My choice of restaurant this week¬¬ seems almost too obvious. The Willburg Café has only been open since 2007 so it’s not age that makes this place seem ubiquitous. Maybe it’s the name…but more likely it is the feel of the place, which is entirely comfortable, never too crowded and in a word, chilled-out, reminding me of restaurants in California if anything. .
The café, on the corner of Grand St. and Leonard, is a combination restaurant and coffee shop and feels like the two. That is to say there is no rush once you enter. You can hang out over coffee, eat a meal, and linger after it. Take your time.
The menu is pretty standard diner fare, but without the grease to weigh you down. There is nothing all that creative, but the food they serve is of solid quality and reasonably priced. Breakfast is served all day, and there is an extensive lunch and dinner menu. And for those looking to escape the chaos that can be brunch at points farther west in Williamsburg or Greenpoint, Willburg is a perfect place to get some respite. Unfortunately there is no drinks menu, so no bloody mary.
For the brunch inclined, the breakfast menu includes an entire section of “healthy breakfast” $4.25-$7.95, with wheat pancakes and waffles, oatmeal and granola, and fresh fruit. There is also a pretty complete omelet menu with prices ranging from $4.95 for the cheese omelet to $8.95 for the tofu omelet. I tried both the western and the Willburg omelet, made from spinach mushroom and feta cheese. I usually shy away from ordering omelets in restaurants believing them too easy to make for myself at home, but the omelets at Willburg were substantial and filled with fresh ingredients. They are really more like a “scramble” with the ingredients mixed into the egg.
The breakfast burrito, $7.95 with turkey bacon, egg, cheese, and salsa was a bit on the disappointing side, size-wise. The taste was good, but when I think breakfast burrito I want to see an entire breakfast wrapped up in one tortilla. It’s more fun when you wonder how it could get that fat.
The next dishes I tried made me feel in away like I was in an episode of The Smurfs, except instead of replacing every adjective with “smurfy”, insert Willburg. In addition to the Wilburg Omelet I had the Willburg salad made with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and grilled chicken, and served with toast. The salads here are served in large wooden bowls that will make your eyes widen. Again with fresh ingredients it seems to be one of the more satisfying meals one can order.
Next up was the Willburger, beef burger with a thick handmade patty served with hand cut fries. The burger patty was heavily spiced almost like a sausage, to the point of tasting a bit like pork. Treat yourself by adding thick slices of turkey bacon and cheese.
The service was friendly, though a bit lax, but overall the experience was pleasant and easy: It’s an easy place to go and sit by yourself with your laptop, and an easy place to go meet up with a big group of friends.