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On the Sunny Side…with Wild Eggs

Popular mainstay continues ‘eggs-ellence’ at breakfast and lunch, offers catering, too 

BY LAURA ROSS | COURTESY PHOTOS

“If you build it, they will come.” 

 

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As the classic film Field of Dreams melted that phrase into our collective consciousness, so too, have entrepreneurs taken that command to heart. 

When J.D. Rothberg and Shane Hall entered the “breakfast biz” 10 years ago in Louisville with their Wild Eggs restaurant, the idea of an upscale restaurant focused on the first meal of the day was a newer concept — but it worked. 

Ten years and 16 Wild Eggs restaurants later, people still line up every day for their carefully crafted eggs, bacon, potatoes and more. 

The restaurant’s Jeffersonville — 1450 Veterans Parkway — is one of Wild Eggs’ newest and growing locations.

“So many people from Indiana went to our downtown Louisville location, we decided to bring the eggs to them,” said Meredith Smith, marketing manager for Wild Eggs. “Jeffersonville and Southern Indiana in general are growing so much with the walking bridge and development throughout the area, we knew it was the right move for us to open a restaurant there three years ago.” 

The popular Jeffersonville location is growing with the addition of patio seating for about 20 guests coming in July. 

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Wild Eggs restaurants are now located in five spots in Louisville and Jeffersonville, three in Indianapolis, three in Cincinnati, one in Bowling Green, Kentucky, two in Lexington, Kentucky, and two restaurants in Nashville. 

Breakfast was important throughout Rothberg’s life. A native of Colorado, his great grandfather was a potato and produce farmer. “His family would often gather at his grandparent’s house for a huge breakfast, where they’d sit around and connect over eggs and potatoes,” said Smith. “He wanted to bring that connection of having a moment with your family, coupled with great service, to the restaurant.”

Rothberg came to Louisville to work with the legendary Grisanti’s restaurant group. He worked his way through the ranks to management, and later, ventured out on his own to launch the fine dining Napa River Grill in Louisville. Shane Hall eventually joined the Napa River Grill team and together, the pair sold the restaurant and focused on breakfast.


The popular Jeffersonville location is growing with the addition of patio seating for about 20 guests coming in July. 


“At the time, breakfast wasn’t as big as it is now,” explained Smith. “They wanted breakfast with a dinner feel, in an upscale, yet affordable approach. That includes fresh, creative dishes with white cloth napkins, coffee and water service at your table, fresh ground pepper and other local products, and service you’d expect from a dinner restaurant.”

Those elements set Wild Eggs apart from other breakfast restaurants now crowding the market. “We focus on the overall experience and service you receive,” she said. “There are a lot of good breakfast restaurants out there right now, but we add special touches. Our kitchen team comes in early and makes things from scratch, like our muffins, every day.”

“We also source as much food as we can locally in every market,” Smith added. “In this area, we work with Creation Gardens, Paul’s Fruit Market and Bourbon Barrel Foods, among others. We believe in keeping our fresh ingredients in the community.”

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While guests pack Wild Eggs restaurants daily, an unintended specialty of sorts arose also. “When we opened 10 years ago, there was a push for spending more quality time with your family,” said Smith. “The message was don’t have your work meetings in the evening — go home to your family. People started holding breakfast meetings here so they could accomplish that during the workday. We’re now the spot for many breakfast and lunch meetings.”

Wild Eggs also offers catering for on site meetings and events. Casual catering, as Smith explained, can feed from five to 500 people, and offers items from the core menu and other special dishes. Customers can also customize their order. The Wild Eggs team delivers and sets up the food and helps with serving suggestions and display. “We bring all the goodness of Wild Eggs right to your door,” said Smith. 

Whether it’s catering or dining in the restaurant, the quality of the food is paramount. Wild Eggs takes the basic and obvious first ingredient — eggs — and builds upon the traditional bacon ’n‘ eggs menu. “Some restaurants go crazy with cool or over-the-top recipes, but we keep consistent with things people like. You can have a really inventive recipe, but if people don’t like it, it’s not going to do anything for your menu,” said Smith. “We keep the items people love and mix it up with creative specials through the year, like our fall pumpkin pancakes, which people start asking for as early as August.”

Top sellers at all the Wild Eggs locations include the Mr. Potato Head casserole, Zax I Am Fried Eggs And…, house-made cinnamon rolls, and the spicy Kalamity Katie’s Border Benedict. Traditional omelets, pancakes, waffles, and lunch sandwiches round out the expansive menu.

“Our goal is to serve our loyal following,” said Smith, “Our warmth, friendliness and the relationships we build with our customers sets us apart and keeps guests coming back again and again. Everything these days is so fast paced and grab and go that we have that comfortable feel of servers you know who have the personal touch and will have the perfect meal for you.” 

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Interested in Wild Eggs catering your next event or gathering — no matter how large or small? Visit wildeggs.com for more information. 

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