Restaurant Profile: Black Café

by Kari Walker

A cup of coffee and Scotch eggs feed the soul beneath Uptown Lofts.

Looking for a new coffee shop hangout to read the paper, study for exams or grab a quick and quiet bite with friends? Then pop into Black Café.

Just off Congress Street near Downtown, on the bottom floor of Uptown Lofts, lies the quaint coffee shop. Trey Ware opened his 518 South Pierce St. location in October 2013, and since the debut, the menu has expanded beyond an espresso bar to include breakfast and lunch casual dining options.

Ware's menu concept is simple, offering the usual suspects like bagels and muffins, but it's his signature menu items that keep people coming back for a second helping. The menu spawned from the food he would make for friends, like Scotch eggs and sweet potato biscuits. These two items may be typical breakfast fare but they are also popular among the lunch crowd - for good reason.

The sweet potato biscuits typically come served with a light dusting of powdered sugar, but without the sugar, they are equally delectable. The recipe is one Ware has baked for years, tweaked down to what he thinks tastes the best - a moist, buttery biscuit with a slight crunch from pecans and natural sweetness derived from the sweet potatoes. There's really no need to add any jam or a pat of butter to these baked bites.

As for the Scotch eggs, this peculiar-looking dish, originally from London, has been a popular way of serving eggs since the 1700s throughout England and Europe. A Scotch egg starts with a hard-boiled egg wrapped in meat, then coated in bread crumbs and fried. At Black Café, Scotch eggs can be ordered one of three ways: Pork Perfection, The Hot Potato or Which Came First. Each egg offers a different kind of meat from fresh pork sausage, seasoned chicken breast, or, for those looking for something lighter, a shredded seasoned potato blend. Think of these eggs as a breakfast sandwich rolled up into a crispy, fried bite.

"I didn't know Scotch eggs would be a big deal when I put them on the menu. I just wanted to serve something I knew I loved," says Ware.

Kudos to Ware on mastering the art of a perfectly hard-boiled egg - it's not an easy feat to achieve a boiled egg with a perfect yolk sans the dreaded gray-green ring on the inside.

Other lunch items worth a try are the pulled pork sandwich served on a brioche bun and the 14-spice chicken wrap - a spinach wrap filled with spiced chicken, lettuce, tomato, spinach and creamy ranch dressing. In addition to sandwiches, Black Café offers several salads for diners seeking a lighter bite.

And of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so save room for an order of beignets. The traditional fried dough pillows dusted with powdered sugar need no explanation, but are the perfect companion for a hot espresso or classic cup of drip coffee - Black Café brews Rêve Coffee Roasters beans, a local roaster.
If you're in a rush, pull up to the drive-thru.

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Black Café
518 S. Pierce St.
Monday-Friday: 6:30 A.M. - 6:30 P.M.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 9 A.M. - 2 P.M.