From the Workers Who Sometime Lunch files, we visited the newest location of the eCafé at 249 Main on a mundane Wednesday. Having never visited the original (487 Main St.) we were curious if we could add the walkable location to our routine.
The space is lovely with a high tin ceiling and brightly painted walls. A key point: The entrance has a vestibule that will keep winter winds at bay when they arrive.
The menu is posted on the wall and also at a register back where folks order. Find a seat and they bring out your food.
OK, lets get this out of the way. The Chicken Noodle Soup ($1.99) was watery. It had plenty of noodles, chicken, celery and carrots, but it needed oomph. We doubt eCafé is simmering chicken bones for stock, so whatever is being used needs to be more or better.
Enough said. The rest was really good.
Small salads include chef ($3.25), Greek ($3.85), Julienne ($4.65) and Caesar ($3.85). Large, or adding chicken or steak to a salad, moves prices from $4.50 to $7.25. Dressing choices include several from fat-free Italian and red wine vinaigrette to honey mustard and Parmesan peppercorn.
As expected, hot and cold sandwiches, wraps and paninis make up the bulk of the menu. We counted eight types of breads and several flavors of wraps.
The cheapest sandwiches are hummus ($3.75) and egg salad ($4.50). A turkey club clocks out at $5.75. Hot sandwiches go up but max out at $6.99 for a 4-ounce grilled steak. Wraps range from a $4.50 Vegetarian Harvest Wrap to a $6.99 Philly Steak Wrap. Paninis follow with tuna ($5.99) to steak ($7.25).
Daily specials are posted online. On our trip it was a wedge salad with bacon radish dressing ($5.75), a half sandwich with chips and drink ($4.75), small chef with soup ($4.75) and our choice, the half sandwich with chef salad ($5.75). (Combos come with cold sandwiches.)
The half chicken salad had just the right amount of mayo, or was noted, “Good, it’s not stuck to the bread.” It came on perfectly toasted wheat bread with just the right amount of leafy romaine and tomatoes. The chicken salad was creamy enough with crunchy celery. The side salad was lovely and made with romaine, tomatoes, cukes and grated Parmesan.
Flatbread of the Day Chicken Bruschetta ($7.95) was also delicious. Cut into four large slices, each had chicken, chunks of tomato, onion and plenty of garlic all topped with gooey mozzarella. The flatbread was grilled and was crispy, yet chewy and delectable.
We spied on others’ lunches. A large chicken Caesar ($7.25) a Greek vegetarian melt ($5.99) and some type of big wrap looked great.
A woman at the next table had the daily special tomato soup ($2.49). We had to ask about it.
“Good. A little on the sweet side,” was the answer. She tipped the bowl to show us the creamy soup with lots tomato chunks. Seasonal chili ($3.25) will be available. Fix the chicken noodle soup and all will be well at eCafé.
Where: 249 Main St. (also 487 Main St.)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.
Scene: Fast casual restaurant.
Food: Breakfast served until 11 a.m. Self-serve drinks.
More: Free Wi-fi; Samsung tablets for guests’ use. Take out.
NFTA Metro stop: Seneca Street
Wheelchair-accessible: Yes, but tight tables.
Info: 691-9248, ecafe716.com and Facebook