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The breakfast! Caf claims to serve the largest fry-up in the land.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY

IF you thought The Big Breakfast was just a dodgy old TV show, then think again.

When it comes to record-breaking, calorie-crammed breakfast bonanzas, the truck stops here.

The fries have it at Britain's oldest greasy spoon where lorry drivers from Britain and the Continent flock for the country's BIGGEST brekkie.

Staff at The Hollies transport caf, on the outskirts of Cannock, Staffordshire, struggle with the sheer weight of the Mega Breakfast - aka The Gut-Buster - as they take swamped plates to tables.

It's a pounds 5.50 feast of bacon, two sausages, egg, mushrooms, black pudding, fried bread, beans, hash browns, tomatoes and lashings of buttered toast.

Food gurus are less than impressed with the dish that's crammed with more than 1,000 calories, the equivalent of five Mars bars.

They've dubbed it 'coronary on a plate', with a side order of high blood-pressure and possibly a stroke to follow.

It's the kind of dish that would have Jamie Oliver turning in his grill, but HGV drivers don't care a baked bean about the possible health implications. They're quite happy to Rest in Grease.

Yesterday, I took a leaf out of their cookery book and tackled the UK's biggest breakfast bonanza - and lost.

Weighed I was stumped halfway through the massive meal, and it weighed heavily in my stomach for the rest of the day.

The Mega Breakfast will always have a place in my heartburn.

Oversized truckers on neighbouring tables had no problems, however. Some even cleaned their plate with fried bread.

Preston's Tony Sylvester, 45, rubbed his stomach, took a slurp from his mug and announced: "It's a greasy spoon without the grease."

Tony is trying to watch what he eats. "It's a lot easier to eat more healthily abroad," he confessed. "In the French caffs you get vegetables, not chips."

Each week The Hollies - known locally as Greasy Lil's - fries 300 sausages and 1,024 pounds of bacon, serving as many as 300 breakfasts a day.

It's those fry-ups that have, by and large, financed The Hollies' long, successful career. It began life as a tea-room in the 1920s and ten years later had gained a national reputation as a favoured stop-off for lorry-drivers.

In 1950, even Hollywood great Gregory Peck dined there.

Current co-owner Nick Whatmore, 35, said: "We serve salads and vegetables now because more customers want healthy options, but it's the breakfast that has kept this place going, and made it known throughout the country."

Manageress Yvonne Jones added: "It's the Mega Breakfast everyone goes for because of the value. It's only 50p more than a regular portion, and you get everything."

The Hollies transport cafe, A5, Gailey, serving Britains biggest Mega Breakfast, pictured is Aimee Sampson,21 from Cheslyn Hay But not everyone is making a meal of it. Last night a leading dietician warned that regulars may pay a far heavier price because of the breakfast's high fat, salt content and sheer size.

Paul McArdle, clinical dietician with Birmingham Community Health Care NHS Trust, said: "Any meal that is high in fat will take longer to digest. The stomach is emptying slowly, which is why you get more bloated.

"The saturated fat content - animal fat - is the type that clogs your arteries, the type we should all be reducing.

"If this is over 1,000 calories, that's more than half your daily calorie requirement, particularly for a trucker, who is sedentary all day."

The 34-year-old added: "I'm not unrealistic. I'm not suggesting people have porridge and muesli, though that would be great. It's OK to have something cooked, but with this, the volume of food is too much."

He's in a minority at the Hollies, where grease is the word.

CAPTION(S):

BEATEN: Mike Lockley could not finish his brekkie GUTBUSTER: Aimee Sampson and Yvonne Jones serving their Mega Breakfast. Left, Gregory Peck once dined at The Hollies transport caf.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2012
Words:651
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