The Sidewalk Cafe is located in the Fan District and is supposed to be a good time for drunch (brunch with drinks), so I wanted to make sure we went on a Saturday morning. I called ahead to ask how long the wait was, since this restaurant is known to always have a wait for brunch. It was only about half an hour, and they were nice enough to make an exception for us and put our name on the list before we arrived.
When we arrived, there were a fair amount of people waiting outside to be seated. They also have outdoor seating but it was a bit too chilly for anyone to sit out there. Fortunately, we did not have to wait and they sat us right away. The atmosphere of the restaurant is pub-like and the menu is diner-like. I was surprised to see some little kids running around since everyone there was drinking alcoholic drinks and the bar was full of people having a morning brew. But it really seemed like a comfortable family joint and everyone was made to feel like a regular. At the table next to us, one of the waitresses sat down and chatted with people at the booth for so long I thought she was part of their party until she got up and started clearing plates. Sitting behind us was a big party of about 15 people celebrating someone's birthday and having a blast. Other tables were filled with families and young people. The crowd was very eclectic and they all seemed to make it their home. I think the table next to us was camped out in their booth for the entire day -- it did not seem as if they had intentions of going anywhere.
The first thing we ordered was a pitcher of mimosas. It was only $10.50 and served us well over 4 mimosas -- such a great deal. Everything on the menu looked amazing and we had a hard time deciding whether to order breakfast food since all of the lunch options sounded great, too. The owner of the restaurant is probably Greek because they have tons of food "a la Greek" and some specialty Greek food that I have not seen outside of a Greek restaurant. When I saw they had saganaki as an option for an appetizer, I was sold. I love that stuff. Saganaki is a fried Greek cheese that is very salty, melted and served on fire (literally). When they brought it out, it caught the attention of the whole restaurant because it was flaming and crackling loudly as if it was still on the frying pan. The waitress brought it over to our table and squeezed fresh lemon juice over the dish, which helped put out the flames and added a nice tanginess to the cheese. It was also served with a small loaf of bread to put the saganaki on, but it was so delicious by itself that we decided eating it with bread actually took away from the cheese. The plate was huge, definitely meant to serve more than two people, so we only finished part of it.
For my main dish I decided to order the cajun hash and eggs. It came with blackened potatoes, shrimp, sausage, onions and peppers with two eggs over easy and fontina cheese. The proportions in the dish were perfect. It was very flavorful but not overwhelming, so there was still room to add ketchup or hot sauce if you are in the mood.
I added small pieces of the saganaki: an excellent addition. My friend ordered the chicken parmigiana, which was served with pasta. The dish was huge and really delicious. It perfectly hits the spot if you are in the mood for it. We both brought home half of our meals and about half of the appetizer and made it our dinner that night.
I would highly recommend going to The Sidewalk Cafe. It was a fun and welcoming atmosphere with amazing food and drinks at a very reasonable price. Definitely worthy of becoming a "regular" spot.
Contact collegian contributor Sarah Stewart at email@example.com
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