Our next stop finds us on the north end of Main Street in Rochester, Michigan for a delicious brunch at the Downtown Café.
There are certain ideas and images one conjures up when he or she thinks of the word “café.” To some the word elicits old world images of early morning pastries and coffee under red patio umbrellas and waiters in bistro aprons with pencil thin mustaches. There may be a riverfront or an accordion in the background but that’s imaginary preference. The term could also bring to mind images of big stacks of pancakes with country potatoes and bacon, a scratchy sounding Allman Brothers record playing on the Jukebox, and blue-cotton waitresses telling you to “kiss my grits.” To me the word “café”, like a good chili, can be interpreted many different ways in many different parts of the state. The Downtown Café finds a good medium with its unpretentious interior and straight-to-the-point take on classic dishes.
Through the dust and broken concrete from a downtown street overhaul our party found its way to a four top inside the 12 table dining
room. First I should mention that there is always a wait on Sundays. Be prepared to spend at least 15 minutes catching up on the local news or sports on your Smartphone or actually talking to the rest of your group if you’re old fashioned like that. Inside the cafe on the wall are the day’s specials that are not printed on the menu. Among the specials one can usually see the signature Crème Brulee French Toast or Michigan Pancakes the latter of which are fluffy concoctions with cherries, nuts, and apples and served with a side of fresh fruit or meat. One of today’s specials was a Raspberry Compote French Toast that sounded wonderful from the waiter’s description but sadly none of us ordered it because we walked in knowing what we would be eating today. My girlfriend, Emily, ordered the quiche with fresh fruit. The quiche was fluffy, light and tasty enough that I would not mind setting aside my man card for a meal just so I could enjoy this quiche. Emily’s mother and I both ordered the Pumpkin pancakes with a side of Bacon. What came on my plate were two big pancakes with just the right amount of pumpkin flavor and the fluffiest texture I’ve ever had in a pancake. You
know what Pumpkin pancakes mean, don’t you? Fall is coming! It’s a good season to be a foodie and these pancakes are a warm reminder of that truth.
Sandwiches and soups are also served and they are not without their own merit. During a previous visit I had French Onion soup with a Grilled Chicken Club Wrap that were both spot on and freshly made. While lunchtime goodies are served it is the Café’s breakfast that steals the show. Yelp it if you don’t believe me! I have been here a half dozen or so times and every time I receive a good meal, the service is friendly and quick, and I leave wanting to come back with a few friends in tow. It’s places like this that make steer me towards local establishments. The Downtown Cafe seems to understand the community and take pride in its food. If you have any questions about how good this restaurant is just ask the dozen or so people waiting to get in.
606 N. Main Street, Rochester