Sunday, February 28, 2010

Extra Helpings: Welcome Home At Flury's Cafe

Just like with Twig's Diner, I've known the location of Flury's Cafe since I first stumbled upon it years ago when I was out for an evening walk in Cuyahoga Falls. And just like Twig's Diner, it took an outside influence for me to put it on my list of places to try out. I was mucking around on Facebook the other day and noticed that there is a group for Locally Owned Akron businesses. If one clicks on the Discussions tab, there are a myriad of topics posted relating to the group, including one on restaurants. It was here that I discovered the mention of Flury's Cafe on more than one occasion. My curiosity now piqued, I decided that a visit was in order.

From my research, I knew that Flury's Cafe was a tiny space and made a concerted effort to go when it probably wouldn't be busy. At around 1:15 PM today, I drove down Sackett Avenue until I saw this sign:

Flury's Cafe was located at 1300 Sackett Avenue, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223 and could be reached at 330-929-1315. While they do have a small static website, the menu listed online was a subset of the menu I was given today. Parking was directly in front of the main entrance to the cafe, which itself was on the side of the building and not street-facing:

Once inside, I was warmly greeted. I realized I had come at a good time as there was only one other customer sitting at the counter. While I had read that the cafe was small, I was amazed when I surveyed the entirety of the restaurant; they weren't kidding! There were two tables of four and eight bar stools at the counter. Along the back wall was the convection oven, the fryer, flattop and a cold food station. While nothing felt cramped, it was definitely intimate. During the course of my meal at Flury's today, I did my usual people watching, but at some point was pulled with ease into the conversations that were happening around me. The experience was so nice that after finishing and paying for my meal, I just wanted to hang around for a bit and enjoy the genuine camaraderie and good-natured banter. It felt more like I had gone to a friend's house for lunch or dinner than eating at a restaurant. This was the kind of intimacy that corporate restaurant chains strive so hard to achieve but so sorely lack.

While some of Flury's menu is online, when my server handed me the official paper menu, I realized that I was holding a much more detailed and fleshed out menu. I managed to get a snapshot of each panel:

What caught my eye most was the multiple uses of the word "homemade" or "housemade." While breakfast was served all day, I decided today to stick with something a little more sandwich-like. It should be noted that unless stated otherwise on the menu, all the sandwiches and sides are a la carte. Looking over my sandwich options, there was plenty that looked good. I thought I might be in a burger mood today until I saw the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich with housemade BBQ sauce. Bingo! Looking over the sides it was a no-brainer to go with the housemade macaroni and cheese.

It was amazing to watch the staff of two (cook and server) move in and out of personal and professional roles so easily. Once my order (and another customer's) was placed, the cook became single-minded and worked a solid ten minutes to produce both orders, piping hot and ready for service. While I hadn't ordered any of the fried-from-frozen onion rings, the other customer did and I have to say that they looked good.

First up was my BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich:

Adorned with a slice of February tomato, ribbons of Iceberg lettuce and some of the housemade BBQ sauce, there was a sizable amount of pulled pork topping a grilled bun. While pulled pork purists would scoff at the notion of serving the pork already dressed with sauce, this didn't bother me at all. The only condiment missing from my sandwich that the menu had listed was mayonnaise. Which, to be honest, I didn't really miss as the sandwich was incredibly juicy and moist. The pork was tender and seasoned perfectly and the tomato-based BBQ sauce added a wonderful mix of salty, sour, and sweet. My initial reaction was to remove the lettuce and tomato as they seemed superfluous to the sandwich. It wasn't until I took a bite that I realized that they served as a temperature buffer, cooling the very hot pulled pork to a level where you wouldn't burn your mouth. Also worth noting was the unusual bun, which had been nicely buttered and grilled. It turns out that the buns were from a locally owned bread shop, the Sarah Jane Bread Company. I've seen their products in my local Acme supermarkets and was excited that Flury's Cafe was using this quality product as well. The bun held up well to the rather wet filling and managed to keep its integrity from start to end.

Along with my sandwich came my side of housemade macaroni and cheese:

Lightly sprinkled with paprika to garnish, this was everything a good macaroni and cheese should be. The pasta had a nice chew to it and the cheese sauce was creamy, smooth, and well-balanced. While the portion appeared small on the plate for $3.25, appearances were deceiving. Between my sandwich and my side, I was completely full by the time I reached the bottoms of both plates. The cheese sauce was impressive on its own. I could tell that it was made with a combination of cheeses, cheddar to be certain, as there were multiple flavors assaulting my taste buds. I picked up a slight tanginess, so I'm wondering if there isn't sour cream or maybe cream cheese in there as well. Either way, it was delicious and highly recommended.

I really enjoyed my experience today at Flury's Cafe. Between the atmosphere, the fun-natured staff and the delicious food, this little cafe is a place where you can retreat from the pressures of modern living and enter a small, intimate space where you can eat and share amongst friends. There were so many interesting items from which to pick that you could go back time and again and still have a hard time eating your way through the entire menu. Personally, I plan on trying just that.

Flury's Cafe on Urbanspoon


KIMBERLY said...

Welcome Tom thankyou for having lunch at Flury's Cafe, we enjoyed your company, great review friend! I posted it on Facebook, become a fan of Flury's if you like, cheers:)

Tino said...

@Kimberly: Thank you for taking the time to read my review and respond. For those wishing to visit the Flury's Facebook page, simply click here.

Joanna said...

My experience at Flury's is always pleasant and intimate too--just as you describe. Hope to see you there in the future :)

cate stitch said...

Loved your review. I work as a server for Kim and love the restaurant and think that your review and the way you write captures the real feel for Flury's. Of course Kim's food is wonderful. Whoops - as a member of the Flury's 'family' I might have a slanted view...but your blog is way cool!

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