Strawberry Street Café: Surviving the Parental Encounter

Words and Photos by Charles Couch

It’s that time again. Back to Richmond and good ol’ VCU. And here’s that much too familiar scenario: You just settled into your new dorms and apartments, your just getting back into the groove of academia, and you just got rid of your parents until the holiday season. But wait! They had pop in one last time to say goodbye to their adorable, bright, money-vacuuming children before school gets heavy.

Well, at least they’re willing to say their goodbyes over a damn-fine meal.

Such a barely bearable, family-fun-filled occasion brought me to Strawberry Street Cafe, a small sandwich shop tucked away in the Fan on – surprise, surprise – Strawberry Street.

Just past the unconventional foyer, I had to stop and laugh when my eyes fell on the small dining room’s centerpiece – a plethora of fresh salad ingredients neatly placed in an antique four-legged bathtub atop a platform connected to a serious breakfast bar. Bacon, eggs, and pastries, the bar had the lot of it. A glinting arch of stained glass jutted out of the buffet’s center with deep pastel tendrils of intertwining green, brown and gold stretched over a few tables. I was already impressed with the small cafe.

The dining room appeared full and busy, but after just a short wait a pleasant hostess led the family and me to a table by the legendary salad tub. Moments later, we were enjoying our drinks as we glanced down the menu at the assortment of sandwiches, soups and breakfast dishes.

Feeling a bit adventurous, I ordered the Eggs al a Norfolk – an english muffin topped with Virginia ham, fried eggs and two crab cakes. It was good albeit a little unusual, but I wouldn’t recommend it if your not lucky enough to be on the parents’ tab (thanks mom!), priced at $12 for a breakfast dish.

On the other hand, Ryan Murphy, managing editor of The Horn Rva, requested a special shout out for the Chesapeake Crab Meat and Swiss Quiche ($9): “Oh my god! This Quiche is dope!” While my colleague is over zealous at times, I tried the quiche and surely it was delicious. I didn’t realize swiss and crab meshed together so well.

My mom went for the Bathtub Brunch Bar (about $11) and with good reason. When she sat back down, her plate was piled high with marinated mushrooms, pepperoncinis, romaine lettuce, and a curried chicken salad. Next time that salad bar is mine.

During our illustrious meal, our waitress kept the drinks coming, pleasantly offering us more water and beer than we could practically handle.

By the time we finish, we were stuffed and actually enjoying each others’ company. Mission accomplished.

Next time your parents come through keep Strawberry Street Cafe in mind. You can find it at 421 N. Strawberry St. and for more information check out www.strawberrystcafe.com.      

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