2020 would have seemed to be the worst time to enter the restaurant world, but that’s what Ben Kelley and a host of partners did when they opened Emmett’s Cafe in their edge-of-German-Village location in October.
I admit I didn’t think much of it at first. There were plenty of more familiar favorites that needed our support during pandemic times. Also, Emmett’s isn’t as convenient a location for us to get to, especially in an era of takeout (freshly cooked food is only naturally going to suffer the longer you have to transport it.) Finally, nothing specifically jumped out at me on the menu, save for the slightly intriguing twist of Aussie-based coffee drinks on the menu.
Appearances are often deceiving, and in this case they definitively were. The coffee drinks are good, but the menu items have more than exceeded our expectations.
I heard from others that the Breakfast Burrito was a must-try. I was skeptical (I mean, a breakfast burrito is a breakfast burrito, right?) And my general belief is if you’re going to do one, you’re better off at a Mexican restaurant.
But I bit. And I bit and I bit and I bit some more until I was all done.
In fact, several times we have bit on this burrito and other Emmett’s Cafe goodies and we can safely say this is some of the most delicious fare you can grab in the metro these days. The referenced burrito’s ingredients come off as gourmet (including crispy prosciutto, tater tots, and chipotle aioli), but the final experience comes off as completely satisfying as opposed to being feeling fancy for fancy-sakes. The just about equally as good Meat & Tato also sports some gourmet-style ingredients (arugula, house-pickled onions, and an Everything Roll from the always welcome Matija Breads.)
We’re happy when we find breakfast items without egg on the menu (instead of having to ask to remove the egg) and Emmett’s has two such items in their bowls – the very good South High Salad and the even better Harvest Salad. Even their Treats, while not large in number, are big on flavor, such as their Choco-Tahini Crispy and the Lemon Rosemary Bar.
Emmett’s has proven so popular that they’re on their way to opening up a second location, at the Open Air facility in Clintonville, with Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s new brewing/dining venture Understory and Butcher Shop Fitness facility as neighbors.
Deceiving indeed…in a good way.Continue reading “Appearances Can Be Deceiving”