Situated across the street from the Lincoln Park Whole Foods and next door to a strip club, Kingsbury Street Café is an oasis in a restaurant dessert. Until Kingsbury Street Café arrived in 2011, brunch options in the North and Sheffield area were slim to none. While the service has been hit or miss since its inception, the food has always been consistently fresh, healthy and delicious.
Kingsbury Street Café is open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and brunch on weekends. While reservations are accepted, they are limited, and walk-in wait times can exceed one hour. The host stand tends to become flustered during these peek times, complete with eye-rolls and sighs of exasperation being imparted upon guests wishing to withstand the wait. Their reward for survival is great food.
Upon entering the restaurant, a bakery case filled with huge fluffy meringues, large cupcakes, and seasonally decorated cookies sit temptingly waiting to be gobbled up. The proprietors have owned and run a bakery for the past twenty-five years and, therefore, all breads and pastries are made fresh on site. For a quick bite, a freshly baked croissant or muffin, along with a smooth warming latte, can be ordered to go from the counter. Beyond the bakery case is a large white dining room with high ceilings and an open kitchen. Colors are muted and tables are light wood with clean lines. Floor to ceiling windows in the front of the space allow sunlight to flood in.
The menu has changed little since the restaurant opened three years ago. Kingsbury Street Café attempted dinner service for a short time, but elected to concentrate on breakfast, lunch and brunch, and brunch is what keeps me coming back. The lemon pancakes, served with fresh blueberries and a bright and lively crème anglaise and lemon sauce, are some of the best pancakes offered in the city. The shrimp egg white frittata, served open-faced and topped with three jumbo shrimp, savory roasted tomatoes, and spinach, is a healthy, protein-rich option that still offers tons of flavor, especially with the addition of a sprinkling of goat cheese. Health nuts will equally enjoy the option to create your omelet with items such as kale, leeks, turkey sausage or Amish grilled chicken. The breakfast quinoa and chia seed breakfast pudding are unique, refreshing, and healthy menu offerings. To taste a little bit of everything, the Kingsbury Café Breakfast comes complete with two fresh organic eggs, house roasted tomatoes, herb potatoes, a freshly baked cheddar scone, and the choice of maple glazed bacon or house made turkey breakfast patties.
Lunch embraces the owners’ Vietnamese heritage with items such as the bahn mi sandwich with pork belly and pickled daikon, the Vietnamese salad, featuring cabbage, mint, Asian basil and sweet pepper, and the grilled vegetable rice wrap filled with hoisin glazed tofu and sweet chili sauce.
While Kingsbury Street Café consistently produces solid food, the same cannot be said for the spotty service. Servers often stand around talking to each other while food sits under heat lamps waiting for delivery, and it can take up to ten minutes for a server to greet his guests after beating seated. The hosts also need to have better composure during those busy brunch times. But, in the end, you come to Kingsbury Street Cafe for the food, not the service. As a result, you will leave very happy.