Cafe 59 on Allen has expanded it’s operation to Porter Ave. where a simple, to the point, delicious lunch spot awaits. Other than a post by Buffalo Rising, we could hardly find any information about the opening on Porter, so we decided to check out the new operation on the West Side.
The space is small and open, with a tiny outdoor seating area with a couple tables where we ate. In place of a menu, you’ll find a make-your-own sandwich ($7.15) and salad ($7.35) checklist at the counter inside. It reminded me of a word bank you might find on a homework assignment or a test in elementary school. Feeling a little overwhelmed and ill prepared for such decision making on a lunch break, I confided in the employee behind the counter who helped me to craft a beauty of a wrap, if I do say so myself. Technically, you can combine any options you want. But if you ask me, there are wrong answers here. If you need help, ask the teacher.
The sandwich checklist is broken down into sections. First choose a bread – Costanzo’s Roll, wheat bread, wheat wrap, rye, special. Then pick homemade condiments and dressings from options like roasted garlic mayo, balsamic dressing, cranberry mayo or miso dressing to name a few. Next, choose one of the following – Sahlen’s ham, house roasted turkey, fresh Mozzarella, hummus, house roasted beef, chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad – add an extra for $2. Then again, choose 1 of these goodies – American cheese, Provolone, Gorgonzola, Feta, Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Swiss, Asiago, mixed olives and roasted red peppers – add an extra for $1.
After that, choose 3 from tomatoes, garbanzos, bean sprouts, giardiniera, cucumber, celery, banana peppers, soy nuts, carrots, red onion, lettuce, and croutons. If you’re feeling indulgent (always), add the following items for fifty cents each – candied walnuts, sunflower seeds, artichoke hearts, dried cranberries, raisins and pepitas. Phew. Told you it was overwhelming. It breaks down to five things on your sandwich, plus condiments/dressings, all on your choice of bread. It felt like enough for me, but at the same time, I couldn’t resist some of the “add for fifty cents” options.
The make your own salad menu offers the same options, asking for your choice of greens (mixed, romaine, special) instead of bread. Good luck here as well. I think I’ll have to return to try every which combo. Should be done in a couple years.
To the best of my knowledge, everything seemed fresh. Not once was I wishing for something to be at a higher standard.
Here’s what we came up with. Both were delicious.
- Wrap 1: Wheat wrap with Fresh Mozzarella, roasted red peppers, tomato, bean sprouts, cucumber, candied walnuts, dried cranberries and balsamic dressing.
- Sandwich 2: Chicken Salad Sandwich on wheat bread with swiss, tomato, lettuce, red onion and cranberry mayo. And yes – the weird combo of the caper chicken salad and cran-mayo was perfect.
The special soup of the day was a Roasted Eggplant with white beans and yes it was as good and chunky as it sounds. Why didn’t I think to put roasted eggplant in soup? Beware, there’s also a mouthwatering display of baked goods on the counter. We’re only human and therefore left with bread pudding in muffin form. You can get anything, including lunch to-go. Both add-ons are recommended.
For those of you that would rather leave the work up to the pros, Cafe 59 is working on offering a steady specials menu with some thoughtful options.
Cafe 59 is the kind of place you wish you had around the corner from you at all times, just in case you’re craving a healthy, but extremely flavorful and satisfying sammy. Think Subway if Subway was cute, local, homey, fresh (like actually fresh not cookie-cutter fresh), and interesting… while offering unique ingredients, homemade baked goods and tons of options on real plates.
It seems like the sky’s the limit with this word bank! If only school was all about food. I would have been a straight A student.
Cafe 59 on Porter Details:
388 Porter Avenue, Buffalo, New York
HOURS: Mon-Fri 7am-3pm