The Fast Foodie

Kayla’s Café
1015 Navarro
7am-10pm Mon-Thu; 7am-midnight Fri-Sat;
7am – Noon Sun
Hidden in a building behind the atmospheric Havana Riverwalk Inn, Kayla’s Café easily eludes discovery. Even supposing you found it, you might not realize that Kayla’s is actually part of the Havana.

I stopped in for a late lunch/early dinner on a balmy Saturday afternoon and was stunned by the unusual design. The current management is trying to incorporate what remains of the previous industrial aesthetic with the hotel’s style, which evokes a Papa Hemmingway-era colonial Cuba.

Someone had put all this energy into art-directing the place, yet no one was there. Only in San Antonio, it seems, can one stumble across a place like this and feel like you’re the first person to discover it.

The menu is very simple — a basic breakfast offering of various egg dishes, with the bulk of the menu comprising soups, salads, and sandwiches. There are a few eclectic flairs, such as crepes, a Cuban-style pork sandwich, and a Thai-inspired chicken sandwich served on a small French baguette.

My dining companion and I split a Greek salad ($6.95) and the Thai sandwich ($8.95), selecting the tomato-basil soup for our side.

The Greek salad seemed more like a Caesar, according to my friend, because she wasn’t expecting romaine lettuce, but I really liked the tomato-basil soup with its subtle addition of cheese. The Thai chicken sandwich was light, sweet, and spicy, and seemed very similar to a Vietnamese sandwich.

One can find similar food at other restaurants for a lower price, but it would be hard for most places to match Kayla’s eclectic aesthetic. I think this is a perfect place to take someone when you don’t have a lot of money but don’t want to appear cheap. The café’s potential is great. If people show up, I think Kayla will fulfill it.

— Mark Jones

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