Square Café

By | February 7, 2006

Square Café
1137 S. Braddock Ave
Regent Square, 15218
412-422-8002
T-Sun 7am-3pm; Dinner: Fri & Sat 5pm-10pm

We discovered the Square Café, located in the quaint business district of Regent Square, soon after it opened. It seemed like we heard the buzz from everywhere. My friend Rachel B’s ultimate Frisbee team was being sponsored by Square Café, and she would rave about the salmon BLTs. Then my friend Rachel FS came out of nowhere going on and on about the brunch. So we gave the Square Café a shot, and it started a long love affair with oatmeal, pancakes, and breakfast quesadillas.

Square Café serves breakfast and lunch, plus dinner on some nights of the week. Its funky décor (geometric in nature, of course) gives it a mow-dairn edge that could have been cheesy, but its not. They serve fresh takes on traditionals that almost always work out to a delicious concoction more than the sum of its parts. For lunch, the salads are large and the sandwiches creative (though I believe the salmon BLT is now extinct). But breakfast is, I think, what this place is most popular for.

My absolute favorite breakfast item to get is the Potato Pancakes. These are not a regular menu item, but they are so good I wanted to extol their virtues anyway. The potato pancakes are more like patties of mashed potato than they are like patties of shreds. They are served with your regular toppings of sour cream and applesauce, and when you bite into them, they are creamy and delicious. You get two great fat pancakes, which should fill you up. I seem to always miss the weekends when they are a special, which makes me very sad indeed, so I’d like to implore the Square Café (if you’re reading this) to add the potato pancakes to the regular menu.

Next on my list is either the Breakfast Quesadilla or the Pumpkin Pancakes, depending on my mood and the season. For summer, I’ll go with the Breakfast Quesadilla. It is exactly what you expect, with eggs, cheese, peppers, mushrooms, onions, salsa, and sour cream. One of these always hits the spot! Sometimes it arrives with too much paprika on the top, so that you might choke on the dustiness of it. This problem is solved by ordering it spare on the paprika, or by just removing some of it when it arrives. For fall, the Pumpkin Pancakes delight with all the warm spices of a pumpkin pie, and walnuts in the batter to boot. I used to think DeLucca’s pumpkin pancakes were the best, but that was just because they were the only joint in town that offered them. Now I know….for a fluffy perfect pumpkin pancake, the Square Café is the place to go. Truth be told, I have a little pumpkin obsession, and so I could order these any time of the year. Luckily for me, these babies ARE on the menu full time!

The square café is also great for omelet connoisseurs, as there are a bevy of fillings to choose from. In particular, I love the fact that I can get goat cheese in my omelet, because my taste buds have a permanent fascination with it. There are all sorts of veggies to stuff in there too. Speaking of veggies, the Square Café is a wonderful place for vegetarians to go because there are so many vegetarian friendly options – practically all of them. In particular, the Tofu Scramble is a filling but light alternative to anything eggy or cheesy, good for the vegan or dieter inside you.

The coffee here is pretty decent, B+, and the toasted Ciabatta is absolutely lovely. Do not fear it because it is neither white, nor rye, nor pumpernickel. The Ciabatta will be loved by even the fickle. What might not be loved by even the fickle (or even the non-fickle such as myself) is the ‘homemade apple topping’. It doesn’t say anywhere on the menu, so let me tell you here: this is NOT hot cinnamon apples; this is shredded up apple slaw. I don’t particularly like it, but maybe that is because my brain is always thinking that it might be hot cinnamon apples (which would be a yummy topping for just about anything from the griddle). As long as I am mentioning the few inadequacies of the Square Café, I will include the fact that the oatmeal is inconsistent. On some days, it’s the best thing you have ever had in your entire life. But it’s a total crapshoot – I’ve had some very gummy, dry oatmeal here. But the days where it is so good makes you get it again and again, hoping that this time will be a repeat of that heavenly oatmeal you had once (and occasionally it is).

And I almost forgot! The Square Café is one of the only places that serves Nutella on a regular basis, inside their crepes, and also in specials. There are some people out there who are nuts for nutella, and if you are one of them, you need to drive to Regent Square this Sunday and order some crepes. Be warned though, the wait for this very popular spot can be very long, even in the summer when the limited outdoor seating is open. You are best going in the early morning hours or very late morning/noon to avoid the giant crowd. Or you could go on any other day of the week aside from Monday! The best thing about the Square Café is that, unlike many breakfasts that drag you down in a sleepy overstuffed haze, you can get a breakfast that will provide lasting and healthful nourishment for the day ahead.

GET:
Potato Pancakes
Practically all breakfast items
Salads for Lunch

DON’T GET:
Homemade apple topping, unless slaw is what you are expecting

SNEAKY TIP:
The Square Café does not take cards, BUT there is an ATM conveniently located inside, near the bathrooms!


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