Athan's Cafe Brighton Center Excellent and Inexpensive!
For the third time we ate a late dinner in Athan's Cafe in Brighton on Washington near Market St last night. It is an excellent and consistently good place that is open 7 days for long hours. They have delicious bakery goods up front, and an area for light, or heavier, dining as well. The prices are unbelievably low. I had a Nicoise salad for under $7.00, my husband had a turkey pannini for about that much. Their tea and coffee selection is wide. I really want a place like this to succeed as there are so few after movie restaurants in this area that offer a good variety of food well prepared and not expensive. The only catch is that they do not offer wine or beer although they are working on it.
I heartily support their success.
I was very excited when Athan's arrived in Bton Center, but quickly found it to not be worth the effort.
The pastries are beautiful, but lack flavor follow through.
The coffee is good.
Sandwiches/salads are good, but not remarkable.
The staff is miserable. I went a dozen times before finally calling it quits. From the counter staff, to the waitress, to the manager, they were slow, marked with error, and far more focused on chatting on cell phones or with each other, than tending to customer needs. I'm not high maintenance, but if I'm standing at a counter waiting to order for (literally) 5 mins without even a nod in my direction, something needs to give.
The last time I was there, I actually saw a party of 4 walk out after picking up drinks (on their own at the counter), carrying menus to their table, and no one ever showing up to take an order.
You are right about options..but Cafe Nation is open until 10 M-F and they have GREAT crepes and coffee. If I'm looking for coffee and dessert late night (locally) I go to Devlin's - just make sure to sit on the restaurant side, or outside to avoid the DJ in the bar.
While I didn't have as bad as an experience at Athan's as you, I do have to second the vote for Cafe Nation, I definitely prefer it to Athan's. In addition to the crepes, their salads and sandwiches are tasty as well as interesting, I've never been dissapointed with the food there. They have an absolutely delicious home-made vinagrette dressing (a little salad comes with all the savory crepes and sandwiches). Also, I like the laid back atmosphere there better. Usually good music is playing, and every once in a while there will be someone performing -- don't know if that's an official thing or they just wander in off the street, but it's nice.
Plus they've got free wi-fi!
I am so sorry to read that you had such a negative experience. We have only gone in the later weekend evenings and had attentive service and enjoyed the food quite a bit.
It is always sad to find a pleasant place that fits a niche, and then find out that service detracts from their potential success. All I can say is that we did not have the same experience and loved the paninni.
I've generally liked Athans; their menu is generally well-executed but the comments on service are warranted - often very slow.
The one time I had the turkey panini, I was unimpressed but it might have been an off night (and I was going home from a ten-hour day at the lab, so my brain was somewhere around my ankles anyway).
Never had their coffee; the gelato generally looks good though.