THE VIBE: Cafë 56, which opened last June, has a homey feel. You order your breakfast, lunch, or food at a counter that is connected to bar seating. The open kitchen gives the owner and chefs the chance to connect with customers who can watch the food prep. The coffee and tea are set up for help-yourself" service, creating a comfortable atmosphere. . There are tables and two wooden window booths, creating seating for about 30 people. The walls are a warm maroon pressed tin, with posters of Macaws done by a local artist for Cafë 56. This art and the hand-made tablecloths and napkins that are for sale add to the culturally rich feel of the cafe owned by Sabrina Cortes who is from Guatamala.
When we visited, we heard jazz music on the sound system and enjoyed looking at black and white pictures of the building and scenes from early Middletown. The chef and owner, and pastry chef make the experience more personal by chatting with customers.
THE FOOD: The excellent pastries are baked daily at Cafë 56 by Ed Thereault, and all the food is made from scratch. On Saturdays and holidays, breakfast is served all day. I ordered breakfast, French toast made with freshly baked croissants with berry compote topped with powdered sugar. Using croissants for French toast was an inventive new and delicious spin on a traditional dishThe side of crispy bacon on the side, was exactly as advertised. My friend ordered the special, which was a three-cheese omelet with Brie, Mozzarella, and Cheddar , served with potatoes topped with a paprika sauce. The the cheeses were nicely balanced . The paprika sauce drizzle over the omelet had a slight kick in that spiced up the omelet and red potato homefries nicely. The lunch menu features signature "Tacandwich" options, this was invented by the owner. To quote the menu a "Tacandwich" is "A combination of Latin American taco fillings served in a Portuguese roll, giving you the great flavors of the tacos you love with the convenience of a sandwich." The various "Tacandwich" options have different fillings. Choices include El Mexicano (Roasted, achiote marinated, chicken, green citrus slaw, avocado, salsa fresca and our signature chilera sauce ) and the Argentine (Grilled marinated skirt steak, our house slaw and green chimichurri sauce, caramelized onions with our spicy pimento mojo on the side.) The lunch menu also offers traditional sandwiches and salads.
THE BILL: All of the food and pastries on the menu are reasonably priced. The full breakfasts come with complementary coffee and refills. For both of the breakfasts I ordered, the bacon, and two pastries we ordered to go, we paid $21 and change. It was money well spent, I had a full belly, and the experience was an added perk of dining at Cafë 56.
THE PARTICULARS: Open Monday-Friday 7a.m.to 2:30 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m.to 3 p.m. Breakfast is served all day on Saturday.. There is free one hour parking across the street in a garage.
THE VERDICT: , The food is outstanding at an extremely affordable price. Not only do you get good food, but also a cultural experience and the friendly service only enriches the dining experience.