Joined Mar 30, 2010

(My story is in the Welcome section) but I was just wondering if any one would be so kind as to share their favorite restaurant/ cafe appropriate recipes with me. I am in desperate need of ideas for my menu.
Thankyou all!!

Joined Jul 17, 2009
I like your idea and hope that you can accomplish having your little cafe, it sounds nice. But I have a few questions. Could you give a bit more of a background about the city, train station, etc. so it's easier to come up with a creative name. Also, you're not going to be serving strictly vegtarian food right?( I assume no)
Considering you're doing good, hearty, homestyle meals,( grits, meatloaf, cassoulet, fried chicken etc.) here are some ideas for cafe, lunch and dinner.
Cafe: GOOD coffee
        Carrot cake
        Muffins: Orange, chocolate,( blueberry if in season)
        Cookies: Chocolate chunk, sugar, snickerdoodle etc.
        Some cheesecakes
        Lemon bars and brownies
        Cream puffs and eclairs
Lunch: BLT( and other sandwhiches)
           Tomato soup( please make your own not storebought)
           Wraps( roast chicken, turkey, and a vegan one.)
           Buffalo wings
           Seafood dishes
           Good salads
Dinner: All of the above
           Teriyaki chicken( or is it Chicken teriyaki sorry for english)
           Burgers( really easy to make)
These are some simple but, to me, delicious choices that are usually pretty quick to make, or like the meatloaf, don't have to be watched over for hours. I wish you the best of luck in opening your cafe/restaurant there. Hope this helped.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
If you want vegetarian dishes, you might want to go in for some soups.  There are plenty to choose from, based on pumpkin/squash, beans, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, spinach, etc.  I can give some recipes if any of these appeal to you. 

Sandwiches that are not meat-based can be hummus and cucumber on pita or crusty bread; hard boiled egg, avocado and tomato on soft whole wheat bread (you can add sprouts to either); special grilled cheese type sandwiches, like split a crusty roll, ciabatta or baguette, drizzle a little olive oil on the bread, put mozzarella and tomato  on either side of the open roll, bake or broil till the mozzarella melts, add fresh basil, salt and pepper; or make traditional american grilled cheese sandwich but use  2 or 3 kinds of good cheeses, between slices of unusual bread (artisan, whole grain, rye, etc) cooked on the flat grill or frying pan with butter till golden; or grill some eggplant, put salt pepper, origano, oil, and crushed garlic.  Then to make the sandwich, split a crusty roll or baguette and put the eggplant, some nice tasty cheese, and some rocket (arugula? is that what it's called there?). 

Salads like tabouleh (soaked cracked wheat with tomatoes, cucumbers and lots of parsley); panzanella (soak stale artisan bread in water and vinegar and squeeze, put in salad bowl with good local tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions or scallions with all the green, and other raw vegetables that look appealing, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, and let it sit for a few hours to amalgamate the tastes); rice salad with tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, pickles, giardiniera salad, cucumbers, peas (add the frozen peas to the hot drained rice, and it cools it and thaws the peas), parsley, chickpeas, and if you don't need it to be vegetarian, canned italian dark tuna.  There are millions of others. 
Joined Feb 24, 2010
What's the cafe's 'theme'? Is it a cozy diner where everyone wants to hang out... Coffee shop... snazzy cafe w/ upscale food... international food... comfort food... healthy/hearty... etc...

Are you going vegetarian? We have 2 or so restaurants in the area that are strictly veggie - they're not huge or the biggest draw in the area, but they've been around for years so they have a loyal customer base.

Food ideas:
build your own grilled cheese sandwiches (nice idea siduri)
quiches or tarts - I personally love caramelized onion ones - or do them seasonally
mac and cheese
an omelet station
scones, biscuits and honey, waffles, muffins, fresh breads w/ butter/jam
pastas w/ different sauces or pizzas with veggie toppings (also can be seasonal)

There are tons of recipe ideas online. I'm a big fan of food network or allrecipes because you can read all the reviews and tweak recipes as necessary.
Joined Feb 13, 2008

Without more, "cafe in a rebuilt railroad station" is too nebulous to draw specific menu suggestions -- at least from me.

If you don't have a more definite plan, I suggest that you figure out what niche you can profitably occupy in that location, hours of operation, what kind of food you care about (beyond "vegetarian"), what you're actually capable of preparing well, whether you can get enough financing to survive eight or nine months of running in the red, whether or not you can actually secure a space, and whether you can unite all of the preceding -- before you decide on which pannini machine, whether to make your own mayonnaise, or how much salt on the whole-wheat bread, cheese, tomato, alfalfa sprout and avocado sandwiches. 

Quiche?  Crepes?  Omelettes?  Sandwiches?  Big Breakfasts?  Noodles?  To-Go?  You need a business identity which goes beyond choo-choo station.  People need a reason to come back.

"Vegetarian" is it's own niche.  One that's both very broad, yet confining; not to mention off-putting to many potential customers.  Whether or not you can profitably survive within it is a very complex question -- a few restaurants do, but just a few.  However, an interesting and varied vegetarian selection within a menu that contains at least a few meat selections is by no means a bad thing -- in fact, the reverse. 

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Joined Mar 30, 2010

boar d laze - You pose alot of really good questions.....I'm taking it you have lots of experience lol! :)
I've definately narrowed all my thoughts down. (a little anyway) I'm definately NOT going the total vegetarian approach. It's definately a huge turn off to the people in our area. I will most definately include vegetarian options though. I want it to be a snazzy cafe, with upscale food..... that actually makes people want to come back! By the decorations I'm going to keep it historical..... considering the location. Food wise, I need help narrowing down my options. :( Soup, salads, and sandwiches seem to be too simple!?

Siduri - I love the soup ideas - and yes I would love any recipes you would care to share

Thanks everyone for your ideas. They are all very inciteful! <3


I use to live in Toronto, Canada.
There was quite a few veg. restos/cafes. chains there.
I have one of the cookbooks from the restaurant.
I think what makes this particular chain/franchise work was that the culture in Toronto was about all healthy eating, organic, local food.
Vegetarian was a bonus.
My main reason for going there was their juice/power drinks.
As well as their yummy sweet potato fries.

That is the one thing I have noticed about successful restaurants. They develop their niche.
A  brand. A raison d'etre. A reason for existing.

I went to this restaurant because of its brand represented:
local, organic, healthy eating.
There is all kinds of veggie restaurants in Toronto.
There is the Asian Veggie restaurant-->budhist, indian, vietnamese
There is also the oh so upscale --->fusion, healthy and the location is everthing
Than there is the fast food restaurant-->juices, sandwiches, rice bowls
Oh, dont forget the Raw Food Restaurant
etc etc etc.
you get the picture.

How about a microbrewry?
In Toronto there is STEAMWHISTLE brewery. ITs actually in the old re-direction train station.
It also has  a bar and tapas bar.

Though when I think train station i get images of
paris train stations---Mr. Bean goes on Holiday
French desserts, cookies and good coffee

jeeez i could go on!

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