Café at Artspace: Have your Culture and Eat it, Too!

Restaurant of the week:

I took the Downtown Lunch Trolley to Café at Artspace recently and I got a pleasant surprise.

When I entered Artspace, I was greeted by the jazz club setting that Artspace has transformed into for its newest exhibition showcasing the photography of international photographer, Jerry Dantzic, with never-before-seen photographs of jazz legends from  1950-60. The large photos of the exhibit graced the walls and caught my eye as I walked by them and up the stairs to the Café.

The Café at Artspace is in a loft-style setting and on the second floor of the building. There is another gallery one more story up that you can get to by walking up another flight of stairs from the Café. It is all very open and even though the dining area is not very big, it feels much larger than it actually is.

At a table by the top of the stairs were three women sipping on iced-teas and laughing loudly. We sat at a café style dining set covered with a black tablecloth. Around us were tables in a similar style and of varying heights, covered in either black or white tablecloths. Other than the three ladies, my husband and I were the only patrons. From the looks of the tables, however, it appeared that they had been busy earlier in the day but at this later hour (around 1 p.m.) they were slowing down.

Our waitress came and got our drink orders: a sweet tea for me and a Coke for my husband. We took a moment to look over the menu and I finally decided on “The Original,” a grilled chicken sandwich with fresh pesto, spinach, tomato and mozzarella cheese, on grilled sourdough bread. I also ordered a side of pasta salad.

My husband ordered “The Modulation,” a make-your-own style sandwich on which he piled turkey, ham, bacon and Swiss cheese onto grilled sourdough bread. He had a side of potato chips with his creation.

We sat and listened to some jazz music and enjoyed the quiet of the room (even with the ladies still laughing and gossiping.) We chatted and waited for our meal to be served, discussing the art exhibit downstairs and some of the upcoming events that were being displayed on a small TV next to us. We didn’t wait very long for our food, though.

It was clear to the both of us that my husband was going to enjoy his as he did create his own. Mine, however, was much more delicious and filling than I expected! The home-made pesto sauce was tangy and fresh and the bread was simply amazing. The pasta salad had the perfect amount of Italian sauce and vegetables.

But, the final touch that has sealed my fate as a repeat customer was most definitely the Vanilla Bean Crème Brule. I love Crème Brule. It is undoubtedly my favorite dessert, and at Café at Artspace I may have found the best Crème Brule I have ever eaten. My husband kept laughing at me because I seriously could not stop smiling as I ate it! Even thinking about it has me grinning like a fool as I type. Yes, it is really that good.

I highly recommend Café at Artspace, and even took the time to fillout a comment card at the registry. The atmosphere, service, and (most importantly) the food is superb and definitely worth a repeat visit. 




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