Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, September 12, 2002
7th Street Café
House special omelet $5.50
Two-egg combo (with biscuits andhome fries) $3.20
Chicken-fried steak $6.95
Grilled chicken breast sandwich $6.95
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Jubilation

7th Street Café is tweaking the old Jubilee menu — a little bit at a time.

By NANCY SCHAADT

7th Street Café

2736 W 7th St, FW. 817-332-4568. Mon-Sat, 6am-3pm, Sun 7am-3pm. AE, D, MC, V.

iner food doesn’t usually inspire culinary experimentation. As anyone who has ever eaten more than a few meals at a diner will tell you, cafés are not the places for baked fish or lavish salads, nor are they where you are likely to try something new. The 7th Street Café (formerly Jubilee Café) serves up rich breakfasts, nice sandwiches, and moaningly good chicken-fried steak — just like a good café should.

The breakfast and lunch items my guest and I tried were all homemade and, for the most part, quite good. A few items, like the chicken-fried steak, corned-beef hash, and biscuits, are worth a special trip.

Owner Charles Stewart purchased Jubilee in June. He said that few people noticed the change in ownership, even though the kitchen staff is new. “It’s still home cooking,” he said, “and the menu is pretty much the same.” He did add some salads and baked salmon or tilapia on the blue-plate special, which is available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (recalling a time when fish on Friday was practically the law).

Breakfast is a specialty at the Café, and it should be — this meal has a genetically hard-wired significance for humans. People have always needed a morning repast to relieve that hollow, hungry, morning feeling. Our ancient ancestors may have noshed on cold meat or dried fish. Me? I’ll have two eggs over medium, biscuits, a side of hash, OJ, and a scalding hot cup of joe.

I visited 7th Street twice for breakfast — once early in the morning and once at 10 a.m. Although the differences were not remarkable, there were a few surprises. On both visits, the bacon seemed to have been hanging out in the kitchen way too long. It was rubbery and tasted old. The ham and corned-beef sides were much better choices, although the early-bird breakfast special (two eggs, two pieces of toast, plus bacon and home fries for $2.22 before 8:22 a.m.) allows no substitutions for the bacon.

The home fries were homemade, which added nothing to their overall demeanor. Frankly, I’d rather eat tater tots than another serving of the hard, flavorless chunks of potato that this café calls home fries. Here’s an idea — how about grits! Imagine that, a breakfast joint south of the Mason-Dixon line that doesn’t have grits on the menu. Heck, even Reata has grits, for cryin’ out loud.

The house omelet was as close to a healthy choice as you would likely find on the menu. This three-egg beauty was stuffed with tomato, onion, green pepper, and cheddar cheese. The vegetables were all fresh, and the cheese was real. Combined with a short stack of buckwheat pancakes, it was a gut-buster, even for a gustatory professional. The day I visited, though, the pancakes were tough and overdone.

My first breakfast visit, mid-morning, had high points, like the omelet, but low points also. The second breakfast was eaten early — 7 a.m. early — and the difference was substantial. The biscuits were fresher, and the service was slightly more attentive. If you visit, try to sit at Liz’s station. She’s a real diner pro who remembered the banana pancakes and iced coffee my friend ordered about three years ago at a diner way across town. She’s a remarkable waitress.

I made one lunch visit. The grilled chicken sandwich is, according to the menu, a six-ounce breast. Since I don’t carry a scale I couldn’t verify the weight, but I do know that it overwhelmed the puny hamburger bun wrapped around it.

Stewart said he bought the restaurant because he wanted an established restaurant, a proven moneymaker, from which to launch his culinary ideas. He’s expanded to catering and hopes to add dinner in time for the holidays.


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