Seneca Falls café keeps things fresh
By Christopher Malone
For a such a historic city in the Finger Lakes region, Café 19 at 20. E. Bayard St., in Seneca Falls, has a creative way of showing appreciation.
Named appropriately after the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, the direction of the eatery is to keep the forward thinking mentality going.
Upon entering, Café 19 (often stylized in Roman numerals as XIX) has an unforgettable brightness thanks to the large paned windows that line the front of the building.
The minimal décor permits an experience free of distraction. Of course, the large portraits of influential women and suffrage activists are unmissable — Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and Lucretia Mott to name a few.
Similar to many cafes, the ordering is straightforward: head to the bar, put in your order and a smiling staff member will bring it to you. Yes, they’re all wearing masks but their elated attitude is shown through the eyes. However, before you order and wander to find a table, the first challenge is making it past the glass case of temptation filled with cookies, pastries and other sweet treats.
Although I didn’t cave, resisting was extremely difficult.
The first to come out was the breakfast burrito ($6.50), one of my favorite items to order. Although tagged with a standard price, the burrito was on the smaller side. The cheese stretched out with each bite. There was a side of fresh salsa to dip it into. The burrito itself wasn’t falling apart or messy because it was heated and seared for a confident wrap.
On the other hand, the everything avocado toast ($7.50) was huge. Piled on a thick slice of ciabatta bread sat a mound of ingredients. Cue the avocado, feta cheese, tomato bruschetta, scrambled eggs. Oh, yes, and there was that everything bagel seasoning to zhush it up.
This open-faced toast was as bright as it was flavorful. All the ingredients were fresh. The feta practically melted in my mouth. Quite honestly — this is probably my all-time favorite toast I’ve enjoyed anywhere.
The base price for the café’s two-egg omelet is $4.30. Each added ingredient is 50 cents each — so I had them throw in spinach, roasted reds, mushrooms and cheddar for a total of $6.30. This is less than an omelet even at a greasy spoon, plus better ingredients. Although it didn’t come with a side, it didn’t need to because of its size.
The hearty, generous cup of oatmeal ($6.50) is a great on-the-go option for fall and winter. The roasted pears with the oats is a comfort food breakfast item. Plus, take the hint of cinnamon and sweetness of the maple syrup. It’s a great way to start the day. There’s enough to share it with someone or space it out over a couple meals.
For lunch, the harvest turkey sandwich ($10.25). Generous slices of turkey are joined by stuffing and greens in between wheatberry bread. Sounds good, right? Now, add in cranberry apple compote and candied walnut mayo. Whoa.
This amounts to a brilliant sandwich with resonating flavor. It’s a tangible Thanksgiving dinner between loaves of bread but better. It also comes with crispy kettle chips.
Sweet and heat comes with the honey sriracha poké bowl ($14.99). The priciest item on the menu, by the way, is a generous piece of seared salmon glazed with the aforementioned ingredients. It has all the components of a bowl — greens, quinoa, onion, avocado, and pickled carrots. Sesame seeds are sprinkled throughout and there are just enough leaves of cilantro for added flavor.
With tip, the total came to around $70. Yes, that does sound pricey. For breakfast and lunch, it is. Some readers were probably expecting me to say “this is a reasonable price” and have a chance to roll their eyes. But I essentially ordered two meals. Some food I took away to eat at a later time because the breakfast convinced me to do so.
And I also don’t eat like a typical person.
But for all humans — every human, in fact, normal or not — Café 19 is a great spot to gather for hot coffee, comforting favorites and fresh flavor.
20 E. Bayard St.
Seneca Falls, NY13148
315-568-1183 | xixcafe.com
Sun. & Mon.: Closed
Tues. – Fri.: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sat.: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Featured image: The minimal décor of Café 19, featuring large portraits of influential women, gives a dining experience free of distraction. The large paneled windows give the entire place an unforgettable brightness, to boot.