Wednesday, August 25, 2010

QUICKVIEW: Fairlawn Cafe - +++/$$

I'm a huge fan of breakfast. Breakfast is the only meal of the day where you can eat almost anything and call it fair. Just think about. French toast loaded with sweet cream cheese. That's not a freaking meal, that's a dessert that you're masquerading as a meal. But at the same time, it's equally reasonable to eat a 12oz porterhouse, which is also not a meal; it's three meals.

So, yeah. I go out to breakfast a lot and love making it. It is in this breakfast-loving mindset that I happily present to you the Fairlawn Cafe. It's a small, nondescript shop in a proto-stripmall in suburban Lincoln. The outside is easy to miss, but you can easily spot it on weekends by the huge crowd of cars vying for the small number of parking spaces.

The inside is dense and quirkily... quir... quirkishly... uniquely appointed. It reminds me of Julian's on Broadway, just without the tattoos, Cloves, and pretentiousness. There are very few spaces to sit and the tables are small, but they make use of what sidewalk they have to wedge in a few more tables during the summer.

Service was a bit slow but very friendly and attentive. They have a large number of aesthetic flourishes that combine to form a sense of distinction, for example, you receive chilled water in a capped bottle, and orange juice is brought out in a wine glass with an orange twist. Very simple stuff, but it's nice to see a cafe adding a little flare to otherwise pedestrian tasks.

The menu is enormous. The kitchen is apparently dedicated to the proposition that all ingredients are created equal, and can be combined in any way imaginable... and put on the menu somewhere. A whole page for various french toasts. A whole page for eggs Benedict. A whole page for omelettes. And multiple pages for sandwiches and other breakfast foodstuffs. The menu alone would have been impressive, but they also have multiple signs both inside and out displaying specials and more menu. Smoothies, salads, sandwiches, you get the picture. If you even remotely like brunch food, you'll find something here that you like.

And about that food, it's delightful. High-quality ingredients combined with inventive breakfast ideas like the tiramisu french toast. It had coffee-flavored sweet cream cheese. Very good and sporting an excellent price. My friends followed my french toast lead, because, duh, french toast is, like, totally the best food ever. For example, french toast is good, french toast with pan-seared apples, cranberries, brie, and walnuts is even better. Their standard breakfast offerings are exactly as you would expect, but prepared well. Eggs, toast, and very soft but spicy home fries. I like my home fries super-crispy; these were more like broiled potatoes, but the tasty seasonings made them enjoyably different. They serve dinner and lunch-type stuff, which I have yet to sample, but I have no reason to espect anything other than good to very good.

So after a single trip, Cafe @ Fairlawn (or Fairlawn Cafe, I'm not sure which, really) is one of my favorite breakfast places. It's right up there with T's. And if you live nearby, they deliver! That eliminates any reason whatsoever to not give them a shot. A great selection of excellent food and good prices, including a few recipes that I've seen nowhere else, really makes this a winner.

For those interested, Fairlawn Cafe has very little presence on the web, so I've uploaded a number of their menu pages to my Picasa gallery.

UPDATE: Here are some more photos of their available french toasts and crepes.

Fairlawn Cafe: +++
Price range: Entrees- $5-$10

893 Smithfield Avenue
Lincoln, RI 02865-3534
(401) 365-1385

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Monday & Saturday 7:00am to 2:00pm
Tuesday through Thursday 7:00am to 4:00pm
Friday 7:00 am to 7:00pm (serving dinner)
Sunday 7:00am to 1:00pm


Anonymous said...

Fortunately the cafe has changed hands. It is now cafe sowa with food as good if not better, but much more professional.

Aaron Martin-Colby said...


Thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear that the general concept has stayed the same. The last time that I visited the Fairlawn Cafe, the quality was WAY below what it had been on my first trip. Very disappointing.