During the fall 2015 semester, I have been on a research sabbatical from Clarke University. In short, I’ve been writing. A lot. But I have aspired, most weeks, to accomplish my writing goals by Thursday (if not Wednesday), and that has left Fridays open for what Eric Wold and I have called Second Breakfast. Not every Friday, but more Fridays than not, Wold and I would meet at a local eatery for food and camaraderie that we did not get in early morning hollers across the hallway between our offices. You know, sabbatical. At home writing.
Late in the semester a new breakfast eatery opened in Dubuque, and once we found this place, it’s the only we dined. The joint is called Café Fraiche, and it’s located at 609 E. 22nd Street. It opened only several months ago (late October, I should think), and Anna and I made a run there during one of their first weeks, and we really enjoyed our meal. The décor is charming, and the food was both a) wonderful and b) so reasonably priced I often think I should order two (but in my attempts to slim down, I’ve thus far restrained). Get this: for $4 I get scrambled eggs, hash brown, and toast. Everything has been so darn good. I’ve been there with Eric, The Lovely Wife, and my buddy Kate. All have agreed that the food is totally top notch.
Because I’m coming from home and Eric is coming from Clarke, I often arrive well before him, sometimes as much as a half hour. And yet, the charming staff has been more than content to allow me to drink coffee and read in peace, and I must confess that this is rare indeed. Want to piss off a Village Inn server? Go there, sit down, and read/grade/chill for half of an hour without ordering food. After fifteen minutes you’ll get a line that sounds like this: “Is it time for you to order? Yet?” The ‘yet?’ part announces their frustration at their waiting on you without—as yet, at least—the reward of a tip beyond the cost of a cup of coffee.
But as good as the food has been, the dining experience has been as good. Here is the glory of eating at a locally owned restaurant: everyone is glad that you are there. The servers? Delighted to see you! The owner? Thanks for coming! Tell your friends! Come back and see us again! Little makes me feel better as a patron than a sincere expression of thankfulness for my business. And this thankfulness goes both ways. I’m delighted that they are open, particularly in a different part of town other than on Main St., on JFK, or the West End. I’m thankful for great food and even better service. I’m thankful for Second Breakfast and quality time with The Wold.
I’ve been thankful for the sabbatical, although not necessarily thankful that it’s almost over. I’ll be thankful if Eric and I can find time to visit Café Fraiche during the spring semester. It will be something to look forward to.
By the by, you can find them online at www.cafefraiche.com (check out the menu! Breakfast available from open until they close at 3P!). I can almost guarantee that you'll not only enjoy the food, you'll enjoy the experience.