Walking out of the urban-chic interior of Westside Local, I was filled with disappointment. I had been anticipating my lunch there for several days; I had visited their website, read a review and MapQuested the cafe’s location. All the signs pointed to me having a delicious, locally-grown dining experience.
Thanks to an unplanned detour, the normally 20 minute drive took 30, but my hopes for a good meal were heightened when I reached my destination. Westside Local is nestled on Summit Street which I have come to recognize as a haven for quaint, unique dining; both Chez Elle and Fresher Than Fresh are located on the same street. The red-brick and mint-green facade of Westside Local add to its “farm to table” approach, giving it an industrial-yet-trendy vibe.
Entering the restaurant I instantly felt hip, surrounded by weathered brick walls and classy, original wall art. The art was one of my favorite details. There were several pieces that were composed of many small, 3-D red and pink flowers mounted on a background and hanging on the wall. This art was one-of-a-kind but had a calming effect with the natural flair.
My friend and I were instantly seated at a simple, wooden table and provided with a single page menu. This is where our smooth lunch plans hit a minor bump. After looking up the menu online, I was expecting to see an array of sandwiches, salads and “localities”. I was most excited for localities, which are a variety of small dishes such as deviled eggs, pears and basil pesto that you can combine to build a plate. Glancing through the menu, I was shocked to see breakfast options such as the three-egg omelet or french toast instead of the lunch options I had anticipated. Taking this in stride, I ordered the french toast with orange butter ($8) with a side of sausage ($4) and my friend ordered steak and eggs ($12). Our waiter was amiable and quick, answering our questions thoroughly and honestly, offering his personal opinions.
My french toast was a good-sized portion of fresh bread with orange butter dripping down the sides. Although the orange butter added an unexpected citrus tang, the french toast grew soggy and I found myself wishing for the decadent french toast I feast on at First Watch. My side of sausage certainly fit the fresh reputation of Westside Local; I could tell that it wasn’t just heated up in the microwave. Unfortunately the taste, although fresh, wasn’t what I think of when I picture good, mouth-watering sausage.
My meal so far was satisfactory, though lackluster, but my friend’s steak and eggs were a problem. It appeared decent, a piece of meat slightly smaller than a hockey puck drizzled in creamy Hollandaise sauce with the normal scrambled eggs and healthy potatoes on the side. Once again, the potatoes were obviously fresh and healthy because they were seasoned instead of fried. Although they might have been better for my health, both my friend and I found them disappointing compared to their fried counterparts. The steak was the main problem. It was ordered to be cooked medium but by my judgement was practically rare. I reluctantly sampled a bite and had to force myself to swallow the pink piece of meat. The texture left me slightly squeamish and although some might like their meat that way, it was not my cup of tea.
As much as the food was disappointing, our waiter was friendly and genuine. When he cleared our plates- half the steak remaining- he asked what the problem was as if he truly cared and not just the typical “How’s your food?” He made me feel important and cherished as a customer.
The combination of the friendly service and laid-back, urban decor practically made up for the mediocre food. I had come into this meal expecting to find a hole-in-the-wall gem that I could call ‘my place’. Even after the unexceptional meal, I still want Westside Local to become my favorite cafe and I will be visiting there again in hopes that my meal was just an unlucky fluke.