I should have listened when my mother told me not to judge a restaurant from the sidewalk. But I didn't. Instead, I learn these lessons at my own expense. The most recent discrimination cost me countless lunches at an award-winning cafe. Readers of yours truly, The Source Weekly, voted Cross Creek Cafe "Redmond's best lunch spot" two years in a row.
But based on a few passing glances at 20 miles per hour ... er ... the posted speed limit, Cross Creek Cafe looked like an ordinary deli serving, likely, the same 'ole sandwiches. Boy, was I wrong.
The deli-like cases that dominate the front window are novelty pieces left over from the cafe's previous life. Two years ago, owners Noel Davis and Tammy Mills transformed their bakery into a beer café. The pastry cases now showcase an extensive assortment of beer and wine. Though beer cafés are prevalent in Europe, Australia, and even Dubai, the microbrew scene is now feeding their popularity closer to home. Cross Creek claims to have the largest craft beer selection in Redmond, encompassing 50 different choices, including six on tap. And with 30 labels to choose from, wine connoisseurs don't have to feel left out. Bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon (does Pabst make another beer?) and domestic lights sell for a buck because, at Cross Creek, "every hour is happy hour." Regardless of your preference, the cafe's vast selection will give you a taste of exotic imports and homegrown alike.
The ambiance also blends far-away influence with hometown feel as if the movie Westside Story were transported to 507 SW 8th Street. The space accommodates nine, diner-style tables, half of which are nestled against a faux brick wall. The paraphernalia decorating the place serves as an effective distraction while waiting for your meal. And if the framed stills aren't engaging enough, Mills and Davis will probably let you tune the big screen TV to whatever you want. Besides, after you taste what Cross Creek dishes up, nothing in your periphery will matter.
I've had a few sandwiches in my day; and if you asked me a week ago, I'd say too many. But Cross Creek blends traditional eats with gourmet flair. Take the B.A.T. ($6), for example. Chef Mills builds a classic BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) into an Eiffel Tower by adding avocado, havarti cheese and hearty slices of turkey piled onto a buttery croissant. I ordered the house wrap ($6). Expecting a pinwheel of an excuse like those found on appetizer platters, I was pleasantly surprised when Mills rolled out a fatty. Its robust tortilla -housed thick cuts of roasted chicken, havarti, the most tender roasted peppers ever, house-made tomato cream cheese, lettuce and tomato. It - including the half I had to save and devour later - was delicious. Hot sandwiches like the popular pulled-pork griller ($7) and all-natural beef burgers ($5 - $6.89) are also available for lunch.
You can grab lunch until 4 p.m. After that, the menu caters to favorites like ragin' hot wings, hot rocks (crispy chicken bites with hot chipotle barbeque sauce), warm sandwiches, burritos and burger baskets ($5 - $11). Many dinner items come with crispy fries - a mandatory side for lunch orders. They are so good the local high-school kids call them "crack fries." Needless to say, they are addictive.
With summer around the corner and a new park to open across the street, Cross Creek Cafe will extend its 11-to-7 hours soon. Until then, visit the cafe for a variety of events including beer tasting, live music and trivia nights. The cafe is most excited about hosting an all-day charity event for breast cancer in July called, Beer for Boobs. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Sarah's (Fisher) Project. You won't want to miss Redmond's best rack contest; rack meaning man pecks ... judged by women who've survived breast cancer. Tasty.
Cross Creek Cafe
Weekdays 11am to7pm. 507 SW 8th Street, Redmond. 541-548-2883