I have to say that I loved the idea of heading to Caffe 101 in Boiling Springs for lunch. Located just across Front Street from Children’s Lake, the cafe’s outdoor patio seating has always been a tempting diversion when I rode my bike through town or walked past while attending events like Foundry Day or the annual Anything Floats competition during Summerfair.
But, I never succumbed to the temptation. Packed schedules and long to-do lists always seemed to get in the way.
For a moment, I thought I’d have to have lunch inside. As I parked the car, I noticed that many of the tables at the patio were occupied. In my somewhat limited experience over the past year and a little bit of doing this column, it has been unusual to see that many people in a small restaurant on a Monday.
Orders are taken at a counter at which the diner can easily be tempted by assorted baked goods prominently displayed in a case. Unless you’re familiar with the cafe’s offerings, you’ll have to pick up a paper menu and take a step back to figure out what you want.
I had been told by reader Marilyn that the soups, wraps and desserts are all top notch. I nearly followed that advice and ordered a veggie wrap, but I was distracted by a sandwich called “The Vern.”
Anytime you have a sandwich named after an actual person, you know it’s going to be unique to that restaurant. Vern frequents the cafe, or so I’m told, and the sandwich named in his honor is made of thinly sliced roast beef and pastrami on an Asiago grilled ciabatta roll with swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, onions and pepperoni with chipotle aioli.
Really, people. With that variety of cheese, is there any way this sandwich could go wrong?
No. No, there is not.
Having ordered the sandwich, I dutifully took my number and went out on the patio where I did find a small table available. It’s worth noting there were also a couple of picnic tables available.
It didn’t take long for the sandwich to arrive, and Vern, whoever you are, this sandwich is brilliant. The three meats matched well with the three cheeses and would have offered a spicy sandwich on their own, but the chipotle aioli providing a perfect finishing flourish. As you might suspect, this wasn’t exactly a small sandwich, so the kettle-cooked potato chips served on the side were barely touched.
Caffe 101 offers a lovely setting, and plenty of company even if you’re alone in the crowd. In the end, I had to agree with Marilyn, who wrote, “Inside or outside, it’s a winner and a favorite stop for cyclists and hikers.”
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