The Fast Foodie 

On the front door to the Little Café is a small, interesting sign: “No donuts served here.” That might seem odd if the Broadway location was not the former home to first Dunkin’ Donuts and then River City Donuts. Conversions of former chain restaurants can be amusing. Next door, a former Whataburger is now a Mexican restaurant. A bizarre website
( dedicates itself to chronicling this conversion

The Little Café, however, is anything but odd. They strive to be an old-fashioned diner that is both fresh and affordable, something that a place like Cracker Barrel hopes to achieve through its art direction and simulated authenticity. The Little Café may not look the part, but it is very much the genuine article.

Upon entering, I practically had a Vietnam-era flashback and felt the urge to order a half-dozen chocolate cake donuts and a box of Munchkins. The moment passed and I took a seat at the long counter next to a hipster and some man who looked a lot like the former celebrity Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. There are only three other tables, each adorned with old books, which adds a friendly vibe. Also, behind the counter on the walls and on the various machines are photos of the owner’s kids. I thought it was a nice touch.

I arrived at 10:30 a.m., and though I could have attempted an early lunch, I came for the breakfast. Short of trying the breakfast tacos, I wanted to taste the full spectrum of their breakfast options, so I perused the menu over a cup of coffee — which wasn’t gourmet, but serviceable and quickly refilled.

For the main course I ordered two eggs over easy, a side of bacon, hashbrowns, biscuits with jelly, and a pancake. The eggs were a bit too moist for my taste but nothing unpleasant. But ahh, bacon; I hadn’t had bacon in years. The Little Café’s was crisp but not burnt and sweet as well as savory.

The hashbrowns, which I chose over grits, were light and browned just enough on the top, but pretty straightforward. In fact, everything was solid, but by itself not exceptional — except for the pancakes and the biscuits. I ordered my pancake without butter and was impressed that the cook added a few stripes of raspberry and caramel sauce underneath it for flair. The pancake was light, fluffy, and delicious. The biscuits were the best of all — moist, soft, fresh, and wonderful with the peach jelly.  

The pancakes and biscuits alone are good enough for me to give an enthusiastic recommendation for the Little Café’s breakfast. By coincidence, I dined there on Valentine’s Day, which just happened to be the café’s second-year anniversary. The owner casually commented that she wished she had called the newspaper to get a write-up. I tried not to smile when I told her it would be OK.

— Mark Jones



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