D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
For more than two decades, Elks Lodge 1718 in Port Clinton has been the place to be on a Sunday morning. It has a hearty buffet breakfast that is a welcome wakeup for local folks, visiting tourists, anglers and folks who had enjoyed the music scene the night before in Vacationland.
Every Sunday, from Mother’s Day in spring to the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3), about 30 or more Elks Lodge members have volunteered to busily cook and serve a magnificent buffet, clean off tables and wash dishes. They are volunteers who enjoy serving The Oaks Lodge and their community. The Elks Lodge, 231 Buckeye Blvd., Port Clinton is open from 8:30 a.m. until noon, and they don’t have to watch the clock.
“Families are the early risers, and while the expansive breakfast buffet is $13, it’s half-off for kids 5 to 10 and free for kids 4 and under,” said Ted Wierzba, who with his wife, Jill, has been a long-time volunteer. “You know when church services in Port Clinton and around the region have ended, as well. That’s when couples, old friends and families fill the seats.”
A fisherman and his pals from Indiana, coming off a fine walleye adventure on Lake Erie, said they always hit the water on Friday and Saturday. That’s because on Sunday morning, before they head for home, they refuel with a fine breakfast at The Elks Lodge.
The adults have choices of Sunday cocktails, from a Mimosa to a Bloody Mary. A local favorite is a Coffee Cocktail, a rum creation. Coffee and orange juice are free.
Mike Heinberger, the Pancake Man, dazzles kids with his fluffy buttermilk pancakes that are shaped like cartoon characters and can include chocolate chips, blueberries, pecans and other treats.
Take note: The buffet line is open all morning, and it’s all you care to eat.
That means you can start with scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage with green peppers and onions. Then perhaps dabble in a pair of biscuits liberally covered with sausage gravy. Or nibble on a golden-brown waffle with diced strawberries and blue berries. Or a buttermilk pancake or two.
The Elk Lodge funds many charities around the area with the buffet breakfasts, and has for decades joined Elk Lodges around the world in supporting United Cerebral Palsy, which battles the disease and supports people with disabilities.