This week, 14850 Dining is taking a moment to appreciate that every day is brunch day at the Carriage House Cafe. We love talking about brunch almost as much as we love eating it, and you can always get brunch at this Collegetown spot.
Open 9am-3pm each Tuesday through Sunday, the Carriage House serves breakfast and lunch items at all times, with such simple options as fresh local eggs served with bacon and toast, or a breakfast sandwich with New York cheddar and sun-dried tomato puree on french bread.
The brie-stuffed french toast, rich and crisp, is made with their own brioche and topped with a berry coulis, and there’s a daily savory strata — your choice of vegetarian or not — if you’re not in a sweet brunch mood. A recent daily strata offered roasted eggplant and smoked salmon, though the tiny bits of salmon felt like a bit of a tease. We added a side of the rabbit ginger sausage.
On the lunch side of the menu are several sandwiches, such as a half or whole grilled cheese with pesto, or the hearty and spicy Vietnamese banh mi with chicken or tofu.
Our favorite is the Carriage House burger. This hefty $14 burger is made with grass-fed beef and New York cheddar on grilled ciabatta, with sundried tomato puree and spicy mayo. It’s an excellent burger, but a bit of a splurge, especially at lunchtime. The sandwiches come with fresh greens or kettle chips, and there are also meal-size salads and veggie plates available.
At its most basic, the Carriage House is a cafe and pastry shop, with homemade scones and breads as well as espresso drinks and exceptional brewed coffee from nearby Copper Horse Coffee Roasters. The cafe takes advantage of mid-week off-hours with a “Cappy Hour” deal — $2 for a cappuccino or $3 for a latte, from 10am to noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
There are also several loose-leaf teas to choose from, a mimosa or hearty bloody mary, or Reed’s Jamaican-style ginger beer, sweetened with pineapple juice instead of sugar or corn syrup.
Plan on spending $8-20 on brunch or lunch, and plan on a wait on weekends, especially between 10am and 1pm, or visit on a weekday when there’s less likely a wait. If you do need to wait, a portion of the refurbished Carriage House Loft upstairs is available as a waiting room, and you can buy a cup of coffee while you relax.
A couple of blocks from the Cornell University campus, the core of Collegetown’s student housing, and the Commons, this restored — well, carriage house — is easy to get to, though if you’re driving, be careful where you park. There are just two parking spaces for the cafe itself in a tiny adjacent lot, though metered parking (free on weekends) and non-metered on-street parking (free all the time) abounds if you’re willing to drive around for a minute. Another option is a Cornell-owned parking lot that’s restricted at all times, but offers paid parking at all times using the ParkMobile app.
The web site doesn’t include the cafe’s menu details, but you can download pictures of the menus; we always prefer to see restaurants include the menus within the web site. Visit the Carriage House Cafe at 305 Stewart Avenue, check out carriagehousecafe.com, or call 607-645-0152 and tell them you heard about them here.