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Oct 20, 2007 06:13 AM

Cafe 1894 - Tried it?

I just noticed a new(ish?) restaurant in Kensington called Cafe 1894. Anyone been yet?

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  1. Site of the old Cafe Monet, which had good baked goods but waitresses with seriously bad attitude. They acted like they were doing you a favor by serving you. The location is bad - no parking, and right behind the new Safeway that is going up, so their timing is terrible because the street is always full of construction vehicles. I see they have "beef on weck"- there must be some Buffalonians involved in this effort. I must say that I like their approach -they acknowledge that the menu is small now but will grow over time, after they are sure they've got each dish right!

    1. Paid my first visit to Cafe 1894 yesterday for takeout. Now that the Safeway has opened, the construction vehicles are gone, so it is easier to drive down this street. Parking is still quite limited - about 4 spaces in front of the cafe, and a few on the street. The owners subdivided the old Cafe Monet Space, serving breakfast and lunch from what was the left-hand half of the space. The other half - reached through the courtyard where there is outside dining in nice weather - is closed during the day, though they will open it for extra seating when the other small room (maybe 20 seats) fills up. It is very awkward - customers have to go outside and re-enter through the courtyard. In the cold. In the rain. In the hot summers. Not a good option. I can't imagine why they did this. It seems like a very bad decision. I watched one elderly lady with a tremor looking around for her companions, and then slowly making her way outside and over to the other room. To his credit, the owner carried her coffee for her. Also, the door opens right into that tiny dining area, so blasts of cold air chill the diners every time someone walks in. Then you squeeze past the tables, and into a narrow area where you wait in line to place your order - but there is only one menu - framed, and sitting on the counter - so you can't see what is available until it is your turn - unless someone is willing to pass the menu around. Not very smart. Selections are still quite limited - a few sandwiches (chicken salad, turkey wrap, beef on kimmelweck, tuna salad, green salad...). Quality of ingredients is quite high. I had the turkey wrap (fresh turkey, not sliced deli meat). All come with very good, very crisp baked fries but they don't bother to say this on the menu. The place is very friendly, and huge kudos to them for donating some of their proceeds to four local charities (two animal welfare groups and two community groups). I'd really like to see the place succeed - it was very busy when I was there and seems to be very popular with the local elderly ladies - but they are really going to need to be more efficient - like having menus more readily available - and should consider a re-design of the space.

      1. I don't think this restaurant will be in business for long...The space itself is very poorly decorated, sparse and unwelcoming. Management is very unprofessional, one gets the impression they have no idea how to run a business. The menu is limited, bland, and lacking in creativity. I witnessed stale bagels being served and the coffee is watery and missing any memorable flavor. I will definitely not be back!

        1. Hi- I have been to Cafe 1894 many times. It's a nice neighborhood restaurant. The proprietor knows most of the customers by name and makes every effort to make people feel welcome. They have recently started a dinner services which is really very good. The deserts are fabulous! The decor is modern and taseful. This is one of my favoriyes!

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          1. re: appledog

            We've been there twice - once for breakfast, once for dinner. Breakfast wasn't bad. I didn't like the coffee too much but the eggs were good. Dinner wasn't great. Overcooked pork with white rice that had barely cooked veggies cut up and tossed in it (confetti rice). The sauce was nice, but overall it just wasn't that good. My husband's beef burgundy was better, but he wasn't thrilled with it. The dessert was, however, delicious.

            The service has been fine both times, but the place is soo so awkwardly laid out. They will have to change it. It needs some help if it's going to survive. I'd like to see it get better and make it (at least they serve wine!).