Twin Sisters Bakery and Café
Sharing Family Recipes with the Community for 35 Years and Counting
By Lauren Browning
Hailing breakfast loyalty from local residents for generations, Twin Sisters Bakery and Cafe delivers tasty and substantial favorites with attentive service. It’s located within the convenient Sunset Ridge Shopping Center on New Braunfels. Opened 35 years ago for lunches only, Twin Sisters’ popularity quickly spread, and breakfast soon followed in the next several years, with dinner service right behind it in 1990. While all three meals of the day continue to have their cult fans, their breakfast reputation stands out to me most in a world of breakfast days gone by.
What are the secrets behind Twin Sisters’ longevity and landmark restaurant status, especially as a breakfast destination? Co-owner and sister Carol Pearcy gladly met with me and shared her insights, elaborating on food, friends and family as key ingredients. “The goal then and today remains emphasizing fresh, healthy foods and using local and organic ingredients wherever possible, because it’s how we grew up eating in our family,” says Pearcy. “Most of the recipes at Twin Sisters come from our family, and we want to share them with our friends in the community,” she adds.
I first heard about Twin Sisters through my husband’s family. They raved (and still do) about the Monday night “Emerald Stir-Fry Special” consisting of healthy green vegetables. Turns out, there are many more in their Monday night camp, including Tanji Patton of Goodtaste.tv. As for the breakfast scene, I discovered it a couple of years ago when I met up with some fellow moms for a school event planning meeting. The space was comfortable for spreading out our notes, the food was quick, approachable and delicious, and the Sumatra coffee (French roast) kept flowing. I have attended other meetings at Twin Sisters since and always run into friends and familiar business people also utilizing it as their place to “power breakfast” or be leisurely.
Busy couple Jeff and Sara Brouillard enjoy a standing breakfast date with one another every other week before heading to work. “With three little ones, evenings are hectic, and we are too exhausted for much coherent conversation,” says Sara. “So we look forward to our quiet breakfasts at Twin Sisters before going to work those mornings; we order our rituals … Migas for Jeff (three eggs scrambled with onions, green and red peppers, tortilla chips and cheese) and the Petite Breakfast (one scrambled egg, a slice of bacon and choice of either silver dollar pancakes, slice of toast or twin muffins) for me,” Sara admits. Then she laughs, “We are creatures of habit for sure!”
There are many other outstanding breakfast dishes to highlight as well. I recently tried the Parmesan Ooh La La French Toast, thanks to a recommendation from friend and Twin Sisters regular Lauren Itschner. She described it as “like a sweet, salty, crispy version of French toast.” I call it “a pile of sticky goodness on a plate!”
The other dish I recommend may come as a surprise, but if you have morning rush hour in your home like me, you may rely on instant oatmeal on occasions and not realize you have reduced your palate to the lowest common denominator by doing so. That was my experience when I naively ordered a bowl of Twin Sisters’ oatmeal. Branching out, I requested apples, walnuts, and raisins, and after only one bite, I realized what I had been missing by eating that cardboard oatmeal all of these years. I implore everyone in my shoes to take the Twin Sisters’ oatmeal challenge (with at least a few toppings) and savor all of the wonderful layers of flavors, textures, smells and sights available when diving into their bowl of old-fashioned comfort.
Other noteworthy options include the well-known breakfast tacos and omelets, where traditional and creative additions like sweet potatoes or spinach, to name a few, are available. The Vaquero omelet on the menu caught my eye because it resembles a Mexican version of a Western omelet, replacing ham with non-greasy chorizo — yummy! For vegetarians, options abound on the menu, but ask your server if you have any questions — they are very attentive to customizing orders.
Many people in a hurry often run in for a coffee and a freshly baked muffin (more expanded pastries on the weekends) to take on the road. While the sweet potato muffins are surprisingly good, a speedy alternative is to call in orders or place them using Twin Sisters’ online form. The menu is fast and seamless — 15 minutes was my experience between ordering and picking up.
Family businesses can have their issues, but if this one does, we would not know it because it runs like a well-oiled machine. “Pat is the CEO, and I head up all of the baking and oversee kitchen responsibilities,” Pearcy explained. “It also helps that we work on different days, except for Saturdays, when it is the busiest,” she added. They truly respect one another and their roles – a model for any business. Other family members are also involved, like Pat’s daughter Dominique, who currently works there, and her son, who has in the past. And just in case anyone is new to Twin Sisters history like me, Carol is Pat’s younger sister, who has been there since almost the beginning. The other twin, Pris, decided to step out of the restaurant business in the late’ 80s.
Twin Sisters is a timeless treasure in the Alamo Heights area with a whimsical and artsy vibe. “Jiving to the healthy beat of a different drum since ‘81” reads the lively caption at the top of the menu, summarizing well what continues to set Twin Sisters apart in the world of trendy restaurants here today, gone tomorrow. While breakfast is a meal that often gets kicked to the curb in rush hour traffic, we are fortunate to have Twin Sisters Bakery and Cafe, where authentic community and flavor are alive and well.