Visiting a new destination brings so many fun surprises. All of the sightseeing can work up quite an appetite. Fortunately, almost every downtown has an assortment of locally-owned eateries to choose from. Jefferson City is no exception, and we were filled with anticipation to take a peek behind the curtain at The Grand Cafe. When we spotted this restaurant, we immediately loved the look of charm and elegance. The curtained entryway exuded an aura of suspense, which drew us in for a look-see.
We want to thank Visit Jefferson City and The Grand Cafe for their hospitality. Rest assured that all opinions are our own.
You know that we love exploring the downtown areas of new destinations. While the suburbs hold plenty of chain-type businesses, we find the heart of the locally-owned shops is concentrated in these sections. After a morning filled with history lessons at the Missouri State Museum, we were in the mood for lunch. There are a few options to choose from in the downtown, but we set our sights on The Grand Cafe.
Arriving before noon on a Saturday, we were immediately seated. They had just opened for the day, but there were already other diners inside. While they did notice me moving around with a camera, they seemed more familiar with the situation than I have seen in other destinations. Perhaps Jefferson City is a familiar tourist stop, and we are just late to the party. Crystal had chosen one of the sturdy wooden tables that offered a spot in the late morning sunlight. After snapping a few photos, I joined her to review the menu.
Lunch is as Easy as ABC
Having been in business since 2012, The Grand Cafe has had a chance to work out all of the kinks. Their menu is portioned into three categories; lunch, small bites, and dinner. As we scanned, our eyes took in a nice assortment of meal options. While dishes like Poke Tacos and Grilled Salmon Toastie sounded intriguing, we were both in a ‘fowl’ mood. I was even willing to skip over the Cubano Panini to hazard a try at something new.
My gaze settled on the ABC Chicken Sandwich, which had an intriguing combination of flavors. A marinated chicken breast offers a juicy base for this handheld delight. They kick it up a notch with the addition of smoky bacon, sharp Cheddar cheese, and slices of tart Granny Smith apple. A smear of honey Dijon mustard on the Brioche bun provides a tangy touch. All of these flavors blend so well together that I savored every bite.
Not Your Average Turkey
Crystal didn’t stray very far down the menu, as she stopped on the first entry. The Southwest Turkey Panini was actually going to be my choice, but since she went there I was able to add some variety to our table. A generous pile of smoked turkey breast is held in place with melted pepper-jack cheese. Tomato and avocado slices add more height to the sandwich, and a corn salsa brings an additional texture. Throw some chipotle mayonnaise on the French bread, and then toast it all to a golden crispness.
Like my meal, hers was served with a side of their House-made Chips. These crispy slices had a beautiful sheen that reflected their freshness. Every crunchy bite was a little taste of potato chip heaven. It was apparent that The Grand Cafe had certainly honed their menu to near perfection.
A Peek Behind the Curtain
With our first Jefferson City restaurant under our belts, we were impressed at what Missouri’s Capital City has to offer. Our next stop was scheduled for mid-afternoon, which meant that we had earned some downtown shopping time. Having a good meal really put us in the explorer mode, as we set off to see the sights. The decades-old facades of the buildings invited us to take a closer look. As we moved from shop to shop, we found the staff at each welcoming us in with that all too familiar Midwest hospitality. For us, this is reason enough to explore the Central U.S. What more could you ask for?