Eating to Live on the Outside: Perkins Restaurant & Bakery

If you’ve been keeping up with this series you know it can be downright scary; the Friendly’s, Houlihan's, and Sizzlers of the world making finding a healthy place to eat a tall order.

This week’s restaurant of choice follows that trend. It seems to me any eatery that positions itself along the lines of “good ol’ American” cooking, is hardly good-for-you American cooking. Perkins Restaurant & Bakery definitely fits this bill.

Perkins menu is loaded with the usual suspects of the standard American diet, lots of bacon, fried things, melted cheese, white breads, and mysterious sauces. So to make a long story short, finding things an Eat to Liver might order is going to be a rough mission. Well, let’s have at it.

Breakfast is a pretty big deal at Perkins, lots of dishes, mostly hearty American favorites—so this menu section is pretty much useless. I’m not ordering any breakfast meats, pancakes and waffles are a no-no, the hash browns look full of grease, and I’m not an Eggs Benedict kind of guy.

So if I were really hard up for breakfast, and in the mood for animal, I’d probably order a basic omelet. Perkin’s gives you the option to create your own omelet anyway, so I don’t think you’ll get a dirty look from the waitress. I’d probably order the omelet prepared with mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, celery, and green peppers—just trying to get some phytonutrients! Oh, and I’d ask to have it cooked with as little oil as possible.

Now, usually the salad is a bastion of hope in standard American restaurants, but Perkins managed to compromise this old standby. All five of their options are served in “bread bowls”—whoopee! I’d still order a salad, but I’d hold off on the bread bowl, it’d be better utilized as a sombrero.

Even without the bread bowl these salads still concern me. As I’ve said before I have no problem eating meat once or twice a week, but other Eat to Livers aren’t so willing to compromise. The problem is all the salad options have some sort of animal product; eggs, cheese, chicken, ham, or godforsaken bacon. Of all the choices I’d probably go with the Chicken Fiesta (with or without the chicken) because it has the most veggies; black olives, red onions, red and green peppers, salad greens, and green onions. As far as the salad dressing, I’d ditch the ranch it comes with and opt for a little oil and vinegar or nothing at all.

Other than a basic omelet and the Chicken Fiesta salad, the only other dishes I’d consider ordering are the Grilled Apricot Teriyaki Salmon and the Grilled Lemon Pepper Tilapia. I’m not worried about contamination because Dr. Fuhrman considers salmon and tilapia to be safer varieties of sea fare. Both dishes come with your choice of two sides, so that means I could have a side salad, baked potato, glazed carrots, butter-steamed broccoli, or buttered corn. Now I’m not pleased with buttered anything, but on this menu, this is as good as it gets—concessions ‘a plenty!

Well there you have it, this is the best I can do with this menu—a real nightmare. So help me out, send us your feedback! Tell us what you might have done differently or what you agree with. Check out Perkin’s menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at
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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Hailey - February 1, 2008 8:23 PM

You risk your life eating at Perkins restaurant in Allentown, Pa. 18 yrs. ago I was served sunny-side-up eggs. They looked peculiar so I sent them back and ordered something else. The waitress brought the manager over to my table. She apologized and emphatically suggested that I not order the eggs. She noticed that I was very pregnant and seemed quite concerned. About a month later there was an article in the local paper regarding the problems that Perkins was having with the eggs. Recently, a woman ordered eggs at Perkins and is now recovering from food poisoning. Her physician suggested that she not eat there again. 18 years later and the public is still at risk!

Kelly - February 9, 2008 12:00 AM

I agree with ordering the Apricot Salmon, I enjoyed it very much and had it with broccoli (without butter) and rice (which I decided not to eat, didn't really like the taste) I had a side salad to start and picked the croutons off leaving just veggies, which I thought was pretty good considering they about drown the salad in dressing (I ordered it on the side but the service that day was not that great). Other than that I enjoyed my meal. I am on weight watchers and felt that of all the options on the menu this would not ruin my success.

joe - August 9, 2008 1:24 PM

I can't believe I am even responding to your webpage. I typed in Perkisn Restaurant & found it by accident. I guess me responding is the same as you posting... the right to free speach. if you don't like eating out beacuse of what restaurants offer then stay home and live in your own non-meat world.

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