By Lauren Diggin.

The age-old advice to never judge a book by its cover comes to mind when walking into JJ’s Caffe in Brockton. The restaurant looks like a typical local breakfast spot from the outside, but diners are in for a treat when they walk through the door.

The space is bright and inviting, with petite flower arrangements on butcher block tables and vibrant paintings by local artist Jo Velhinho on the walls. A sign above the door reads, “Enter as strangers. Leave as friends,” and the staff’s warm welcome and friendly service show that JJ’s takes those words to heart.

The menu is small, designed to feature in-season items and dishes that are the most popular with diners. On the breakfast menu, the Hash Bomb and the Crème Brulee French Toast are favorites, with good reason. The Hash Bomb is three deep-fried corned beef hash balls, stuffed with cheddar cheese and hot sauce, then topped with sausage gravy and more cheddar. The Crème Brulee French Toast features a layer of caramelized sugar and is topped with house-made apple cinnamon syrup and crème fraiche.

The breakfast menu also includes banana bread french toast and three different Benedicts–one with steak, one with salmon, and one with lobster and crab–along with classic breakfast choices. There are also a few smoothies from which to choose.

The lunch menu is smaller than the breakfast menu but offers enough choices to satisfy everyone. There are burgers, salads, wraps, and a couple of entrees such as mango lime salmon and steak frites (for lunch!), both served on a bed of seasonal vegetables. There are also a variety of sides available.

Bottled soda from Simpson Springs in Easton is served, as is meat sold from Crocetti’s in East Bridgewater. JJ’s own hot sauce, Fogo Fire, is on the tables and available for sale, as is their signature blend coffee, which features beans from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia.

Owner and chef JJ Fernandes has 30 years of experience in the kitchen. He started his career as a dishwasher at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston and worked his way up through the ranks. Before opening JJ’s in 2013 with his sons, Nelson and Nick, JJ was executive chef at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Nelson, who is the general manager, also started his career in hospitality at Boston hotels.

JJ’s Caffe seats about 40 people, and those lucky enough to snag what staff call a front row seat at the counter can watch the chef at work in the open kitchen. Wait times for breakfast on the weekends can run as long as 90 minutes during peak times, but the waitlist can be viewed online from the website.

Every city and town has spots that are favored by those who live nearby or are “in the know,” but JJ’s Caffe is a true hidden gem. The décor, the quality of the food and its lovely presentation, and the hospitable and efficient staff all add up to a great local dining experience. The love and gratitude JJ and his sons have for the restaurant shine through.

JJ’s Caffe
610 North Main Street
Brockton, MA 02301
(508) 510-4227

Lauren Diggin is a South Shore-based writer, aspiring locavore, and black-thumbed gardener. She is slowly and not-so-systematically eating her way through the local breakfast spots in a twentyish mile radius of her home.