Roselle's new Southern Cafe delivers bounty of 'wow' brunch dishes
Fluffy, smothered, stacked, loaded and country.
No, those aren't names of band members from the hottest new country group out of Nashville. But open the menu at The Southern Café in Roselle and those top five dish descriptions will leap out at you like a long-tailed cat escaping from a room full of rocking chairs.
From its white clapboard road house-looking exterior to farm-kitchen wooden tables on the inside where beads of condensation drip from Mason jar mugs filled with ice water, everything about this place conveys a down-home Southern feel. Since this second location opened back in the spring, in addition to the one in southwest suburban Crest Hill, The Southern Café has been offering up a culinary corral of breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes that you might not see elsewhere on the local dining scene.
Biscuits are a big deal here, and the biggest deal on "The Biscuit Love!" menu section is The Nasty Biscuit. It's billed as a buttermilk flaky drop biscuit stuffed with crispy Southern fried chicken breast that's then topped with cheesy scrambled eggs, smothered in country gravy atop crispy hash browns. And that's just the biscuit!
If you're coming with a group, you can also start out with the Basket O' Biscuits, which come with homemade jam, apple and honey butter. And speaking of starters, The Southern Café features a full coffee bar where specialty beverages such as caramel macchiatos and toasted almond lattes are whipped up on demand. You can also customize your drink order or reach for something you probably haven't tried before, like the Cookie Butter Latte. Mmmm.
Just reading the Signature Breakfast! section of the menu may cause you to gain a few pounds. Let's start with The Sugga Momma, which features Southern Café's Southern fried chicken breast drizzled with spicy honey sauce, topped off with cheesy scrambled eggs between two pearl sugar waffles with crispy hash browns. And if you like to combine geometry with gastronomy, then the Chix & French Toast Stack is calling your name. The dish comes with two thick slices of brioche French toast stuffed with shaved country ham, hickory smoked bacon and cheese, topped with Southern fried chicken breast -- all drizzled with honey butter plus two cheesy scrambled eggs and maple syrup.
At this eatery that specializes in all things stacked and loaded, there is an actual menu item called Stacked & Loaded. Strap on your bib for three thick slices of Greek French toast soaked in vanilla-infused buttermilk batter. One layer is stuffed with shaved country ham and cheese, the other is stuffed with hickory smoked bacon and cheese then drizzled with warm maple syrup and topped with two cheesy scrambled eggs. As you can guess, there were quite a few heads turning when "wow" dishes like these were brought to diners on the outdoor deck where I was seated.
For my breakfast, I went with something that caught my eye: the Carolina Benny. And while it had less volume than the "wow" dishes, it was still fantastic. It came with two pillowy poached eggs on top of a toasted English muffin that was stacked with fried green tomatoes, guacamole, hickory smoked bacon, scallions and drizzled with housemade rémoulade sauce. I ordered the bacon on the side and added it in to the Benny.
Cutting into the Benny released a color explosion of runny, orange egg yolk and yellow sauce washing over layers of green guacamole and tan-crusted fried green tomato slices. It's a rainbow of goodness on a plate.
There are also menu sections of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads and specialty dishes for lunch, but breakfast and brunch items appear to be "the big show" at The Southern Café. If you're not into big volume platters, there are also simpler items, such as crepes, blintzes and old-fashioned oatmeal. It's also a great place to dip your toe into Southern-sounding entrees that may be completely new to you, such as the Georgia Catfish & Jalapeño Grits.
Service was very attentive and the friendly waitstaff in black polo shirts circled around to make sure diners had everything they needed. I was seated right away on a busy morning and was able to order right away. With the exception of being served breakfast without a place setting and having to ask for a knife and fork (one of my restaurant pet peeves) servers went out of their way to make sure everyone was happy.
One note about getting to The Southern Café: If you're driving south on Roselle Road, don't be surprised if your navigation app starts directing you into a residential neighborhood. It's a more convenient approach setting you up to turn right into the parking lot.
For a taste of something new that's big, bold, stacked and deeply Southern, y'all may want to saddle up and head over soon.
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The Southern Cafe
511 N. Roselle Road, Roselle, (847) 252-9102, thesoutherncafe.com/
Cuisine: Southern comfort fare
Price range: $7.79-$13.99
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
• Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.