Coca Café

By | April 3, 2006

Coca Café
3811 Butler St
Lawrenceville   15201
T-F 7-3, Sat 8-4, Sun 10-3

I’m going to do something I don’t normally do: be straightforward.  Coca Café is one of my new favorite breakfast huts in town.  Not only is it cheap and delicious, but the menu has all sorts of items covering a little bit of every breakfast spectrum: healthful to fatty, savory to sweet, vegetarian to meaty, and plain to interesting.  Coca Café is in an awesome part of town, Lawrenceville, and it supports local artists, selling their work on their walls and during occasional art openings.  Their coffee is good, and they also serve a delectable lunch.  This time, it isn’t too good to be true.

When you walk in, you’ll notice that Coca Café is bright and happy with an array of delightfully mismatched tables and chairs.  The seating area is actually pretty small, so you can anticipate a little bit of a wait on most Sunday mornings.  Bigger groups are seated in the front room where there are a couple of large tables, but there is also a sunny little back room where smaller groups fit perfectly.  The service is not always super-fast, but I never care because everyone is so friendly that breakfast becomes a leisurely stroll through fields of coffee and eggs.  It is also a wonderful pace at which to chat with your friends or go over papers with a client.

As I said before, there is a breakfast dish to suit everyone’s style.  You’ve got your basic eggs, potatoes, and ham (thank goodness for ham slices), but you’ve got funkier dishes too.  There is a breakfast burrito, a French toast stuffed with herbed goat cheese (a little too dry for me), and banana bread topped with ricotta and honey.  For a light and healthful breakfast, try the egg white omelet with goat cheese and basil (yum), the oatmeal, or the orange-vanilla yogurt parfait with dried fruit (MMM).  The parfait is a little bit like an orange creamsicle with craisins and homemade orange-flavored granola mixed in.  It is super-yum.  Other menu items include a couple kinds of omelets, almond French toast, mushroom risotto cakes, and apple-cinnamon panini – a sort of sweet breakfast sandwich.  They also regularly have lip-smacking specials like fruity bread puddings and breakfast sandwiches on challah.  I once heard about a crepe special with mandarin orange and avocado that sounds right up my alley – I’m just waiting for them to offer it again.  You can also get turkey bacon or soy sausage and they will cook anything the way you like it, so they really are accommodating to all who step through the threshold.

If you aren’t a breakfast person, try Coca Café for lunch.  I haven’t been able to yet myself, but I’ve never ever heard a bad thing about lunch at Coca.  I have heard opinions from entirely separate circles of friends about how good the salads, sandwiches, and wraps are.  One Jessica N. loves the warm ham and cheese wrap with apple butter and has confessed to thinking about it at night while drifting away to sleep.  Another friend expounds the virtues of the salad with caramelized onions, dried blueberries (or bluebaisins as I call them), and blueberry stilton.  I can’t wait to try it!

So if you are bored of DeLuca’s, like Square Café but wish it were cheaper, can’t stand eating a stick of butter on your Pamela’s pancakes, or you just think that Pittsburgh is fresh out of cheap, delicious, and interesting breakfast places, you should make your way to Lawrenceville for a pleasant surprise.  Maybe even have a chai latte or hot chocolate to make it a perfect day.

Coffee: B+ (La Prima)

Yogurt Parfait
4-cheese omelet
Try anything that suits your fancy!

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