Tuesday is kids (10 and under) eat free night at Cheffies after 5:00pm.
483 High Point Terrace
I never went to the original Cheffie's, but there was so much buzz about Jennifer Chandler (a friend of mine) re-opening along the Shelby Farms Greenline in the High Point Terrace Shopping Center, Warren and I went for lunch on the third day that they were open.
From the sign, you might get the idea that Cheffie's is a small cafe tucked inside a bicycle shop, but it takes up the same amount of space, if not more with the patio, as the bike shop. The inside is absolutely gorgeous and reminds me of well-to-do, beach-y towns like Ventura, California. (That's a compliment.)
On day 3, Warren and I found the place packed and had to wait in line almost 15 minutes before getting to be "the chefs." Actually, there were several things on the pre-made menu that we wanted to try, so we didn't bother cheffing it up. (We picked our bread, but that was about it.)
Due to the large crowd, we ended up sitting at one of the community tables. At first, I really didn't like it. I'm the type of person who will move if a stranger sits next to me in a movie theater. BUT, the two little ladies next to us were really sweet and we left feeling like we'd made two new friends.
Since we were impressed with the food--we tried two sandwiches and a salad--I couldn't wait to come back with the monkeys (Satchel, 9, and Jiro, 7). In my mind, we'd hit Cheffie's after a family bike ride on the Greenline. In reality, I took them for dinner one night when Warren was out of town. I felt guilty for not riding my bike, but it seemed that most of the crowd gathered was bike-less.
Crowd may be a misnomer--there were several other people dining, mostly on the gorgeous patio--but it wasn't crowded per se. I was happy to several families, including many moms of babies and toddlers enjoying a glass of wine and some conversation.
When it came time to order, we had a man with his small child behind us and they appeared to be a bit huffy. Rather than just letting them skip, I rushed the monkeys to decide on something from the kids' menu--which I think is pretty sweet. They had a choice of a PB&J, a small salad, a grilled cheese, or 1/2 of a ham or roast beef sandwich. They both opted for a grilled cheese despite my attempts to get them to branch out a little. I went with the Tuscan Chicken sandwich since it was my favorite at my previous lunch. (I really liked the Santa Fe salad too, but I'd had a salad for lunch that day.)
I thought I might at least convince Satchel to add something "exciting" like artichokes to his grilled cheese, but he wasn't interested. He did however ask if he could have a side of egg salad. Having never known him to try egg salad, I obliged.
The real excitement for the monkeys came when it was time to select sides and a drink. Satchel seemed to be wavering, so the "helpful" cashier pointed out that they had just gotten a soda fountain. I politely told her that I was trying to avoid having that as a choice and she quickly zipped her lip. (Note: originally there was no soda fountain, but loyal patrons soon demanded one!)
With all of us getting chips and a drink, our grand total came to $30. Usually the four of us can eat for $30, so that was a tad higher than normal, but again, I am on board with paying a tad more for locally-owned, fresh, and eco-friendly. Cheffie's is all of these things.
Once I paid, we had a couple of trays to carry over. Jiro offered to help, and I think that's the main reason we ended up sitting inside. (The tray was a tad heavy for us to journey out to the patio.)
The monkeys, who were hungry, wasted no time digging in.
Jiro declared his meal both "awesome" and "delicious."
Satchel was also a fan of his grilled cheese. He ate all of it, a few bites of his egg salad, half of his drink, and none of his chips. He has a classic case of his eyes being bigger than his stomach--another reason dining out has become more expensive.
My Tuscan Chicken sandwich was almost as good as I remembered it. I don't know if they didn't leave it in the panini press long enough or if the ciabatta bread is harder to work with, but the inside was a little cold rather than yummy and melty like I remembered.
See? Melty. Yes, I pretty much take a picture of everything I eat! Anyways, hot or cold, it tasted good. And I thoroughly enjoyed my grapefruit Izze and pita chips.
Our dinner time conversation centered on Bon Jovi. The kids had been practicing a Bon Jovi song for the end of the year show at school and I happened to mention that they were playing at the FedEx Forum that night. Jiro REALLY wanted to go. It was hilarious. I came up with several reasons why we couldn't go--expensive tickets, late night sets, mostly adult crowd--but Jiro did not care. He wanted to go!
"Is the guy with the red hair going to be there?" he asked. "Uhhh..." I really had no idea who that might be. "Is it going to be like in the video where there are lots of people screaming and dancing?" he asked. "Uhhh...." I wasn't exactly sure how answering this question would affect his desire to go. "Yes," I said. "Aw, man!" he complained.
Anyways, looking back on our meal, we certainly could have skipped the fancy drinks and shared chips, or skipped a gratuitous side of egg salad and had a more economical meal. But we were on a roll. "Who wants gelato?" I asked.
Finally, "I'm too full for gelato," said Satchel. I looked at Jiro. "Can I get one for later?" he asked. Wow. Those were some filling grilled cheese sandwiches! I decided to let them think about it for a second. "Does anyone need to go to the bathroom?" I asked. They both shook their heads no, so I instructed them to sit tight while I made a quick visit.
The bathrooms are on the bike side of the building and they are lovely. I confirmed that there was a changing table, which was good since there was a large contingent from the diaper crowd seated in the restaurant. While I was washing up, a little girl, maybe 4, came out of a stall and was desperately trying to wash her hands. "Will you lift me up?" she asked.
Now, normally I wouldn't pick up someone else's kid, but I did because I appreciated the fact that this independent little girl not only went to the bathroom alone, but she WANTED to wash her hands, and even asked a stranger (very politely) to help her. I never met a monkey like that before! However, note to Cheffie's, how about a sturdy step stool in the bathroom?
Back at the table, the monkeys decided that they would "look" at the gelato.
The cashier afforded us several tastes and after a few moments of consideration, we got a Mexican vanilla and a mint chocolate chip to share on the patio. I ordered smalls, but she grabbed large cups and started filling them. When I tried to stop her she said she was giving me a small serving in a large cup. I wasn't sure why, but I could only assume she had a good reason. (Maybe it's easier for kids to eat that way?) Our two scoops added another $7 to our dinner total.
The gelato was very tasty, and it was a lovely evening to sit in the patio. All that I was missing was Warren, and maybe a glass of wine. If we lived in the neighborhood, I am sure that we'd be frequent visitors to Cheffie's. I've heard rumors that there are plans for more stores, so keep an eye out. I'd personally love to have their salad bar downtown where I work.
Also, I should add that Cheffie's is Project Green Fork certified. They offer recycling, but it isn't clear what can be recycled and what can't. I think there's a common belief that the plastic gelato cups and spoons can be recycled, but I don't think this is the case. Some signage would be helpful.