When I think of diners, I have visions of a small town gathering place where people are are laid back and friendly (but not the type of friendly that’s only looking for a tip) and the food is delicious. I’ve wanted to hit up Riverside Cafe since it opened, but always said I’d wait until I have a good breakfast food craving. Well that craving hit on Monday afternoon. I walked in and felt like I’d traveled back in time, in a good way.

I didn’t feel like I’d jumped backward several decades because of the decor, but rather because of the relaxed atmosphere. It didn’t feel like anyone was rushing. And it felt like everyone was at ease. The same feeling you get when you walk into a room of a close family who’s not really talking, but not avoiding talking, either. It truly was like one of those diners you see on TV, but never thought you’d find in real life. Most diners I’ve been to there’s lots of yelling, so much grease in the air you know your face is going to punish you within the week, and a lot of dropping plates of food on your table as if to say, “Eat and get the hell out.”

Rather, it was relaxed and fairly quiet but there’s still enough going on that it’s not stuffy or you’re not afraid to talk. The kitchen sat back from the dining room. And patrons were comfortably far apart while still being close. Several customers clearly know each other, but many were casually reading the paper. Living in harmony, enjoying lunch (even if it is breakfast food). This is the way I wish life were in general. Breakfast food included.

I was greeted by a friendly server who asked what I wanted to drink. And not in a “I’m your waiter so I’ll get it” way, but in a “Welcome to my house, let me get you a drink” way. I looked at the menu and zoned in immediately on the half order of biscuits and gravy. There were lots of options, and there were also lots of specials written on the gigantic chalk board posted in the room. I don’t have any clue if these specials are standard or if they change frequently. I also noted there were “special” prices on the menu along with regular prices. I believe this is because they offer coupons for two meals, and if you use that, you have to pay regular price. For once there’s a special price for me, even though I’m eating alone. Booyah! I feel the way people describe the experience of meeting their soul mate. And even better, mine comes with a side of b&g!

Ultimately I decided to get chorizo and huevos (chorizo sausage and eggs), which came with toast or tortillas. Um, yes please. Tortillas! When the dish came out, it also had hash browns. The eggs and chorizo were pretty good, but a little salty. That could be contributed to the chorizo, though, and not that it was cooked the wrong way. I don’t think I’ve ever had chorizo before. It just sounded good. The tortillas were ah-maze-ing. I’m not sure if they were homemade or store-bought. But either way they were warm off the grill, mostly soft, with crunchy areas. I longed for a bowl of cheese dip to dip them in.

Oooooh. The chorizo and eggs would have been better with cheese dip, too. Or just cheese. But it’s not unusual for me to want to put cheese on everything.

The biscuits and gravy were sooooooo good! I don’t like gravy that’s sausage laden, so in my eyes this gravy was perfect. Just enough meat to satisfy the craving for sausage and add some flavor to the gravy. And the biscuit. Oh, the biscuit. It was DELICIOUS. Light and fluffy. I felt like I was eating Mom’s Christmas breakfast, which is really the only time I eat biscuits and gravy. This development is both good and bad news. Bad because now I’ll crave b&g and it’ll be right down the street, slowly murmuring my name. But good, because, well… YUMMY!

Riverside Cafe Too is open daily at 6AM. It closes at 8PM everyday except Sunday. When they close at 2PM. I’m sure their busier times are weekends for breakfast, especially the post-church crowd late Sunday mornings.

Overall, one of the best places I’ve eaten in awhile. In fact, every time they brought a roll to another table I contemplated tackling someone to have a bite, but was afraid I wouldn’t be asked back. Anyway, my experience wasn’t awesome only because the food was delicious, albeit unhealthy, but mostly because of the atmosphere and service.

Next time I want to sit at the counter and really have a diner experience!

The specials board. Specials for every day of the week. And then “daily specials” and “rooster specials.” I assume that means early birds, but I’m not sure what constitutes early. It doesn’t matter since I rarely leave my house before 9AM, except under duress.

Chorizo and huevos with two tortillas and hash browns. And a side of biscuits and gravy.

Yummy. Dear Mr. Tortilla, please put some chorizo and eggs in you with some queso and salsa. Then come find me. Hearts, Kelly

This picture doesn’t do it justice. This was biscuit perfection.

NOW do you want to go eat there with me? Call me! I’m not to busy for breakfast!

That’s the counter I’m conquering next time.

Riverside Cafe (S. Woodlawn) on Urbanspoon

  1. Kim says:

    YUM!!! Oh how I love breakfast!!

  2. Jeanette says:

    I LOVE the Cafe. I’m only familiar with the original at 13th and Bitting (also called Jeanette if you go across the street…It’s a sign….no really, there’s a sign that says Jeanette.) How I digress. The B&G are for sure amazing and I’ve NEVER had a bad omlette there. I’m the type that prefers the entire garden and farm in my omlette so my taste may differ from picky eaters that roam amungst us. Basically, call me anytime you want a buddy to venture to the Cafe. I’ll even go to Cafe part deux. I’ve been curious to see how it compares.

    • Kelly says:

      I want to go back. And I want to go to the original! And I LOVE an over-stuffed omelet. Fill it up with everything. Well, except ham. I’m not sure why I never want ham?

  3. […] a chorizo style brat (yes, even after I ordered and didn’t really care for chorizo at Riverside Cafe Too) with red onions, jack cheese, avocado wedges, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. Sounds yummy, […]

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