I'm one of those people who thinks breakfast foods are good pretty much 24 hours a day (hence my abiding fondness for Denny's). But let's face it — it's a lot of greasy, sweaty work hauling out the necessaries to make a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and pancakes. That's why I think breakfast is such a popular item at diners.

Eggs in the City has become a well-liked breakfast-and-lunch stop in its couple of years in business, which is what the owners wanted it to be when they converted this former garage into a stylish but unpretentious little restaurant in a leafy east Salt Lake neighborhood.

There's nothing upscale about Eggs in the City's black, brown and yellow color scheme or about its menu. Diners choose from such classics as eggs Benedict, omelets and huevos rancheros; or, on the lunch side of the menu, burgers, salads and sandwiches. You can get breakfast at lunchtime, too.

What sets this place apart from Denny's is the handmade, high-quality flavor of the food. We're talking steel-cut oats in the oatmeal, actual corned beef in the hash, and breakfast potatoes that almost beat my grandpa's bacon-and-onion-laced Dutch oven version. (I said almost, Gramp!)

There's a patio at Eggs in the City that opens beautifully off the indoor dining area, courtesy of a still-working garage door, and though the misters were going full blast to cool off the shaded outdoor space, we opted for a roomy booth just inside the front door.

Our three girls, having snacked their way through the morning, were happy to share two kids' meals of a ham sandwich and a cheese quesadilla, especially with the meals' accompanying chocolate milk and, after you've cleaned your plate, a Laffy Taffy each.

As for our 7-month-old boy, he spent the meal drinking juice from his sippy cup and eagerly accepting buttery, syrupped bites of the fluffy, plate-size pancake we ordered to share.

I went with the basics, ordering the "Mr. Big" breakfast of three eggs, buttery, fresh and fried medium-hard into one brown-crisped round, with four strips of honey-cured bacon, two pieces of toast and a mound of potatoes.

The kids quickly dispatched two of the bacon strips and a bunch of the potatoes, but I had enough left to enjoy this well-cooked meal — though if it truly had been breakfast time I'd have had the breakfast brulee, steel-cut oatmeal with bananas and candied pecans, topped with torched brown sugar.

My husband had one of his favorite meals, the corned-beef hash. Because I never make it at home, he usually has to resort to the nasty, grease-soaked canned variety, so his meal at Eggs in the City was a delicious surprise with its base of breakfast potatoes and chewy, salty chunks of marbled corned beef. With it he had lightly scrambled eggs.

Omelets $6.95, other breakfast entrees $3.25-$7.50, soups and salads $2.50-$7.50, sandwiches $4.50-$7.50, pancakes and sides 50 cents-$5, kids' meals $4.75.

Eggs in the City

Rating: ***

Where: 1675 E. 1300 South

Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Payment: No checks accepted

Phone: 581-0809

Wheelchair access: Easy

Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com