The diminutive Jackson Ward restaurant, Ettamae’s Cafe (522 N. 2nd Street) established last summer as a breakfast and lunch spot, responded to the requests of its regular customers and began opening for dinner in April.
Evening offerings include imaginative interpretations of basic main dishes-from four-cheese lasagna and BBQ St. Louis ribs to roast chicken accented by the sweet pop of candied garlic-along with a varied selection of savory side dishes. Skillfully prepared by Chef/Owner Matthew Morand, such seemingly mundane menu staples as macaroni-and-cheese are elevated to uncommon heights.
Ettamae’s offers Cheap Date Night specials every Tuesday.
Couples may choose two entrees from a selection of three, plus two side dishes apiece, for a total of $20. Cheap Date Night menu portions, supplemented by Chef Morand’s marvelous freshly baked rolls with herb butter, ensure that diners have just enough room left for dessert.
“It’s a proven fact that dessert is the most romantic part of any dinner,” notes Owner Laura Morand Bailey. “We make our own desserts and we have become famous for our chocolate chess pie, our raspberry walnut pie, our banana cake, and our house made ice cream.”
Gastronomy aside, Ettamae’s boasts a number of other couples-friendly amenities. As Morand Bailey points out, Ettamae’s is situated close to such entertainment venues as the National, making it a handy stop for pre-event dining.
Unlike many other area restaurants, Ettamae’s takes reservations for parties of two; lacks a full bar to fuel noisy drinking crowds; and offers intimate outdoor seating on a gently lit balcony populated by couples of diverse ages and backgrounds.
“We have a really eclectic group of customers. Everyone from mature West-Enders to Downtown hipsters,” notes Morand Bailey, adding, “We seem really popular with other restaurant folks, which makes us especially proud.”
The decor, which defies description by any word other than quaint, evokes a bygone era. China plates with floral designs adorn the pastel walls of the upstairs dining area. Potted herbs line the edge of the balcony, ready to be plucked and incorporated into the next order. On Wednesday nights, musicians set the mood with live jazz performances.
From the inspired ambiance to the thoughtful bill of fare, the attention, creativity, and experience invested in this Second Street establishment are apparent.
Named after the owners’ grandmother, Ettamae’s abounds with the sights, sounds, and smells of a private residence where a home-cooked meal is being prepared exclusively for you.