Mae’s Phinney Ridge Cafe

Written by on October 9, 2010 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Phinney Ridge
How I heard of this place: About eight years ago, when I first moved to Seattle, my friend Maggie suggested Mae’s. It has taken me this long to find my way in. And it was thanks to Zabine that the recommendation became a reality!
Type of cuisine: Homemade breakfast and lunch fare prepared and presented with no-fuss, but all of the flavor and richness of your favorite greasy spoon! “The menu reflects this eclectic style, too. Ray, the kitchen manager at Mae’s, has mastered the art of smoking fresh trout and salmon, making for some tantalizing menu items. Jeffrey, the chief line cook, personally produces the best hollandaise this side of heaven. Mae’s serves up Eggs Benedict every weekend in three different ways-with canadian bacon, spinach or smoked salmon.”
Ambiance: A comfortable and homely space you can stumble upon while walking up the street or heading straight there on a weekend morning for a delicious and large brunch in a busy space. The front of the establishment includes a counter and limited seating, giving the impression that you will have to wait for a table. The old-timer staff and servers escort you to the back of the restaurant where more booth seating is available for Mae’s patrons. Eclectic decor with a cow motif and colorful trinkets ornament the space. According to the Mae’s website, “Mae’s Café was carved out of an old greasy spoon known as the Phinney Ridge Café. It has been a popular neighborhood hangout since the 1920’s when trolley cars used to roll past the café headed down toward Fremont. Back in 1988, Mae happened upon the place. It was a dirty, greasy run-down old café that had once enjoyed a successful heyday, but was badly in need of a facelift and some T.L.C.-just the kind of place she was looking for! When Mae, a transplant from Wisconsin, hit the scene, she brought in the cows. The “Moo Room” is her monument to Wisconsin. This small dining room, located in the back of the café, is one of four dining rooms packed with kitschy junk store treasures. It’s highly decorated with all manner of cow “Moo-morabilia”.Ma’e extensive collection of salt & pepper shakers is displayed throughout the café. The walls are adorned with a wall hanging of those famous poker playing dogs, a wood shop class rendering of E.T, a beautiful likeness of Elvis and, well, you’ll just have to see it for yourself! Suffice it to say that Mae’s has a style all its own.”
What I ordered: To start, I ordered a tall non-fat vanilla mocha, which came served in one of the restaurants Graze at Mae’s ceramic mugs, topped with whipped cream and a spoonful of chocolate chips at its side. My dining companion ordered a refillable mug of regular drip coffee. (“We started roasting beans at Mae’s about 5 years ago in a small counter top roaster that handles about one pound at a time. How’s that for hand-crafted?! The resulting freshness and richness of the coffee served in the café and at the espresso bar is outstanding. It just doesn’t get any fresher! Our roast is mellow-on the dark side but not too dark! The same beans that we serve in the café are available for you to take home by the pound and ½ pound, regular or decaf, ground or whole bean. It tastes best when sipped from a “Graze at Mae’s” ceramic mug or one of our good-looking copper colored travel mugs.”) For brunch, I selected the Popeye ($10.99), an omelette filled with wilted spinach, crispy bacon and Swiss cheese, served with hash browns and a house-made biscuit with salty whipped butter. My dining companion selected the basic breakfast ($6.99) including two eggs (she chose to have them scrambled), hash browns and a biscuit.
What I loved: I loved the sweet and freshly-roasted and ground espresso in the mocha – the side of chocolate chips was an added bonus! The omelette was light while full of flavor and texture! The crispy bacon and the soft, juicy spinach combined with the pungent and gooey Swiss cheese complemented the hash browns smashingly!
Why I loved it: I loved the ease and comfort of the space, the un-pretentious-ness of the food, the service and the ambiance. The food is well worth a return trip! (Especially when a four-hour conversation keeps you from eating the entire plate leaving you delicious left-overs for the following day!)
Cost: Average ($7-$14 per entree)

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