Comfort food with a creative twist

The Nucleus offers new and improved classics


COMMUNITY CLASSIC: Water Street’s The Nucleus is a neighborhood staple, offering a spread of breakfast and lunch options. © 2014 Cori Picard

Story by Cori Picard, Staff Writer

If you know me well, you’d know there are only two things that can get me out of bed Sunday mornings. Church and brunch.

That’s where the Nucleus comes in. Located between Artisan Tattoo and Eau Claire Bike and Sport at 405 Water St., the Nucleus is a breakfast-lunch hotspot that attracts college kids and families.

The Nucleus is connected to the Racy’s, a local coffee shop, which can be a little confusing for Eau Claire newcomers. But natives and regulars frequent both spots for a unique breakfast and a side of hot coffee.

My first time at the Nucleus was generally positive, but it started out somewhat odd. When you enter the restaurant, the first thing you’re greeted by is a big red curtain, reminiscent of one you’d find on the stage of a high school auditorium.

I guess I can understand it as a means of privacy but it made for a very awkward entrance on my part.

The restaurant has eclectic decor, but it manages to feel homey and rustic at the same time. It feels upscale yet comfortable and caters to a wide-ranging demographic which explains its popularity.

You have to be careful though, the Sunday morning breakfast rush was in full swing when I went, and the wait on our food was long.

I ordered a veggie omelette but was disappointed when I realized it was cheeseless, and in my opinion, cheese is a staple ingredient in any omelette. But the veggies were fresh and seasoned well, something I’d be willing to wait for to eat.

I got a few bites of my boyfriend’s El Presidente, a hashbrown scrambler with peppers, corn, cheese and chorizo. It was so good, I may have eaten more of his meal than my own.

The food was a little on the pricey side but it reflected the food fairly. The entire menu has a mix of comfort food favorites with a unique twist, like the strawberry and Nutella crepes, lemon ricotta hotcakes and omelettes and scramblers that feature salmon and crab.

The cafe also offers a simpler menu including toast, egg sandwiches and bagles for the faint of heart. There is also accompanying lunch menu for the brunch crowd, including sandwiches and vegetarian options.

The creative twists on classic breakfast food definitely made me want to visit the Nucleus over and over again. It has become the go-to spot to take friends and family from out of town.

If you’re thinking about trying the Nucleus out, I’d suggest going in the morning because their breakfast menu is really the star of the show. I’m sure lunch is just as good but you get more options for breakfast. Racy’s coffee shop offers creative drink specials too, so don’t forget to check out their menu.

Also, be aware that the full-service restaurant is not open Mondays or Tuesdays.. The restaurant is only open until 2 p.m. so there is no dinner menu.

Despite the somewhat odd hours and despite that fact we’re denied delicious food on Mondays and Tuesdays, I am going to keep trying new dishes Sunday morning after church.