Empire Cafe is a meaningful place to me. You ask me where I want to be on a weekend morning, that’s usually my answer. The food is excellent. The people and staff know their customers. The coffee is fill on your own, no waiting and comes with two shortbread cookies that when I first bite into them, just feel like home cooked breakfast is about to begin.
It has seating out back, in front, and inside. They have coffee to sangria on a weekend brunch morning. I recently had their Eggs Benedict with Creamed Spinach and I believe the phrase is, “And I saw the light….”. They generally have healthy choices as well – granola, eggs over easy with toast, fruit trays and the like. One of my favorites that I’ve forgotten to order lately is their polenta with milk and cream. The carb load is so sweet with a nutty taste of almond sprinkling it just beckons to be crowned “the new oatmeal.”
They are also home to cake. Not just cake. But cake. The typical slice could easily make 3 people happy. Or one birthday girl overjoyed. I’ve had their peanut butter chocolate – a favorite of mine – and it’s as if a peanut butter cup had a love affair with betty crocker’s chocolatier. It’s gorgeous. Moist, without being sticky – the kind of cake that you’d assume sat out too long still retains it’s bounce without having a crumbly bite. The icing could be cloyingly sweet if it weren’t for the perfected thinness between the multiple layers.
The Empire Cafe is people watching at it’s finest. The hungover 20 and 30somethings who come in to get the edge off. The families who bring their children to meet up for play dates and have a stack of Italian toast. The couples coming in who still haven’t woken up all the way just to beat the rush. The Sunday morning paper readers. It’s lovely to see this mix of city dwellers. I wish I had the guts to photograph it.
Empire Cafe – http://www.empirecafe.com/ – 713-528-5282
Rating – spoon, fork and knife – it’s king of the world—empire.