. 

The Food

If a restaurant is going to do small menus, the odds are that what they do offer is pretty fantastic. H.J. Stead offers light options for a quick breakfast on the weekdays or weekends, and the options range from muffins, to toast, to egg sandwiches, and their own "Superfood Energy Bar". 

potato, chicken
Yasmina Khal-Laayoun

Also on the breakfast menu is the grain bowl, which two of my friends split. The bowl comes with or without an egg, and a 'toppings bar' of chaia seeds, goji berries, and other delicious add-ons that make you feel slightly better about the Mark's you ate at 3 a.m last night. The grain bowl was fresh, beautiful, and perfect to split between two people. 

And now on to the brunch menu. I wholeheartedly believe that heaven is full of brunch food, and I think I went to heaven on Saturday. The menu puts its own spin on classics such as French toast and bagels, and offers both sweet and savory options. Plus, if you're really more of a lunch person, they offer a 'North of Italy' pasta that I can't wait to go back and try.

smoked salmon, tuna, salad, salmon
Yasmina Khal-Laayoun

My friends who split the grain bowl also split the H.J. Stead bagel, which is smothered with herb and garlic cream cheese, and topped with red onion, egg, cucumber, sprouts, and trout - not your typical breakfast sandwich. However, the cream cheese was perfectly balanced by the light toppings, and made for a filling meal that could pass for either breakfast or lunch.

jam, blueberry, french toast, toast
Yasmina Khal-Laayoun

Next up was the stuffed French toast, topped with berries, stuffed with whipped cream, and served with maple syrup. Not for those without a big sweet tooth, my tiny friend could not finish the meal, but was full and content with her breakfast that tasted as sweet as berries and was as sinful as dessert for breakfast should be. 

salad, egg
Yasmina Khal-Laayoun

Three of us at the table ordered the Cast Iron Breakfast Skillet. I don't think anyone was expecting what we got, because instead of being in a skillet, we had three crispy corn tortillas piled high with beans, eggs, chorizo, cheese, and topped with charred avocado guac, and salsa verde. This dish was a fiesta in my mouth, and probably the table's favorite thing.

Madi Johnson

Another dish for those with a sweet tooth is the Classic Julia - crepes with the options of sweet fillings, like nutella, fresh berries, or lemon curd, and one savory option, scrambled eggs with herbs. This one consisted of Nutella and whipped cream, and was almost too beautiful to eat. 

Because all of this just wasn't enough food, we also got two orders of the house home fries to split, which came in huge bowls loaded with sautéed onions, pepper, salt, and of course, perfectly crisp potatoes. The potatoes also come with house ketchup and aioli, perfect complements to the fried nuggets of goodness. 

Next time you're in Geneva, and you want to waste a few hours eating delicious food, stop by H.J. Stead to do just that. And if you need something other than brunch, check out these places every HWS student misses when they're not on campus.