Ball Square Cafe

Grilled Chicken Avocado WrapThose familiar with Ball Square in Somerville might have heard of the Sound Bites vs. Ball Square Cafe breakfast rivalry. There is a deep rooted animosity between the two restaurant owners. The abbreviated version goes something like this…

Sound Bites existed long before Ball Square Cafe. The landlord renting out the space to Sound Bites eventually increased the rent so much that Sound Bites was forced out and had to move to the space next door. Meanwhile, the landlord’s son saw what a great business Sound Bites was doing and opened Ball Square Cafe in their original space. To make matters worse, he lured away Sound Bites’ chef and essentially stole their menu.

I tried Sound Bites shortly after moving to the area, not even knowing the whole story, and had a truly horrible experience. My meal was nearly inedible, and the service matched the quality of the food. I never blogged about it, but my honest yelp review elicited some harassing responses from Sound Bites’ owner.

Ever since, I’ve been wanting to try Ball Square Cafe as a comparison. To avoid the lines that often form down the block on weekends, Matt and I went this afternoon for lunch.

We immediately noticed that the menu was nearly identical to Sound Bites’ menu. They also had the same self-serve beverage setup, which always confused me. I wish someone could shed some light on the benefits of making customers get their own coffee and water in an otherwise full-service restaurant. The coffee is still incredibly overpriced. We hoped the food would be better than Sound Bites, at least.

Scrambled Eggs

Matt ordered a few sides for his meal, and they all arrived at different times. The Scrambled Eggs arrived first and were a let down. They were overcooked, under seasoned, and tasted of cheap oil.

French Toast

Matt’s French Toast fared a little better. The bite I tried was tasty, but I really don’t like that they charge you extra for real maple syrup.

Home Fries

Both restaurants’ versions of Home Fries are essentially griddled mashed potatoes, but Ball Square’s were better seasoned and perfectly crisp.

Grilled Chicken Avocado Wrap

I ordered the Grilled Chicken Avocado Wrap with baby spinach, tomatoes, and hummus. Perhaps I should have stuck with something off the breakfast menu because my wrap was flavorless. The chicken was dry and the whole thing lacked seasoning. Luckily, the thick cut sweet potato fries were flavorful and crisp.

I’m glad we finally tried Ball Square Cafe, and some items were better than similar things we’ve tried at Sound Bites, but I definitely won’t be back. I’m not really sure why people line up at both restaurants every weekend – I’ve certainly had much better brunches elsewhere with no wait!

Have you ever tried one of the Ball Square breakfast restaurants?

Ball Square Cafe
708 Broadway
Somerville, MA 02144
Ball Square Cafe & Breakfast on Urbanspoon

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  • http://twitter.com/threebiterule Emily aka 3 biterule

    I’ve been to both. I lived nearby and marveled that they’d have lines outside when Kelly’s Diner (my fav) didn’t have as much of a line. Sometimes Ball Square Cafe seats folks at the deli and walks outside with their plates wrapped in foil to serve them! I appreciate the self serve coffee since I never am refilled enough but definitely agree about it being overpriced. They both even offer the same omelette choices!

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

      I’ve been wondering about Kelly’s Diner…I’ll have to give it a try!

  • http://twitter.com/MichellePC Michelle Collins

    So good to know. I’ve heard great things about Sound Bites, but I am not the type to wait in line for food I’ve never tried before. Now I know to stay away!

  • http://twitter.com/TraveleatloveMM Meghan M.

    What an interesting story behind the two! I haven’t heard of either!

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    Both of those places sound awful! I wonder what all the hype is about.

  • http://megan-deliciousdishings.blogspot.com/ Megan

    I’ve never tried either one… the home fries look good to me though. That’s one way I cook leftover mashed potatoes. I also like my scrambled eggs overcooked and hate when they’re wet, so I might have liked those.

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  • Semirah Dolan

    I just went there this weekend for brunch, I think I should go back for lunch. Looks yummy. http://soundofcharm.blogspot.com/2013/03/ball-square-cafe-somerville.html

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