There are two things you can count on when visiting quintessential mom and pop shops: comfort eats and hospitality. As Deco Café moves into its second month as Café Tutti’s replacement, the shop fulfills those purposes well.
Opened by Army veteran Jesse Camacho, Deco Café focuses on the most important meal of the day (new studies debunking breakfast’s power, be damned) along with lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The shop’s interior has changed slightly, but the essence of the former lunch spot persists. Camacho, who retired as chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, designed a small but efficient menu that includes a handful of breakfast items, pastries, salads and sandwiches.
You’re not going to find crazy ingredients or the latest culinary techniques here, and that’s totally OK, and completely welcome. Visits to Deco Café mean finding expertly and timely made sammies and salads you could toss together at home with fresh ingredients.
Fans of the area can choose from one of four West Side-themed salads, including the citrusy Monticello, feta-filled Jefferson, sweet Woodlawn with julienne pears and cranberries, and the Deco, a simple offering with mixed greens, tomato, cucumber and shaved carrots; all topped with house-made vinaigrettes, available in red wine, honey and balsamic.
For lunch, the Espada Club, with mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, turkey, bacon and Swiss was served on toasted white bread. A $2 surcharge procured fresh-cut watermelon and blueberries as a side instead of the usual Kettle chips. My partner’s Capistrano was equally loaded, but far from messy, as the smoked turkey, cucumber, mozzarella and avocado all stayed in place. I capped off my lunch with a pleasant café con leche (still a staple from the Café Tutti days) and went on my way. We left sated and recharged, without a major dent in the wallet.
I returned for a quick breakfast pickup days later, jonesin’ for a café con leche to get me going. I opted for two breakfast goodies—a breakfast sandwich and a bagel. Don’t hold your hopes up too high for the bagel, it’ll only make you miss New York delis if you’re familiar. But do get acquainted with the breakfast sandwich made using a toasted English muffin, fried egg, bacon and melted Swiss. Comforting, savory, not too salty and far from greasy, the sandwich was a definite morning win.
What Deco Café lacks in pizzazz, it more than makes up for with solid eats at honest prices.