WARSAW — Besides the behemoth orthopedic companies, Warsaw also has another major industry… eggs! Creighton Brothers Farms are known world-wide for their egg production.

Started in 1925 by Mindy Creighton Truex’s grandfather and his brother, Creighton Brothers now encompasses seven farms with 3 million laying hens producing up to 2.5 million eggs daily, the Crystal Lake egg product production facility and altogether employs more than 300 people.

Because of activist pressures on animal agriculture, the farm wanted to create a way to inform the public while showcasing their family farm operation in hopes that people would see the carefully structured processes necessary to ensure healthy hens that produce eggs year-round, Mindy Crieghton Truex explained.

"As a part of the educational tour, an omelet lunch soon started to evolve into the idea of a little breakfast and lunch cafe," she said.

So, before the bus loads even started to arrive, her dream of incorporating a restaurant using farm products started to come to fruition. She engaged local catering chef Stephanie Hapner to collaborate on a menu that was highly egg influenced, yet creative and based on local sources. Since opening in October 2015, Creighton’s Crazy Egg Café & Coffee Bar menu has continued to sports some eclectic, crazy dishes for breakfast (served all day on Saturdays) and lunch.

The era of nostalgia in this quaintly decorated restaurant boasts wood walls from Grandpa Creighton’s original barn, rustic barn beams, soft drinks from original glass bottles (think Triple XXX Root Beer) and an eclectic country gift stop. Nicely decorated for the holidays, the 1950-era Farmall M tractor, on loan from Ivory Snipes, in the lobby adds to the nostalgia.

'Crazy' breakfasts

Unusual items like the Crazy Egg Waffich and the Crazy Egg Scrambler are offered, plus 10 other items. The plates come popping out the kitchen systematically.

The Crazy Egg Waffich is just that: two extra-large Creighton eggs cooked over-easy and sandwiched between two Belgium waffle halves with Nappanee-based John’s Butcher Shop cottage bacon, cheddar cheese and drizzled with the house-made roasted red pepper aioli… hearty indeed.

On one visit, I enjoyed the Florentine Stack. Two towers of a perfectly poached egg sitting atop Swiss cheese, fresh spinach, ham and all stacked on an English muffin. A drizzle of the aioli over each stack compliments this complexly flavored dish. It’s a must have!

Impressive lunch options

Adorning the lunch side of the menu are several sandwiches including: Turkey in the Straw, Not Your Daddy’s Burger (a monster sandwich consisting of chef Hapner's Not Your Momma’s Meatloaf with Havarti cheese on a Brioche bun then complimented with the house-made Triple XXX Black Pepper Sauce), the popular smoked chicken sandwich, Barn Dance BLT and Creighton’s Colossal Grilled Cheese.

During this visit, I settled on the Turkey in the Straw sandwich. This slightly warm sandwich included gobs of sliced, honey-roasted turkey, fresh greens, Swiss cheese and dried cranberries combined in a house-made strawberry-dijon sauce. That sauce really complimented the turkey and I slammed every bite.

With each sandwich, there are nine regular side choices and three premium choices (each costing extra). I chose the side salad at a fair cost addition of $2.99. Other than the fresh, crunchy frisee that made up most of the greens, the same Strawberry Dijon Dressing used on the sandwich was outstanding on this salad.

The full-plate lunches are more like farmer servings and include the unusual Scotch Egg Plate, Chicken ‘n Noodles (served with mashed potatoes), Macaroni ‘n Cheese (topped with John’s Pit Ham), Chicken ‘n Waffles and the famous Not Your Momma’s Meatloaf. The latter is a secret ground beef and pork combination created by Hefner, but blended to specification by John’s Butcher Shop, then topped with a house-made rosemary pan gravy. To finish, they add smashed red potatoes and sweet corn.

The restaurant likes to reciprocate with sources that use the farm’s products. Besides those mentioned above, Creighton's also utilizes noodles from Katie’s Country Kitchen of Middlebury, Eli’s Cheesecakes of Chicago and Stanz Food Service of South Bend, as well as sources from Indianapolis.

"We strive every day to do things right and that includes sourcing," Creighton Truex said.

The restaurant is peanut and tree nut free, and they offer many gluten-free plates, including chicken and gluten-free homemade noodles each Friday.

“We aren’t a typical café. I have done allergy-free cooking for years," Hefner said.

Pair with coffee

Including a top-quality coffee bar was high on the list as things evolved. Finding the right source was another matter. After much research, Creighton Truex settled on Crimson Cup out of Columbus, Ohio. The house coffee, Armando’s Blend, is one of the smoothest coffees I’ve had. April, the barista, also offers several bean blends by the bag. She rotates the inventory based on popularity, and will ground the beans to your liking.

The coffee bar is inviting to those that are into incredible espressos or frozen blended drinks with many specialties made to order. The signature Crazy Egg Mocha is the most popular served all three ways, hot (espresso), over ice and frozen.

If You Go

Creighton’s Crazy Egg Café & Coffee Bar is located at 4217 West Old Road 30, Warsaw. Phone is 574-267-3549. Café hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., but you can enjoy shopping, beverages and sitting by the fireplace until 6 p.m.

The restaurant seats 70, and visitors can always bring your laptop (free Wi-Fi) to the community table (aka, the Cattle Feeder — named for the table’s foundation) adjacent the fireplace and sip a warm beverage of choice.

The Roost event venue provides seating up to 300 people. They have hosted a number of wedding receptions, corporate parties and meetings and cater most of them from the café kitchen.

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