Taking off on a day trip can yield unexpected treasures. While many components of an itinerary can be foreseen, the choice of dining is always a little mysterious. Looking up reviews on various sites can help, but it still comes down to personal preference. When planning our Miami County Road Trip, their was a limited number of choices that would be locally owned restaurants. Chris’ Cafe quickly rose to the top of the list based on a review of their Facebook page. When we arrived in Osawatomie, we spoke with some of the shop owners about our selection, and they all gushed about the quality of the food at this place. Once hunger began creeping in, we made our way to the restaurant to sample the menu.
Like many small towns we visit, the main thoroughfare holds the majority of the retail businesses. Chris’ cafe is squeezed between a hair salon and a women’s apparel shop, but easy to find. Our visit was after 1:00, so the lunch crowd had mostly cleared. Scattered about were a few groups chatting about the things that are hot topics in a rural community. The seating is a mix of tables and booths, and we picked one that is a combination of both. In the booth next to ours were a couple of elderly ladies. Their conversation was focused on historical events specific to the town. I was a little surprised that we didn’t get more sideways glances when I pulled out the camera.
A lot of cafes serve similar foods. Usually lunch will be a burger or plate of meatloaf. Sandwiches are meat, cheese and condiments layered between slices of bread. You can imagine our surprise when we saw some unique items on the menu. So many dishes looked intriguing, but I finally settled on the Grilled Avocado Sandwich. When it was delivered, I was taken aback. Not only was it a nice collection of ingredients surrounding a chicken breast, it came on a homemade toasted bread. Talking with Chris, the owner, we discovered that she makes all of the bread herself. The quality of the ingredients shone through in the flavors of the meal. My side choice was fresh fruit, and even it was delightful. We had clearly picked the perfect spot for lunch.
Pesto Grilled Cheese
Crystal chose the Pesto Grilled Cheese, which includes a healthy amount of chicken to boot. The toasted bread added just the right amount of crunch to keep her coming back for more bites. Chris explained more about her decision to open her restaurant. At one time, Osawatomie was home to a collection of fast food restaurants. While these serve a purpose for many, it left a void for those looking for higher quality dishes. Being a baker at heart, it was an easy transition to add additional items to her line of breads, cookies and cakes. She soon found her niche and these days has a steady business that offers a big city cuisine to the rural community. We were certainly converted into fans of the place, and decided to add an article about it to our website.
While we were dining, customers would stop by to pick up some of Chris’ homemade desserts. We had seen the pastry cabinet upon entering, but we were focused on something savory at that point. Now that we had satisfied one craving, our sweet tooth kicked in. You should all know by now that we don’t count the calories amassed during blog trips. The lunch crowd had left the restaurant slim on dessert options, but there were still a few left. Chris suggested we try a couple varieties, since they were worlds apart in flavor and texture. The Hawaiian Spice Cake was an absolute dream. The sweetness of the frosting played well off of the flavor of the cake. It was so moist and creamy that we found ourselves constantly going back in for more. Chris had also brought a slice of her Lemon Meringue Pie. This happens to be one of my favorite desserts, and I consider myself an amateur connoisseur. Let me tell you that I was totally impressed. The pie filling had excellent body and just the right amount of tartness to offset the mile-high meringue. What really sealed the deal for me was the crust. Although the pie had been made earlier in the day, (Ours was the next to last slice.) the crust was still crisp and flaky on the bottom. This is unheard of! I was beginning to believe that Chris was some kind of baking sorcerer, and with the taste of everything we ate, we were completely okay with that. Have you ever run across this kind of food in a small town diner? Tell us about it in the comments section below.