By Emily Eiermann
While chain restaurants hold the appeal of familiar flavors and trusted meals, going to a new, independently owned shop, whether the experience is pleasant or not, is a breath of fresh air. Fedora Café, located on Route 206 about 10 minutes north of campus, is just what is needed if your normal restaurant seems dull and ordinary.
Dimly lit with tinted windows, the restaurant seems closed at first glance. However, the sign with the hours of operation and strings of lights in spirals in the front of the building hint at life and the whimsical air inside.
Eclectic is the first word that springs to mind once you step through the doorway. Large butterfly decorations hang from the ceiling, which match the dragonfly lights scattered throughout the small café. Tables are surrounded by mismatched chairs of all colors and styles, and a couple of couches are added into the mix. It is easy to feel immediately comfortable, as everything from the people to the furniture screams casual.
During lunch hours, menus are available at the counter, where you place your order. Salads and paninis are staples, including the option to build your own, with a variety of meats, cheeses and breads. Some of the pre-made sandwiches include the Fedora Club, which contains grilled chicken, goat cheese, tomato, bacon, baby greens, corn salsa and avocado relish, and the Pastrami Panini with coleslaw, Russian dressing and swiss cheese. The food is basic, reasonably priced for the portions and cooked well.
During dinner, the atmosphere shifts. Easy-going waiters arrive, allowing you to sit back and relax while you order and await the arrival of your food. The menu changes drastically as well. It expands to include appetizers, “baby appetizers” and entrees.
There are four appetizers and three baby appetizers, including roasted vegetable nachos and BBQ chicken flatbread. The meals range from salads to fish to burgers and other types of meat, including their fried chicken, the description of which reads, “Too embarrassed to admit you love KFC? Well, give our fried chicken a try.” There are classic favorites, like cheeseburgers, and more unique options like the Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad, which is topped off with a pineapple mango salsa. The portions are large and more than enough to satisfy.
For those with a big appetite, Fedora also offers an all-you-can-eat pasta option. Three different types of pasta, eight types of sauces and 10 ingredients are available for $10.99, with the option to add chicken for an extra $2 or crab, calamari or shrimp for an extra $4.
While the food is prepared well enough to keep customers coming back, what really draws people into the café is the dessert selection. Fedora Café offers a huge selection of sweets in a glass case, including simple treats like cannolis and more complex ones such as the raspberry fudge brownie and the French apple galette.
These are so good that the café makes cakes by request for any occasion, particularly weddings. It boasts the ability to re-create designs in photographs or custom make them to best suit the customer’s needs. The restaurant also offers catering for such events.
However, a trip to the café needs to be planned carefully. The building is small, so space can sometimes be hard to come by, particularly when the outdoor seating is closed because of bad weather. Also, the hours of operation can be limiting. It is closed on Mondays and open only for brunch on Sundays.
Nonetheless, Fedora Café offers an interesting alternative to the normal restaurants.